As the Israeli occupation digs in, an Israeli-English journalist and academic unforgivingly delineates its long, gruesome history.
Since the book’s first appearance in the U.K. last summer, war between the Palestinians and Israelis has again broken out in a brutal new chapter of this ongoing, inexorable conflict, as noted by Bregman (Department of War Studies/King’s Coll. London; Warfare in the Middle East Since 1945, 2008, etc.), who served in the Israeli Army during its war in Lebanon in 1982. Israel’s manipulative economic system and policies in the Israeli-occupied territories since the victory of the Six-Day War of 1967 gained vast tracts of land from Egypt, Jordan and Syria have allowed Israel, over four decades, to become a brutal occupier. Bregman claims that the time for making a deal with the Palestinians was ripe during the first decade of that occupation, when Moshe Dayan was still defense minister and his “invisible occupation” was fairly benign and tolerant—before the right-wing Likud Party rendered the occupation “irreversible.” However, in short order, Palestinian land was seized by specious legal means, and messianic settlers were allowed to move into the biblical Hebron (West Bank) in 1968, which Dayan himself recognized later as a catastrophic precedent. Many of the finer points of the demarcations of territory are in dispute, but what remains is the perceived need by Israel to isolate these regions—e.g., after the barriers were erected between the Golan and the rest of Syria in 1975, the residents climbed to “Hills of Shouts” with megaphones to exchange news between families—severely control their economies, restrict movement and maintain surveillance on their citizens, leading to one angry and desperate outbreak after another by the oppressed. After numerous failed peace negotiations and two intifadas, Bregman asserts pessimistically that it may take “many generations before a true reconciliation takes hold.”
A plainspoken but urgent account that is deeply critical of Israel’s policies.