The Accidental Empire by Gershom Gorenberg
Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977

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The untold story, based on groundbreaking original research, of the actions and inactions that created the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories

After Israeli troops defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in June 1967, the Jewish state seemed to have reached the pinnacle of success. But far from being a happy ending, the Six-Day War proved to be the opening act of a complex political drama, in which the central issue became: Should Jews build settlements in the territories taken in that war?

The Accidental Empire is Gershom Gorenberg's masterful and gripping account of the strange birth of the settler movement, which was the child of both Labor Party socialism and religious extremism. It is a dramatic story featuring the giants of Israeli history--Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Levi Eshkol, Yigal Allon--as well as more contemporary figures like Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres. Gorenberg also shows how the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.

Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg reconstructs what the top officials knew and when they knew it, while weaving in the dramatic first-person accounts of the settlers themselves. Fast-moving and penetrating, The Accidental Empire casts the entire enterprise in a new and controversial light, calling into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.


About Gershom Gorenberg

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Gershom Gorenberg has written for the Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy, and Ha'aretz. He is the author of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977; The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount; and the coauthor of The Jerusalem Report's 1996 biography of Yitzhak Rabin, Shalom Friend, which won the National Jewish Book Award. As a commentator on Middle East affairs and on religion, Gorenberg has appeared on Sixty Minutes, Nightline, Dateline NBC, NPR's Fresh Air, and on CNN and the BBC. For many years an associate editor of The Jerusalem Report, he is now a senior correspondent for The American Prospect. He blogs at Gorenberg made aliyah from California in 1977. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife, journalist Myra Noveck, and their three children.
Published March 6, 2007 by Times Books. 480 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Gaza was effectively cordoned off, while Israeli civilian settlements punctuated occupied territory precisely “to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.” This development was spearheaded by some of the same leftist kibbutzim, though now allied with members of the religious right whose stock...

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Publishers Weekly

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[Signature] Sarah F. Gold Midway through Gorenberg's revelatory account comes a striking irony, one of the ma

Jan 16 2006 | Read Full Review of The Accidental Empire: Israel...

The New York Times

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A journalist blames an Israeli policy of no policy for the West Bank settlements.

May 07 2006 | Read Full Review of The Accidental Empire: Israel...

Publishers Weekly

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While brutally honest about the failings of Golda Meir (intolerant of dissent), Moshe Dayan (who thought occupation could be benign) and other Israeli figures (as well as those of their Arab opponents), Gorenberg, an associate editor of the Jerusalem Report , understands their secret sympathy for...

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The New York Review of Books

I remember first meeting him soon after the 1967 war at a meeting with Haaretz editors: he was still an army general at the time, greatly admired for his victory in a war ominously named after the Six Days of Creation.

Jun 22 2006 | Read Full Review of The Accidental Empire: Israel...

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