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Cleansing the Galilee

David Gilmour, 23 June 1988

The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities 
by Simha Flapan.
Croom Helm, 277 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 7099 4911 1
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Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine 
by Avi Shlaim.
Oxford, 676 pp., £35, May 1988, 0 19 827831 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 380 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 521 33028 9
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... professor of Middle East History at the Hebrew University, and several younger historians such as Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev and Benny Morris. A handful of older men have also encouraged the re-examination of Israel’s past, including the late Simha Flapan, a pioneer of the state’s early days, and Dr Israel Shahak, president of the Israeli League for Civil ...

The Great Lie

Charles Glass: Israel, 30 November 2000

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World 
by Avi Shlaim.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780713994100
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Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 
by Benny Morris.
Murray, 752 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 7195 6222 8
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A Blood-Dimmed Tide: Dispatches from the Middle East 
by Amos Elon.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 7139 9368 5
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Fabricating Israeli History: The ‘New Historians’ 
by Efraim Karsh.
Frank Cass, 236 pp., £39.50, May 2000, 0 7146 5011 0
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From Herzl to Rabin: The Changing Image of Zionism 
by Amnon Rubinstein.
Holmes & Meier, 283 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 8419 1408 7
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... down these overtures and repaid this goodwill with continued belligerence.’ This is the theme Avi Shlaim takes up, with the help of recently declassified documents, in The Iron Wall. The other prominent new historians include Simha Flapan, the author of The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities (1987), Ilan Pappé, Yossi Amitai, Uri ...

‘It was necessary to uproot them’

Charles Glass: Post-Zionist historiography, 24 June 2004

A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples 
by Ilan Pappe.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £15.99, January 2004, 0 521 55632 5
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The Gun and the Olive Branch 
by David Hirst.
Faber, 624 pp., £16.99, August 2003, 0 571 21945 4
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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited 
by Benny Morris.
Cambridge, 664 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 521 81120 1
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... measure attempts to grab pieces of Palestine for themselves: Egypt kept the Gaza Strip; and as Avi Shlaim tells us in Collusion across the Jordan (1988), by tacit agreement with the Zionist leadership, King Abdullah of Jordan held onto the West Bank. Not only did the Arab armies fail to save Palestine’s Arabs; the invasion became a pretext for their ...

Ariel the Unlucky

David Gilmour, 5 April 1990

Warrior: The Autobiography of Ariel Sharon 
by Ariel Sharon and David Chanoff.
Macdonald, 571 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 356 17960 5
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The Slopes of Lebanon 
by Amos Oz, translated by Maurie Goldberg-Bartura.
Chatto, 246 pp., £13.95, January 1990, 0 7011 3444 5
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From Beirut to Jerusalem 
by Thomas Friedman.
Collins, 541 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 00 215096 4
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Pity the nation: Lebanon at War 
by Robert Fisk.
Deutsch, 622 pp., £17.95, February 1990, 0 233 98516 6
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... the Sharon version of events and ignore the work of Israel’s best modern historians, such as Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris. Qibya was a disgusting incident which reminded the pro-Zionist New York Post of Lidice, but in Sharon’s autobiography it becomes almost an unlucky misunderstanding. One night in 1953 he took his commando unit into ...

The Kid Who Talked Too Much and Became President

David Simpson: Clinton on Clinton, 23 September 2004

My Life 
by Bill Clinton.
Hutchinson, 957 pp., £25, June 2004, 0 09 179527 3
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... and had already dropped the ball (in Clinton’s view) in ruling out a deal with Syria. (Avi Shlaim, reviewing Yossi Beilin’s account of this, has written more bluntly of a ‘complete absence of interpersonal skills’ on Barak’s part.) His Palestinian opponents were the ones who wanted ‘trust-building courtesies and conversations’. But ...

Indecision as Strategy

Adam Shatz: After the Six Day War, 11 October 2012

The Bride and the Dowry: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War 
by Avi Raz.
Yale, 288 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 0 300 17194 5
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... Gorenberg among others. But no one has provided as thorough – or as damning – an account as Avi Raz, a former reporter for Ma’ariv who has read every pertinent document in every available archive, in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The Bride and the Dowry is a work of meticulous scholarship, but it is also an angry book, burning with the sort of ...

Inhumane, Intolerant, Unclean

Ian Gilmour, 31 October 1996

A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths 
by Karen Armstrong.
HarperCollins, 474 pp., £20, July 1996, 0 00 255522 0
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years 
by Israel Shahak.
Pluto, 118 pp., £11.99, April 1994, 9780745308180
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City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present 
edited by Nitza Rosovsky.
Harvard, 562 pp., £25.50, April 1996, 0 674 13190 8
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Jerusalem in the 20th Century 
by Martin Gilbert.
Chatto, 400 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 7011 3070 9
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Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 
by Norman Finkelstein.
Verso, 230 pp., £39.95, December 1995, 1 85984 940 7
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To Rule Jerusalem 
by Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht.
Cambridge, 554 pp., £29.95, June 1996, 0 521 44046 7
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... the Israelis in 1947-8 would not have survived a cursory study of the books on the subject by Avi Shlaim, Ilam Pappé and Simha Flapam. Again, we are told that it was not until ‘1993 that Yasser Arafat ... would accept partition’. In fact his acceptance was strongly signalled in 1974 and unambiguously announced in 1988. Yet despite these and ...

Feeling Good about Feeling Bad

Nathan Thrall: Liberal Zionism, 9 October 2014

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel 
by Ari Shavit.
Scribe, 447 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 922247 54 4
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... the past few decades by the Israeli revisionists known as the New Historians – Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim and Tom Segev, for example – although he congratulates himself rather too many times for having dared ‘touch the fire’. But he doesn’t merely describe what happened in 1948: he attempts to justify it, and his book is in large part a moral ...

Balfour, Weizmann and the Creation of Israel

Charles Glass: Palestine, 7 June 2001

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate 
by Tom Segev, translated by Haim Watzman.
Little, Brown, 612 pp., £25, January 2001, 0 316 64859 0
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Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine 1917-48 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Murray, 290 pp., £12.99, September 2000, 0 7195 6322 4
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... of a century of Zionism by a new generation of Israeli historians – among them Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris – whose work is now entering the mainstream. In a sense, by focusing on the Mandate, Ploughing Sand and One Palestine, Complete are considerations of Israel’s debt to the British and Britain’s injury to the ...

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