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Rage in Jerusalem

Nathan Thrall, 4 December 2014

... PA. Local leaders, notably the late Faisal Husseini, refused to agree to this, which is one reason Yitzhak Rabin, who resolutely opposed dividing Jerusalem when he was prime minister and said he would rather abandon peace than give up a united capital, chose to bypass Husseini and instead pursued secret negotiations in Oslo with Arafat’s ...

I Could Fix That

David Runciman: Clinton, 17 December 2009

The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History in the White House 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 707 pp., £20, October 2009, 978 1 84737 140 9
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... being brought to Washington as a White House counsel, prompting a wave of conspiracy theories], Rabin – plus the mean-spirited investigations of him and Hillary and everybody else … He had just cracked. He said he could have done worse. He could have blown something up. Well, he did blow something up – a pharmaceuticals factory in Sudan, three days ...

The Finchley Factor

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Thatcher in Israel, 13 September 2018

Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East 
by Azriel Bermant.
Cambridge, 274 pp., £22.99, September 2017, 978 1 316 60630 8
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... from the intelligence services that Moyne’s killing had been organised by the Lehi leader, Yitzhak Yezernitsky. While underground he adopted the codename ‘Michael’ in homage to Michael Collins (despite some myth-making, almost no self-styled anti-colonial movement took Irish republicanism as a model, with the exception of Revisionist Zionism), and ...

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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... six Syrian MiGs were shot down; in a further humiliation, IDF jets flew over Damascus. On 12 May, Yitzhak Rabin, the chief of staff, threatened to invade Syria. An Israeli-Syrian war looked imminent. The following day, Nasser received intelligence from the Soviets that Israel was massing troops on the Syrian border. This wasn’t true, but the Syrians ...

Peace for Galilee

David Twersky, 21 April 1983

The Longest War 
by Jacobo Timerman.
Chatto, 160 pp., £7.95, December 1982, 0 7011 3910 2
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... who went to the Communications Minister Mordechai Zippori. Zippori phoned the Foreign Minister, Yitzhak Shamir. What Zippori said to Shamir is a question of some interest, as the two Ministers rendered very different accounts of the talk in their respective testimonies to the Kahan Commission – which believed Zippori. The critical issue here is not that ...

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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... Yigal Allon, the operation’s leader, to deport the surviving residents. Another commander, Yitzhak Rabin, issued the order: ‘The inhabitants of Lydda must be expelled quickly, without regard to age.’ These and other episodes of what Shavit calls ‘cleansing’ were not an aberration but an integral part of the Zionist mission to create a ...

Arafat’s Camel

Avi Shlaim, 21 October 1993

... breakthrough in the conflict between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. In one stunning move, Arafat and Rabin have redrawn the geopolitical map of the region. The Arab-Israeli divide was one not merely between Israel and the neighbouring Arab states, but also between Jewish and Palestinian nationalism. This last has always been at the heart of the conflict. Both ...

Before Rafah

Yitzhak Laor: Israeli militarism, 3 June 2004

... almost a euphoric day among more moderate Israelis. On Saturday night, 150,000 people rallied in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to call for peace, more or less. It was the largest rally Israel had seen for many years. The main speaker at the demonstration was Shimon Peres, foreign minister in Sharon’s former government, a man for all seasons and suits. His ...

We Are Conquerors

Adam Shatz: Ben-Gurion’s Obsession, 24 October 2019

A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion 
by Tom Segev.
Head of Zeus, 804 pp., £30, August 2019, 978 1 78954 462 6
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... of being upstaged by the right-wing militias of the underground – Menachem Begin’s Irgun and Yitzhak Shamir’s Lehi. But he postponed his confrontation with the British for as long as he could. When an Arab nationalist suggested that they join forces against the British, he replied that Jews would never fight the British – and notified the high ...

Not My Fault

John Lanchester: New Labour’s Terrible Memoirs, 17 July 2008

Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography 
by Cherie Blair.
Little, Brown, 421 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 4087 0098 3
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Prezza, My Story: Pulling No Punches 
by John Prescott, with Hunter Davies.
Headline, 405 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 0 7553 1775 2
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A Question of Honour: Inside New Labour and the True Story of the Cash for Peerages Scandal 
by Michael Levy.
Simon and Schuster, 310 pp., £18.99, May 2008, 978 1 84737 315 1
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... but the photographs are entertaining: Mum and Dad, then Alvin Stardust and Chris Rea, and then Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Yasir Arafat, President Assad, King Abdullah … No question, the man gives good schmooze. As with the other books, the section about Labour in office is much less interesting than the early part of the story. The ...

Leaving Paradise

Adam Shatz: Iraqi Jews, 6 November 2008

Memories of Eden: A Journey through Jewish Baghdad 
by Violette Shamash, edited by Mira Rocca and Tona Rocca.
Forum, 326 pp., £14.99, February 2008, 978 0 9557095 0 0
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Baghdad, Yesterday: The Making of an Arab Jew 
by Sasson Somekh.
Ibis, 186 pp., £9.50, November 2007, 978 965 90125 8 9
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... greeting none of them forgot. They landed in Lydda, where, on 13 July 1948, Israeli forces led by Yitzhak Rabin had driven more than thirty thousand Palestinians from their homes in one of the largest, most brutal expulsions of the war. Scores of refugees from Lydda and the neighbouring town of Ramleh died of hunger and thirst on the forced march ...


Raja Shehadeh: In Ramallah, 25 July 2002

... Day in the settlements of Psagot and Givat Zeev to the east and west of Ramallah. Years ago Yitzhak Rabin named Psagot as one of the settlements which should be evacuated. There’s no need for a Jewish neighbourhood next to Ramallah, he said publicly. The Prime Minister who was willing to make certain compromises for peace was murdered. The ...

Big Bucks, Big Bangs

Chalmers Johnson: US intelligence and the bomb, 20 July 2006

Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea 
by Jeffrey Richelson.
Norton, 702 pp., £22.99, April 2006, 0 393 05383 0
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... minister, John Vorster, visited Israel, and it’s thought that he negotiated an agreement with Yitzhak Rabin to trade fifty tons of South African uranium for thirty grammes of Israeli tritium, which is used to boost the yield of a nuclear bomb. However, if that is true, F.W. de Klerk did not mention it in his historic address of March 1993, renouncing ...

One day I’ll tell you what I think

Adam Shatz: Sartre in Cairo, 22 November 2018

No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre and Decolonisation 
by Yoav Di-Capua.
Chicago, 355 pp., £26, March 2018, 978 0 226 50350 9
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The Stillborn: Notebooks of a Woman from the Student-Movement Generation in Egypt 
by Arwa Salih, translated by Samah Selim.
Seagull, 163 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 85742 483 9
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... and declared him ‘the most sympathetic fascist I ever met’. He cancelled a meeting with Yitzhak Rabin, then the army chief of staff, protesting that ‘I came to meet the people, the left and civil society, not the military. Besides, I had already spent an excellent evening with this fascist general!’ He even stood up David Ben-Gurion, the ...

No One Leaves Her Place in Line

Jeremy Harding: Martha Gellhorn, 7 May 1998

... Reagan Administration in El Salvador from their safe-havens on the East Coast. With the murder of Yitzhak Rabin and the rise of religious fanaticism among Israelis, her confidence had already begun to fray (it was the purpose of ‘all religion’, she’d written in a piece about the trial of Adolf Eichmann, to fight against the delegation of ...

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