Patrick Tyler quotes former Israeli Prime Minister Sharett stating: “When military reactions outstrip in their severity the events that caused them, grave consequences are set in motion that widen the gulf and thrust our neighbors into the extremist camp.” (p.104). For me, this quote epitomizes the drone of the cycle of incessant violence, deception, death, corruption, disinformation, and oppression that has characterized the reality of Israel since its founding. The survival of a people and a nation is a complex and chaotic matter – when one is surrounded by those who seek your destruction.
In Fortress Israel, journalist Patrick Tyler provides unprecedented access to the “why, who, when and where” surrounding this ongoing reality.
Several months ago, I selected three books to read in an attempt to better understand the Arab-Israeli Conflict. These included: 1948 – The First Arab Israeli Conflict by Benny Morris (Yale University Press 2008 – A Winner of the National Jewish Book Awards). The second was Michael B. Oren’s ( Ballantine Books, NY — Random House 2002) entitled Six Days of War – June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Finally, Finally, I digested The Yom Kippur War – The Epic Encounter That Transformed The Middle East by Abraham Rabinovich (Shocken Books, New York 2004).
Honestly, after reading the volumes above, Patrick Tyler’s Fortress Israel is the book I would recommend to you to garner a sweeping yet intimate understanding of both the history and the trajectory of Israeli-Arab relations…particularly how the mindset and motivation of the military predominate the psyche of a nation — and its most significant actors – both known and unknown to the layperson.
This volume – FORTRESS ISRAEL – should be required reading for diplomats, U.S. State Department employees, any course in Middle East studies, graduate schools, foreign policy wonks, NGO’s, those who enjoy historical geopolitical thrillers – and those interested in continuing to explore pathways to peace in this region of our world.
Fortress Israel is a remarkable journalistic and literary accomplishment. It is an incredibly important contribution to the history of a region where there has been a void – where Fortress Israel now honorably resides.
I am also acutely aware – and duly disturbed – why this book garners a three star rating on Amazon: There are those who will defend the indefensible actions of Israel – no matter what the historical record reveals. Their reviews populate Amazon and other sites for books that examine the country, its people, the region and the conflicts that the rest of the world deserves to comprehend from an objective standpoint.
This is a “page-turner” – one of those rare pieces of historical investigative journalism where you are overcome with the desire for more as you finish the last page.
Fortress Israel is a FIVE STAR book – no doubt about it.