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The Politics of Partition: King Abdullah, the Zionists and Palestine 1921-51 Paperback – Abridged, 31 Aug 1990

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Paperback, Abridged, 31 Aug 1990
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offers a penetrating analysis of the Zionist/Israeli-Abdullah relationship, full of relevatons derived from Shlaim's extensive archival research and interviews with surviving political and miliatry fitures of the period ... lively recounting of secret correspondence and clandestine meetings ... Shlaim brings to life the day-to-day history of the pivotal period of Israel's birth (Neil Caplan, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol.36,No.2, 2001) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Avi Shlaim is at St Antony's College, Oxford. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8f57a238) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f3805a0) out of 5 stars One of the best books on early Zionist-Jordanian relations 25 April 2000
By Daniel - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read the unabridged version of the Politics of Partition (called "Collusion Across the Jordan") and found it to be an excellent history. My only regret is that Shlaim didn't keep his original title. In reaction to an earlier review, Efraim Karsh's book "Fabricating Israeli History" DOES NOT disprove Shlaim's assertions at all. Karsh's problem is that he can't tolerate the facts that have been uncovered since Israel's thirty-year law made thousands (perhaps millions) of pertinent documents available. Anyone who reads both books will see that Karsh does not even begin to disprove the well-documented histories written by the revisionist Israeli historians (Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, Uri Milstein, or Avner Cohen, to name some of the most prominent). I highly suggest Shlaim's book along with Benny Morris's book "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem" and "The Road Not Taken" by Itamar Rabinovich. These were some of the first books to reveal how Zionist leaders dealt pragmatically and forcefully with their Arab neighbors to create the new Jewish state.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f3a1b4c) out of 5 stars Excellent account of Jordan's formation, Abdullah & 1948 21 Dec. 2001
By Casey L. Minton - Published on
Format: Paperback
While much maligned, Avi Shlaim writes an honest and cogent history of Abdullah, Jordan, British involvement in the Middle East and the conflict between Palestinians and Jews leading to 1948. His viewpoint, which many in the dwindling "Peace Now" movement share, needs to be understood. The history he writes is like nothing you will get reading mainstream writers like Bernard Lewis. Don't be scared away by those who say Shlaim's writings are "radical left-wing propaganda." It is nothing of the sort...simply an opinion based on what we should know any ethnic group is capable of doing to "others."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f4047ec) out of 5 stars The 1948 War 3 Feb. 2013
By john thames - Published on
Format: Paperback
THE 1948 WAR

Like all things dealing with the state of Israel, the 1948 war has been thoroughly distorted. Most Americans think that hordes of savage Arabs invaded Palestine only to be attacked and outwitted by a tiny Zionist David. The reality is much different. The United Nations partition plan had assigned the coastal plains to the Jews with a large section west of the Jordan River assigned to the Arabs. When the war began on or prior to the British withdrawal of May 15, the Jews showered mortar fire into the Arabs in the coastal city of Jaffa, killing many and driving large numbers into the ocean to drown. Many Arab villages, fearing the upcoming violence, had made non-aggression pacts with the Jews which the Jews promptly violated when the war began. Another myth of the war is that the Jews were outnumbered and outgunned. In fact, the Arabs were operating with obsolete World War one weapons. The Zionists, by contrast, were heavily armed with up-to-date weapons. During World War Two, the Zionists had raided British military installations and accumulated large quantities of arms. After the first month of fighting a truce ensued on June 11. The Zionists then acquired airplanes and fighters from Zatec in Communist Czechoslovakia, including Messerschmitt fighters. These armaments, plus modern tanks and artillery, were to prove decisive in the subsequent fighting.

The story that the Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi armies "invaded" Israel is propagandist nonsense. The Egyptian army never got further than Gaza. The Syrian army in the north only briefly entered Israeli territory. The Iraqi army only fought with the Jordanians in the west bank territory allotted by the partition plan to the Zionists. At no point in the fighting did the Arab armies, with the exception of the Egyptians, ever enter into Israeli territory per the partition plan. The Arab armies were beaten badly with the exception of the Jordanian legion. Abdullah, the king of Jordan, had secretly agreed with the Zionists to recognize the Jewish state provided that the Jordanians exercise control over the west bank. Jordan had, at this time, a military treaty with Britain. His Majesty's Government did not want Jordan to take any offensive action against the Zionists and was severely limiting the amount of ammunition available to the Jordanian legion. The legion intervened in the fighting only after the Zionists attacked Jerusalem and started invading the West bank.

In an otherwise miserable military performance by the Arabs the Jordanians fought the Jews to a standstill in the battle for Jerusalem. When the Zionists attacked Latrun, a key city, a small force of Jordanians armed with an artillery piece withstood the attack while killing two to three hundred Zionists. Jordan's successful defense saved the West bank for the Arabs until the catastrophe of the 1967 war. The commander of the Jordanian legion, John Bagot Glubb, was severely criticized by the Arabs for their defeat. He was accused of being a British "agent" and engineering the defeat. In fact, Glubb was the Arabs saving grace in 1948. His logistical problems were the consequence of Whitehall's ammunition embargo. Glubb continued with the Jordanians until 1956 when ousted by a palace coup. In the interim Haj-Amin-al-Husseini assassinated Glubb's patron and protector, King Abdullah, in the al-Asqua, Dome of the Rock mosque, virtually guaranteeing Glubb's removal shortly thereafter.

In Egypt, the disaster of the war led to the deposing of the last Pharaoh, King Farouk, and his replacement by Colonel Gamel Abdel Nasser. And that brings up the last point about the 1948 war. Contrary to popular perception, the Arab governments of 1948 did not want to go to war. They privately knew, despite their public proclamations, that the Zionists were militarily superior to the Arab states. There was no realistic chance of defeating them. The Arab states went to war to save face through the force of public opinion. It did them little good but to have done nothing would have brought them all down. And that is the reality of the 1948 war.

Such, in a nutshell, is Avi Shlaim's thesis. It certainly upsets the established mythology of Israel's creation and is thus very unpopular. It is, however, amply supported by the facts.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f387504) out of 5 stars King Abdulla was a Real Politician 12 Dec. 2005
By EgyptsFuture - Published on
Format: Paperback
King Abdullah, the founder of Jordan, and son of Sherif Hussein, and grandfather of King Hussein, was a real Arab politician, that I believe Avi has given mostly the best of judgment.

I believe, that this man has found a school in Arab politics, and this school has breeded politicians like King Hussein and his son, King Abdullah, Presidents Sadat of Egypt, Burqeiba of Tunisia, and Kings Hassan of Morroco and his son Muhamed the 6th.

Political Realism mixed with all the prudence and wisdom, is what came out of those who have followed this school.

Avi, is a great writer of our times, and a good researcher, I love to read for. However, and like all of us, he has some bias while writting for the his country. However, this is difficult to get rid of, when you are talking about the Arab Israeli conflict, since it is a conflict that is so deep in this soil, that it is so difficult to get rid off.
HASH(0x8f387840) out of 5 stars If you goal is to be a diplomat or student ... 15 May 2016
By georgiana - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you goal is to be a diplomat or student of Near Eastern history, this is the book for you. But I am a casual reader, ended up taking
pages or notes trying to keep it all sorted out and finally gave up. This is a book for a serious reader!
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