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The Longest War Hardcover – 2 Dec 1982

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Hardcover, 2 Dec 1982

Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto and Windus; First Edition edition (2 Dec. 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701139102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701139100
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,318,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A book for those who think that Israelis can never be won to solidarity with the Palestinians 23 Aug. 2014
By Marc Lichtman - Published on
Jacobo Timerman was a liberal. I'm a Marxist. I strongly recommend this book, not because of his opinions, which I didn't even pay much attention to, but for the excellent reporting on how the Lebanon war in 1982 affected the population in Israel. There were massive peace demonstration. True, they were organized by a wing of the Labor Party, but there was huge pressure on them to do so. The demonstrations assumed a more radical form than the leaders intended. Far more views than those of Labor got a hearing.

What Timerman is best at is describing the enormous confusion and polarization that shook Israeli society. Neighbors arguing with neighbors; people arguing on position one day, and another the next. This was starting to reach a boiling point. Why was this war different from all other wars? Because Israel was not fighting a reactionary Arab government, but fighting what was still a revolutionary nationalist movement, of people who knew what they were fighting for. They had never before really faced the PLO. And the PLO had allies in Lebanon; what was going on was both an invasion and a civil war.

Outside the scope of this book (but this is useful for understanding the reaction in Israel to it), is the intifada of 1987-93. This was a spontaneous uprising in the occupied territories. I remember bourgeois commentators talking about how it was called by the PLO, as if such a thing could be called by anyone. If they could have, why didn't they do it during the war in Lebanon?! Actually, it was a young generation who had had little contact with the PLO, although soon they did. The point I want to make is that the intifada gained support not only in the occupied territories, but in Israel, primarily, but not exclusively among Israeli Palestinians. But it had an enormous impact on the Jewish population too, and forced Israel to negotiate. How different it was recently with Hamas shooting rockets at Israel. Despite the fact that they could do very little damage, Israelis were more inclined to support their government than previously. There is no national liberation movement for Palestine anymore. There are the bureaucrats of the Palestinian Authority, and the reactionaries of Hamas who care as little for the Palestinian working class as Israel does.

The PLO had called for a democratic, secular Palestine. It gave up this perspective, but didn't put forward an alternative. One has to start with the fact that Israel exists, and is a Jewish state. Despite that fact, it is the closest thing to a secular state in the region. That doesn't mean supporting the government, just acknowledging it as it is. The Palestinians won't gain much simply through negotiations, but they will gain nothing by the strategy of Hamas. They need to organize a fight around issues like opening the borders so the people of Gaza can get food, around removing the network of walls that crisscross the West Bank, so they can have a contiguous Palestine. There are many other fights, but they have to be carried out in a way that can win the support of Israeli workers. We have already seen that's possible. It's even more possible in the middle of the huge capitalist crisis that has hit workers everywhere.

Some other books I recommend are Palestine and the Arabs' Fight for Liberation, On the Border, A History of Modern Lebanon, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State?, Israel and the Arab Revolution: Fundamental Principlesof Revolutionary Marxism, and New International no. 7: Opening Guns of World War III: Washington's Assault on Iraq.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Longest War 26 Jan. 2006
By cortezhill - Published on
Format: Paperback
'This book is dedicated to Major Giora Harnik, of the Israeli Army. I never knew him. I know he died at the head of his unit in hand-to-hand combat for Beaufort Castle in the first days of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in what was the hardest battle of the war.

I know , too, that he was an active member of the Peace Now movement, and that he was against the war in which he killed and died.

I know he was a pacifist.

I know that he could not live and die for his ideas because he had to kill and die for the obsessions of inept rulers and vain military men who are running a nation created by moralists and dreamers.

I know his mother, Raaya Harnik, is crushed with despair, and his friends are shattered.

I hope this book will help us all. But I'm not so sure. We Israeli's are confused and frightened. Giora Harnik's mother wrote: "If we want to continue to be a humane, just and incorruptable society, we must make sure that our sword is clean and drawn only in defense."

But Giora was already dead, and many died after him.' -- from book's back cover
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The longest short book. 1 Dec. 2003
By Kevin M Quigg - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Well, first let me say I admire Timerman and his opposition to the dirty war in Argentina. I read his Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number and was moved by this book. He suffered greatly because of his liberalism and for being a Jew. I also liked his book about Cuba. This book I did not like. Why? Because Timerman raves on about his dislike for Begin, Sharon, and Arafat. I thought I was going through another root canal. Fortunately this book is not long, and the pain was soon over.
Timerman talks on about how he thinks Begin is a lunatice and crazy. Well, I don't think he was neither. He made a calculated move to end the Palestinian terror in Lebanon. Unfortunately he chose the wrong man in Sharon to do it for him. Sharon implemented his own reprisals and now we have a radicalized population in Lebanon. At present, Sharon is playing the same game in the West Bank and Gaza, and I don't think the results will be different. Timerman rants on and on, and the reader is wondering--maybe I should just stop reading. The book is short but be prepared for a lot of ranting and raving.
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