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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine study of the Israel/Palestine conflict, 22 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Israel & Palestine (Hardcover)
Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford University, is the author of The iron wall, the best book on Israel's relations with its neighbours. This erudite work is a collection of articles that were originally published in the Journal of Palestine Studies and the London Review of Books.

Part 1 comprises ten articles on the 1948 war and after, Part 2 ten articles on the Oslo Accord of September 1993 and beyond, Part 3 five articles on the breakdown of the peace process, and Part 4 five articles looking at the current situation from various perspectives. He identifies three main watersheds, each the subject of heated debate: the founding of Israel, the 6-Day war of June 1967 and the Oslo Accord.

Israeli governments usually oppose a Palestinian state and a return to its 1967 borders, even though, as Shlaim argues, ending the occupation of the West Bank would enhance Israel's security. The Oslo Accord, negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians, with virtually no US or EU involvement, was a great step forward towards creating a Palestinian state. But tragically Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his successor Ehud Olmert wrecked the Accord, as Shlaim shows.

Shlaim recognises that the Iraq war had `no solid basis in international law' and that the invasion did not help to resolve the Israel/Palestine conflict or promote democracy in the Middle East. You don't end one illegal occupation by starting another.

Shlaim argues that Israel's brutal military occupation of Gaza was `deliberate de-development'. The USA and the EU helped the Israeli state by imposing sanctions on Gaza, not on the occupier but on the occupied. As Shlaim writes, "The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence."

In 2005-8, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire from Gaza; in 2005-7, the Israeli Defense Force killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. In November 2008, Israel broke the ceasefire which had held for four months. In its 22-day attack on Gaza, 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. Bush and Blair backed the attack and opposed UN calls for a ceasefire.

Shlaim concludes, "A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria."
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Nov 2012 14:03:39 GMT
Mrs T says:
Why is it that all your reviews of books about the Israel / Palestine conflict consist of a simple series of quotes, taken absolutely out of context, which when taken in this manner promote only one polarised political view of the subject?
Review the book: don't just proselytise your own dubious viewpoint.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2012 16:35:40 GMT
1. They don't 'consist of a simple series of quotes'. The above review has less than 25% of it as quotes. Taken 'out of context' is the stock accusation for any statement with which the speaker, usually a dubious politician, uses to cover the fact that he has been caught saying something true.
2. I look forward to learning from your example how to produce better reviews.
As for my 'dubious viewpoint', if you disagree, at least have the honesty to say why.
If you don't like Avi Shlaim's analysis, provide the evidence proving its falsity - if you can.
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