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The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
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The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  314 ratings  ·  23 reviews
As it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, the State of Israel could count many important successes, but its conflict with the Palestinians and the Arab world at large casts a long shadow over its history. What was promulgated as an "iron-wall" strategy—dealing with the Arabs from a position of unassailable strength—was meant to yield to a further stage where Israel would ...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published January 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published December 1st 1999)
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Hadrian
I'm a bit hesitant to write anything on the Israel-Palestine conflict - it's not really my field of study, and I feel as though I'm stepping in a minefield.

There are few areas within the field of history so politicized as the history of Israel and its relations with the Palestinians and the Arab world. Shlaim contributes to this historical debate with this openly revisionist work (his word) which challenges traditional Israel narratives about its foundation and history with the Arab World.

The
...more
Mr.
Avi Shlaim is in the school of what are called "The New Historians" on the Arab-Israeli conflict, along with Benny Morris who broke new ground in historical analysis with the Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. This text by Shlaim is a great single volume overview of the history of the conflict, from 1948 and the war of independence leading all the way up to 1999. The thesis of his book is that the Zionist movement eventually adopted the political philosophy of Ze'ev Jabotinksy with his id ...more
Deema
Barring the outstanding quality of this book and the depth of information presented within it, the fact that it took me ten months to finish The Iron Wall is in itself a reason to take a few seconds of my time to comment on it.

This book is a mammoth, especially for someone like me who wouldn’t term themselves a ‘fast reader’ by any means. It is so long, and so dense with facts, dates and events that I started off only reading about 10 pages a day before I had put it down in exhaustion. But the
...more
Derek Martin
This detailed and objective history of Israel from the UN Resolution of 1947 onward completely dismantles any notion that Israel began as a peace-loving nation only seeking to find harmony between migrant Jews and indigenous Palestinians. I want to stress, once again, what I find to be a fairly "objective" assessment of this rather polemical topic. Shlaim deals with the facts the way you expect a historian to do so. Reviews that consider this book biased are basing that opinion on the conclusion ...more
Cindy
Outstanding tome on the history of modern Israel and The Arab world. Packed with information - old and new. Author has done tireless research. Worth reading...hard to read quickly..best as a reference book.
Ahmed Uzair
It is a fair book on a subject that is plagued with misinformation and propaganda. The narrative is easy to understand and is well presented.
Garvan
Wonderful book
Ronando
Just started the book, am hoping to learn a little more about Israel & Palestine, in light of the recent killings of the 3 Israeli boys and burning alive of one Palestinian boy.

Sadly, the more I read and the more I understand the history of Israel and Palestine, the less confident I feel about there ever being a resolution (much less a peaceful resolution). Can the US ever truly help things along when it comes to Israel and the Arab world? ...I have my doubts.

What I like about this book is
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Paul
An interesting fairly impartial analysis of Israel's 'Iron Wall' approach towards it's Arab neighbours. While it deserves credit for not falling into the trap of repeating endless state-sponsored political rhetoric, it lets itself down by running through the entire history of the conflict from a distinctly Israeli viewpoint. There is little to no effort made to show any kind of viewpoint or opinion of those on the Arab side of the conflict beyond dabbling in the hubris and self-servient interest ...more
Sheridan
I found this a bit dry at points, and difficult to remember who all the key players were, but that's more about me than the author I think. I think there may have been too much information, or that at least a table of events would've been helpful. I don't feel much clearer about the rights and wrongs of this whole long and ugly situation, which is a good job by the author as it means that he was very pragmatic and unbiased, although I think he may have downplayed the Arab resistance out of some ...more
Hussam
Excellent read by Jewish historian Avi Shlaim on the backdoor alley deals, circumstances, and political ploys that not only led to the creation of the state of Israel on Palestinian lands, but also all the events that sought to sustain it: mass deportations, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, inciting border wars with neighboring countries to expand territory, Irgun and Hagana Zionist militias,...etc. Avi concludes that the Jewry of the day had placed themselves on the wrong side of history, and ...more
Saee
Thoughtful, well-researched and comprehensive. My interest in Middle East politics started 4 years ago when I wanted to understand why there was so much contention over Palestine/Israel. More importantly, I wanted an unbiased version of the truth. I did pick this book up with some skepticism, as it was written by a Jewish author. After reading Shlaim's book, I came to realize that both parties were at fault, and the only way to a solution is compromise by both sides where each side will have to ...more
Shaqer Rasheed
This book is a must read for students of International Relations !
Judy
This is a book about Israel's relations with its Arab neighbours since the first settlers arrived. Avi Shaim is a professor in International Relations at Oxford University and takes a long hard look at the reality of what has happened and how Israel has employed unreasonable force and agression from the beginning. Anyone who wants to know more about thhe Middle East should read this book.
Kamal Kannan
Atlast i got to know about Israel - Arab conflict in Middle East...One thing stood out and still cant able to believe, how this country always in fighting mode with others rather than talks....Israel always a loggerhead, even now they are ready to fight with Iran. I think no other country has this much guts to think of fighting rather than diplomacy.
Vaile Adams-Fujikawa
This book is a watershed in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I feel like it is written factually and presents the failure from all sides to find a solution to the problem that had been brewing in the Middle East for 125 years. If you're interested in a relatively non-biased history of the region I strongly recommend this title.
Neruh
Very good book about the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict. After doing some minor research in the area, I appreciated that this book approached the conflict from a somewhat neutral perspective.
Lee
Great overview of a hopelessly complex issue. Views the conflict through the lense of Israel's internal politics, but is far from biased towards Israel. Thankfully.
Sean
Very detailed history of Israel's relations with its Arab neighbors. Excellent way to learn more about the conflict in the Middle East.
Martha
I picked this book up hoping for a really comprehensive history lesson but it was so so so so so dry that i didnt last over 50 pages
Ben Jaques
Revisionist history of Israel and Palestine. Well-told and even story of Israeli history.
Simon
Despite the controversies, this is a balanced and well-written history.
Mills College Library
956.04 S5588ir 2001
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Avi Shlaim FBA (born October 31, 1945) is an Iraqi-born British/Israeli historian. He is emeritus professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and a fellow of the British Academy. Shlaim is considered one of Israel's New Historians, a group of Israeli scholars who put forward critical interpretations of the history of Zionism and Israel.
More about Avi Shlaim...
War and Peace in the Middle East: A Concise History, Revised and Updated Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations The Politics of Partition: King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine 1921-1951 Collusion Across The Jordan: King Abdullah, The Zionist Movement, And The Partition Of Palestine

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