Ira Glunts, one of my readers, wrote recommending an important book about the settlements which just came out in English: Akiva Eldar and Idith Zertal’s Lords of the Land: The War for Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007, an aptly ironic title for the settler enterprise.
Here is a portion of the International Herald Tribune review:
“Lords of the Land” is the first complete history of the settlement project. It provides a detailed narrative of injustice, and is profoundly depressing for anyone still hoping for a fair resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or even hoping that Jews and Arabs will be seen as equal in the eyes of Israeli law. In a chapter entitled “Everything Is Legal in the Land of Israel” Zertal and Eldar chronicle the paltry punishments given to settlers who kill Arabs, like the settlement leader Pinchas Wallerstein, who in 1988 shot two young Arabs in the back after he saw them burning a tire on the road. One died. Wallerstein was sentenced to four months community service.
If Palestinian lives are cheap, much Palestinian land is even cheaper — that is, free, at least to the settlers and Israeli authorities. The security fence that snakes through the West Bank is, according to Zertal and Eldar, an unparalleled land grab. They write that it was “constructed with no reckoning and no logic other than the purpose of enclosing as many settlements as possible on the western, Israeli, side and dividing up and seizing Palestinian lands.”
This may be an angry, embittered book, but the two authors are well-informed experts. Zertal is a noted Israeli historian, who now teaches at the University of Basel, and Eldar is an influential columnist for the left-wing daily, Ha’aretz. They are especially good on Gush Emunim, the Bloc of the Faithful, the religious Zionists driving the settlement project and the compromises with them made by a weak secular Israeli establishment.
“Lords of the Land” is richly detailed…
Akiva Eldar is one of Israel’s finest journalists and the book is to be recommended.