Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories

Author(s): Ahron Bregman

Middle East

In a move that would forever alter the map of the Middle East, Israel captured the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula in 1967's brief but pivotal Six Day War. Cursed victory is the first complete history of the war's troubled aftermath - a military occupation of the Palestinian territories that is now well into its fifth decade. Drawing on unprecedented access high-level sources, top-secret memos and never-before-published letters, the book provides a gripping and unvarnished chronicle of how what Israel promised would be an 'enlightened occupation' quickly turned sour, and the anguished diplomatic attempts to bring it to an end. Bregman sheds fresh light on critical moments in the peace process, taking us behind the scenes as decisions about the fate of the territories were made, and more often, as crucial opportunities to resolve the conflict were missed. As the narrative moves from Jerusalem to New York, Oslo to Beirut, and from the late 1960s to the present day, Cursed victory provides vivid portraits of the key players in this unfolding drama, including Moshe Dayan, King Hussein of Jordan, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat. Yet Bregman always reminds us how diplomatic and back-room negotiations affected the daily lives of millions of Arabs, and how the Palestinian resistance, especially during the first and second intifadas, in turn shaped political developments. As Bregman concludes, the occupation has become a dark stain on Israel's history, and an era when international opinion of the country shifted decisively. Cursed victory is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the origins of the ongoing conflict in the region.


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Bregman tells this bleak story well, and what a catalogue of grief it is ... A damning verdict -- Max Hastings Sunday Times Bregman has also enjoyed unparalleled access to high-level sources that enabled him to quote directly from top-secret memos, letters, and intelligence reports that are unlikely ever to be made public ... Bregman's account of the conflict born of the cursed victory is intelligent, informative and rich in telling details. -- Avi Shlaim Guardian The headlines notwithstanding, this is not primarily a book about who spied on whom. It is the best available book on the Israeli occupation of the Territories and why it should be ended ASAP; and one written with the kind of lucidity and insight only somebody who passionately loves his country can muster -- Martin van Creveld A bombshell book... The nuggets provided in Bregman's book shed light on the extent of Israel's intelligence collection agencies' work not only in times of war, but also as Israel engaged with its neighbors in peace talks... Bregman has a flair for exposing sensational details kept in secret by all parties for years The Jewish Daily Forward Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on phone calls between President Bill Clinton and Syria's late strongman Hafez al-Assad during sensitive Middle East peace negotiations 15 years ago... Evidence is cited in verbatim transcripts of the calls revealed by political scientist and author Ahron Bregman in his forthcoming book Cursed Victory -- Jeff Stein Newsweek Lucid ... timely ... Bregman has assets which lift this account above many on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One is access to some hitherto secret material ... [Cursed Victory is] a highly readable study, an excellent starting point for those wanting to know more about how military victory turned into a tragedy -- Donald MacIntyre The Independent Explosive... [Bregman's] insight into the tragedy of post Six-Day-War Israel, which the title encapsulates in two words, is impeccable -- Mira Bar Hillel The Oldie Although only nine years old in 1967, [Bregman's] insight into the tragedy of Israel after the Six Day War is impeccable -- Independent Mira Bar Hillel Detailed and well thought-out... A former Israeli soldier in Lebanon, Mr Bregman knows his subject first-hand. In 1988 he left Israel, unhappy about the country's policy towards the Palestinians. As an academic at King's College London, he has accumulated copious documents, many of them secret and unpublished Economist The definitive chronicle of how Israel's control over Palestinian life has transformed from a temporary system to a fully functioning colonial administration... Cursed Victory excels in unpacking exactly how Israel's administration of the occupation has adapted over five decades to ensure its continuation The National (UAE) Cursed Victory is briskly written ... [An] incisive, thoroughly documented and readable account -- Adam Lebor Literary Review A well-researched, probing book. It is the work of a man troubled by his country's policies and the dilemmas with which those policies have saddled the people of Israel. The detail he has gleaned from often highly classified sources is fascinating and thought-provoking The Australian The cry of an anguished conscience and a work of scholarship based on hitherto undisclosed material. The revelations are stunning Frontline An intelligent, critical account... The book utilises to good effect unpublished intelligence files, transcripts of telephone calls and interviews with the many protagonists The Jewish Chronicle Clear, accessible, readable ... Important, valuable and sober Tribune His analysis is fair ... His excellent, meticulously researched book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what occupation has done to Israel as well as to its neighbours -- Jeremy Bowen New Statesman

Ahron Bregman is a UK-based political scientist of Israeli origin, as well as a writer and journalist, specialising on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

General Fields

  • : 9780713997750
  • : Penguin Books Ltd
  • : Allen Lane
  • : 0.705
  • : July 2013
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : August 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 416
  • : 956.9405
  • : 1
  • : Hardback
  • : Ahron Bregman