Summary and Info
Overall, Benny Morris does a good and even-handed job at presenting the buildup to civil war in Palestine then the first war against the Arabs. That includes separating Israeli-Palestinian civil war before the British officially left Mandate Palestine from the attacks by Arab nations on an independent Israel.He also portrays well pressures on the Arab "street," the distrust of most Arab nations for each other, the wiliness of Jordan's King Abdullah, British-American wrangles over how much support to offer Israel and more.Morris also notes that, not just in hindsight, but at the time, it became clear that Arab blustering was not matched by Arab organization. At the battlefield level, Morris has a number of good maps.Morris is also fair enough to note battlefield atrocities by Israelis as well as Arabs.There is one area where I think he may be a bit weak, though. Even if Plan D did not call for deliberate Arab expulsion, nonetheless, in both the civil war and the Arab war, Morris could have delved more critically into whether the Yishuv first, then the government of Israel, had some plan, even if not fully coherent, for driving out Arabs, at least in certain situations.One or two other points keep this just short of a five-star book. First, I would have liked to see the friction, at times, between ben-Gurion and other top Israelis examined in more detail. How serious was it, as far as possible effect on either the battlefield or geopolitics? Second, a few more photos would have been nice, and printed on gloss, not regular stock paper.
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