Avi Shlaim

Avi Shlaim, a fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford, is the author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.

More than any other capital city, Jerusalem demonstrates the power of symbols in international politics. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the most bitter and protracted of modern times, and the Jerusalem question, a compound of religious zealotry and secular jingoism, lies at its heart. The Oslo Accords, which launched the Palestinians on the road to self-government,...

Ehud Barak: Ehud Barak

Avi Shlaim, 25 January 2001

The outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada, following Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the holy Muslim shrine on 28 September last year, reopened the question of whether the Oslo Accord is capable of producing a viable settlement of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Ever since it was signed on 13 September 1993 on the White House lawn and sealed with Yitzhak Rabin and...

A History of Disappointment

Avi Shlaim, 22 June 2000

Fouad Ajami’s The Dream Palace of the Arabs is at once an intellectual tour de force, and an intimate and perceptive survey of the Arab literary, cultural and political worlds. Ajami was born in Southern Lebanon and raised in Beirut, and he has a rare ability to listen to and convey his culture’s inner voice. Equally rare is the quality of his English prose. Like Conrad, of whom he’s an admirer, Ajami fell under the spell of the English language, and this new book displays his skills as scholar, as stylist and as literary critic.

Ehud Barak’s landslide victory in the general election of 17 May marked the beginning of a new era in Israeli politics. The election was critical for the future shape of the country’s chronically divided society as well as for its relations with the Arab world. Under the reformed electoral system, each voter casts two ballots – one for the prime minister and one for the parties to be represented in the 120-seat Knesset. In the contest for the premiership Barak defeated Binyamin Netanyahu by 56 to 44 per cent and his victory has produced a political earthquake comparable to the upheaval of 1977, when the Likud swept to power under Menachem Begin. Some Israelis saw it as the sunrise, after three dark and terrible years of Likud rule.’

The Fighting Family

Avi Shlaim, 9 May 1996

Menachem Begin and his Likud union of nationalist and liberal parties won their first electoral victory on 17 May 1977, bringing to an end three decades of Labour rule. The Likud was to dominate Israeli politics for the next 15 years. Colin Shindler’s book provides the first comprehensive survey of the Party’s origins, rise and decline, while paying particular attention to the role played by its successive leaders.

The Great Lie: Israel

Charles Glass, 30 November 2000

An Israeli Jewish woman told me a story about her father’s return, many years later, to the house in Vienna that his family had abandoned in 1938. More than any of the other possessions he...

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My Israel, Right or Wrong

Ian Gilmour, 22 December 1994

The foreign policy record of the Clinton Administration has been dismal. Even when the United States has shown more sensible and decent inclinations than Europe, as over Bosnia, the White House...

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Cleansing the Galilee

David Gilmour, 23 June 1988

The Palestinian refugee problem was created forty years ago and seems no nearer a solution as it enters its fifth decade. The 750,000 people who left their towns and villages in 1948 have...

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