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The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977

by

The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The untold story, based on groundbreaking original research, of the actions and inactions that created the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories

     After Israeli troops defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in June 1967, the Jewish state seemed to have reached the pinnacle of success. But far from being a happy ending, the Six-Day War proved to be the opening act of a complex political drama, in which the central issue became: Should Jews build settlements in the territories taken in that war?

     The Accidental Empire is Gershom Gorenbergs masterful and gripping account of the strange birth of the settler movement, which was the child of both Labor Party socialism and religious extremism. It is a dramatic story featuring the giants of Israeli historyMoshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Levi Eshkol, Yigal Allonas well as more contemporary figures like Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres. Gorenberg also shows how the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.

     Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg reconstructs what the top officials knew and when they knew it, while weaving in the dramatic first-person accounts of the settlers themselves. Fast-moving and penetrating, The Accidental Empire casts the entire enterprise in a new and controversial light, calling into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.

Gershom Gorenberg is a columnist and associate editor at The Jerusalem Report. He is the author of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount and co-author of Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, Haaretz, and Maariv. Born in America and educated at the University of California and Hebrew University, Gorenberg lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.
A National Jewish Book Award Runner-up
 
After Israeli troops defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in June 1967, the Jewish state seemed to have reached the pinnacle of success. But far from being a happy ending, the Six-Day War proved to be the opening act of a complex political drama, in which the central issue became: Should Jews build settlements in the territories taken in that war?
 
The Accidental Empire is Gershom Gorenberg's gripping account of the strange birth of the settler movement, which was the child of both Labor Party socialism and religious extremism. It is a dramatic story featuring the giants of Israeli historyMoshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Levi Eshkol, Yigal Allonas well as more contemporary figures like Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres. Gorenberg also shows how the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.
 
Gorenberg opens a window on the hidden history of the settlements. He tells the story of the first Israeli settler in occupied territory, who arrived just five weeks after the Six-Day War ended. He unearths the opinion by the Israeli Foreign Ministry's legal counsel that settling in the West Bank would violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. He shows how the U.S. State Department requested that Israel squelch press coverage of new settlements, and he reveals the unexpected impact of the U.N.'s 1975 "Zionism is racism" resolution in spurring wider settlement in the West Bank.
"Gershom Gorenberg has given us a meticulously researched, dispassionate and highly readable history of how Israel slipped into the settlement of occupied lands. The Accidental Empire is an invaluable guide to one of the Middle East's most complex issues and will puncture illusions on all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."Jackson Diehl, columnist, The Washington Post
"Gershom Gorenberg has given us a meticulously researched, dispassionate and highly readable history of how Israel slipped into the settlement of occupied lands. The Accidental Empire is an invaluable guide to one of the Middle East's most complex issues and will puncture illusions on all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."Jackson Diehl, columnist, The Washington Post
 
"[The Accidental Empire is] an absorbing narrative with extensive references to archives, private papers, oral histories, books and articles. The outlines of Gorenerg's story have been known since the 1983 publication of Occupation: Israel Over Palestine, a collection of essay edited by Naseer Aruri. But there is no comparably detailed history."Joel Beinin, The Nation
 
"[In] his masterly book based on original research . . . [Gershom Gorenberg] brilliantly describe[s] . . . how this mini-empire first came into being after the brief 1967 war."Amos Elon, The New York Review of Books
 
"Gershom Gorenberg has written the single most important piece of investigative reporting to date on the beginnings of Israels settlement project . . . [He] illustrates how a series of small decisions, made individually, eventually became an unarticulated policy of colonization."Estelle Frankel, Tikkun Magazine
 
"A thoroughly documented, pathbreaking analysis of Israel's disastrous settlement project in the occupied territories; it reads like a chapter in Barbara Tuchman's well-known book, The March of Folly."Amos Elon, author of The Pity of It All and The Israelis: Founders and Sons
 
"The Accidental Empire is an extraordinary book. It offers insight and understanding into a period that has never been well understood. After the 1967 war, few in Israel recognized the inherent problems of building Jewish settlements beyond the Green Line, for they were torn between reason and spiritual attachment to the land. As Gershom Gorenberg shows in this wonderfully written history, the building of settlements took on a life of its owntoo easy to do, too hard to stop, and too easy to simply let happen."Dennis Ross, former U.S. envoy to the Middle East, and author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace
 
"A groundbreaking investigation into the origins of one of the most contentious issues in Arab-Israeli relationsand in the Middle Eastand a valuable reference for journalists, students, and scholars interested in the region."Michael B. Oren, author of Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East
 
"The Accidental Empire casts a stark light on Israel's settlement of the lands it gained in the Six-Day War. Gershom Gorenberg contends that the Israeli left, as well as the Orthodox right, backed a policy that, though born of a felt need for security, encumbered the quest for peaceand that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger

Review:

"[Signature] Sarah F. Gold Midway through Gorenberg's revelatory account comes a striking irony, one of the many that emerge from this troubling history of Israeli settlements in the territories occupied after the 1967 Six Day War. In 1970, army commander Ariel Sharon said settlements would 'wean the Arabs of the Gaza Strip from the illusion that we will eventually get out of there.' Who could foresee that 35 years later, Prime Minister Sharon would bow to reality and spearhead the dismantling of those settlements and Israel's withdrawal from Gaza? The power of another illusion — the Israelis' belief that 'creating facts' by establishing settlements, could cement their sovereignty over contested lands and help guarantee its security — is a defining element of this tragic tale. It's an illusion that led to Israel's knowing violation (despite the warning in a top secret legal memo that Gorenberg cites) of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It led to the eviction of peaceful Bedouin from their land to make way for Israeli settlers. It led, according to Gorenberg, to the awakening of militant Palestinian nationalism. Ultimately, says Gorenberg, the settlements fed the escalating passions and violence that created the stalemate we know today. Militant, messianic nationalism was also the motivating force of the Israeli settlers, and Gorenberg dramatically describes this fervor's spread. Awakened by Israel's stunning 1967 victory, it led young religious Israelis to defy a government crippled by internal conflict over what to do with the occupied territories, and to settle in what the activists called 'Judea and Samaria.' The first settlement in the Golan Heights, however, was not founded by religious extremists, but by secular followers of socialist nationalist Yitzhak Tabenkin. One of Gorenberg's strengths is his deep knowledge of Zionist history and his skill in illuminating the emotional and ideological roots of all the settler factions.These emotional roots also help explain the paralysis of Israel's leaders in the face of defiant settlers. While brutally honest about the failings of Golda Meir (intolerant of dissent), Moshe Dayan (who thought occupation could be benign) and other Israeli figures (as well as those of their Arab opponents), Gorenberg, an associate editor of the Jerusalem Report, understands their secret sympathy for the settlers. Leaders like Yitzhak Rabin and Levi Eshkol were among Israel's founders, and the settlers' love of the land evoked their own pioneering youth and the heroic struggle to create a Jewish state. Nostalgia for the past clouded their vision and prevented the formulation of a sound policy for Israel's future. Today, with Ariel Sharon critically ill after a massive stroke, that future remains very much in question, and Gorenberg's book is an even more essential guide to understanding Israel's own contribution to its current tragic pass. 8 pages of photos; maps." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg reconstructs the actions and inactions that created the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, calling into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.

Synopsis:

"Remarkably insightful . . . A groundbreaking revision that deserves to reframe the entire debate . . . It soars."--The New York Times Book Review

In The Accidental Empire, Gershom Gorenberg examines the strange birth of the settler movement in the ten years following the Six-Day War and finds that it was as much the child of Labor Party socialism as of religious extremism. The giants of Israeli history--Dayan, Meir, Eshkol, Allon--all played major roles in this drama, as did more contemporary figures like Sharon, Rabin, and Peres. Gorenberg also shows how three American presidents turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.

Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg calls into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.

Synopsis:

The untold story, based on groundbreaking original research, of the actions and inactions that created the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories

After Israeli troops defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in June 1967, the Jewish state seemed to have reached the pinnacle of success. But far from being a happy ending, the Six-Day War proved to be the opening act of a complex political drama, in which the central issue became: Should Jews build settlements in the territories taken in that war?

The Accidental Empire is Gershom Gorenberg's masterful and gripping account of the strange birth of the settler movement, which was the child of both Labor Party socialism and religious extremism. It is a dramatic story featuring the giants of Israeli history--Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Levi Eshkol, Yigal Allon--as well as more contemporary figures like Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres. Gorenberg also shows how the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.

Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg reconstructs what the top officials knew and when they knew it, while weaving in the dramatic first-person accounts of the settlers themselves. Fast-moving and penetrating, The Accidental Empire casts the entire enterprise in a new and controversial light, calling into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.

About the Author

Gershom Gorenberg is the author of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount and co-author of Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin. The Jerusalem correspondent for the Forward, he has also written for The Jerusalem Report, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The American Prospect. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805075649
Subtitle:
Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977
Author:
Gorenberg, Gershom
Publisher:
Holt Paperbacks
Subject:
General
Subject:
Middle East - Israel
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Land settlement
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Israel
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20070306
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 8-pg bandw insert
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

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History and Social Science » World History » Israel

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Product details 480 pages Times Books - English 9780805075649 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "[Signature] Sarah F. Gold Midway through Gorenberg's revelatory account comes a striking irony, one of the many that emerge from this troubling history of Israeli settlements in the territories occupied after the 1967 Six Day War. In 1970, army commander Ariel Sharon said settlements would 'wean the Arabs of the Gaza Strip from the illusion that we will eventually get out of there.' Who could foresee that 35 years later, Prime Minister Sharon would bow to reality and spearhead the dismantling of those settlements and Israel's withdrawal from Gaza? The power of another illusion — the Israelis' belief that 'creating facts' by establishing settlements, could cement their sovereignty over contested lands and help guarantee its security — is a defining element of this tragic tale. It's an illusion that led to Israel's knowing violation (despite the warning in a top secret legal memo that Gorenberg cites) of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It led to the eviction of peaceful Bedouin from their land to make way for Israeli settlers. It led, according to Gorenberg, to the awakening of militant Palestinian nationalism. Ultimately, says Gorenberg, the settlements fed the escalating passions and violence that created the stalemate we know today. Militant, messianic nationalism was also the motivating force of the Israeli settlers, and Gorenberg dramatically describes this fervor's spread. Awakened by Israel's stunning 1967 victory, it led young religious Israelis to defy a government crippled by internal conflict over what to do with the occupied territories, and to settle in what the activists called 'Judea and Samaria.' The first settlement in the Golan Heights, however, was not founded by religious extremists, but by secular followers of socialist nationalist Yitzhak Tabenkin. One of Gorenberg's strengths is his deep knowledge of Zionist history and his skill in illuminating the emotional and ideological roots of all the settler factions.These emotional roots also help explain the paralysis of Israel's leaders in the face of defiant settlers. While brutally honest about the failings of Golda Meir (intolerant of dissent), Moshe Dayan (who thought occupation could be benign) and other Israeli figures (as well as those of their Arab opponents), Gorenberg, an associate editor of the Jerusalem Report, understands their secret sympathy for the settlers. Leaders like Yitzhak Rabin and Levi Eshkol were among Israel's founders, and the settlers' love of the land evoked their own pioneering youth and the heroic struggle to create a Jewish state. Nostalgia for the past clouded their vision and prevented the formulation of a sound policy for Israel's future. Today, with Ariel Sharon critically ill after a massive stroke, that future remains very much in question, and Gorenberg's book is an even more essential guide to understanding Israel's own contribution to its current tragic pass. 8 pages of photos; maps." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg reconstructs the actions and inactions that created the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, calling into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.
"Synopsis" by ,
"Remarkably insightful . . . A groundbreaking revision that deserves to reframe the entire debate . . . It soars."--The New York Times Book Review

In The Accidental Empire, Gershom Gorenberg examines the strange birth of the settler movement in the ten years following the Six-Day War and finds that it was as much the child of Labor Party socialism as of religious extremism. The giants of Israeli history--Dayan, Meir, Eshkol, Allon--all played major roles in this drama, as did more contemporary figures like Sharon, Rabin, and Peres. Gorenberg also shows how three American presidents turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.

Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg calls into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.

"Synopsis" by ,
The untold story, based on groundbreaking original research, of the actions and inactions that created the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories

After Israeli troops defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in June 1967, the Jewish state seemed to have reached the pinnacle of success. But far from being a happy ending, the Six-Day War proved to be the opening act of a complex political drama, in which the central issue became: Should Jews build settlements in the territories taken in that war?

The Accidental Empire is Gershom Gorenberg's masterful and gripping account of the strange birth of the settler movement, which was the child of both Labor Party socialism and religious extremism. It is a dramatic story featuring the giants of Israeli history--Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Levi Eshkol, Yigal Allon--as well as more contemporary figures like Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres. Gorenberg also shows how the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.

Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg reconstructs what the top officials knew and when they knew it, while weaving in the dramatic first-person accounts of the settlers themselves. Fast-moving and penetrating, The Accidental Empire casts the entire enterprise in a new and controversial light, calling into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.

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