Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation, and the Countdown to the Suez War
Author: Benny Morris
Pubpsher: Oxford University Press
This revised and updated paperback edition of a highly successful study looks at the development of Israeli-Arab relations during the formative years 1949 to 1956, focusing on Arab infiltration into Israel and Israeli retaliation. Palestinian refugee raiding and cross-border attacks by Egyptian-controlled irregulars and commandos were a core phenomenon during this period and one of the chief causes of Israel's invasion of Sinai and the Gaza strip, the Israeli part of the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956. Benny Morris probes the types of Arab infiltration and the attitude of Arab governments towards the phenomenon, and traces the evolution of Israel's defensive and offensive responses. He analyses Israeli decision-making processes, including the emergence and ultimate failure of Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett's dissident policy of moderation and describes in detail the history of the Arab infiltration, including the terrorist-guerrilla raids by state-organized Fedayeen in 1955-6, and of the IDF raids against Sharafat, Beit Jala, Qibya, Gaza, the Syrian Sea of Galilee positions, and the Sabha. This was a precedent-setting period in the making of Israeli defence policy, and this pattern of raiding and counter-raiding served to define Israeli-Arab relations during the subsequent three to four decades. In this revised and expanded paperback edition, Benny Morris deepens our understanding of the evolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict and of the crossroads at which a possible peace settlement was missed.
The ghost of the Holocaust is ever present in Israel, in the lives and nightmares of the survivors and in the absence of the victims. In this compelling and disturbing analysis, Idith Zertal, a leading member of the new generation of revisionist historians in Israel, considers the ways Israel has used the memory of the Holocaust to define and legitimize its existence and politics. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author exposes the pivotal role of the Holocaust in Israel's public sphere, in its project of nation building, its politics of power and its perception of the conflict with the Palestinians. She argues that the centrality of the Holocaust has led to a culture of death and victimhood that permeates Israel's society and self-image. For the updated paperback edition of the book, Tony Judt, the world-renowned historian and political commentator, has contributed a foreword in which he writes of Zertal's courage, the originality of her work, and the 'unforgiving honesty with which she looks at the moral condition of her own country'.
Following Israel's War of Independence in 1948 and 1949, the anticipated peace did not materialize and the new nation soon found itself embroiled in protracted military conflict with neighbouring Arab states. Demobilization of its armed forces led to the formation of special elite unit under the command of Ariel Sharon to cope with cross-border infiltration, pillage and murder. A policy of deterrence was governed by the tactic of retaliation, which contained the seeds of escalation. At the same time, a military dynamic unfolded in which the logic of field unit response dictated both military and political policy and caught the imagination of a demoralized and war-weary Israeli society. The myth of the Israeli paratroopers at the beginning of the 1950s, and their heroic deeds in the reprisal raids, embodied the new Zionist ethos for which the current Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, claims much of the credit. The book thus provides historical insight into some of the most intractable developments of the current Arab-Israeli conflict.
Since its founding in 1948 Israel has faced many political, social and psychological challenges, unfamiliar to other nations on the western democratic political model and peculiar to the Jewish state. This work covers the role of politics in Israel since 1948.
Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Author: Michael R. Fischbach
Pubpsher: Columbia University Press
No issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict has proven more intractable than the status of the Palestinian refugees. This work focuses on the controversial question of the property left behind by the refugees during the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. Beyond discussing the extent of the refugees'losses and detailing the methods by which Israel expropriated this property, the book also notes the ways that the property question has affected, and in turn been affected by, the wider Arab-Israeli conflict over the decades. It shows how the property question influenced Arab-Israeli diplomacy and discusses the implications of the fact that the question remains unresolved despite numerous diplomatic efforts. From late 1947 through 1948, more than 726,000 Palestinians—over half the entire population—were uprooted from their homes and villages. Though some middle class refugees were able to flee with liquid capital, the majority were small-scale farmers whose worldly fortunes were the land, livestock, and crops they left behind. This book tells for the first time the full story of how much property changed hands, what it was worth, and how it was used by the fledgling state of Israel. It then traces the subsequent decades of diplomatic activity on the issue and publishes previously secret UN estimates of the scope and value of the refugee property. Michael Fischbach offers a detailed study of Israeli counterclaims for Jewish property lost in the Arab world, diplomatic schemes for resolving the conflict, secret compensation efforts, and the renewed diplomatic efforts on behalf of property claims since the onset of Arab-Israeli peace talks. Based largely on archival records, including those of the United Nations Conciliation Commission of Palestine, never before available to the public and kept under lock and key in the UN archives, Records of Dispossession is the first detailed historical examination of the Palestinian refugee property question.