The Limits of the Land

The Limits of the Land

How the Struggle for the West Bank Shaped the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Avshalom Rubin
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/13/2017
Format: Paperback 7 b&w illus., 3 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-02897-6
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Was Israel’s occupation of the West Bank inevitable? From 1949-1967, the West Bank was the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Many Israelis hoped to conquer it and widen their narrow borders, while many Arabs hoped that it would serve as the core of a future Palestinian state. In The Limits of the Land, Avshalom Rubin presents a sophisticated new portrait of the Arab-Israeli struggle that goes beyond partisan narratives of the past. Drawing on new evidence from a wide variety of sources, many of them only recently declassified, Rubin argues that Israel’s leaders indeed wanted to conquer the West Bank, but not at any cost. By 1967, they had abandoned hope of widening their borders and adopted an alternative strategy based on nuclear deterrence. In 1967, however, Israel’s new strategy failed to prevent war, convincing its leaders that they needed to keep the territory they conquered. The result was a diplomatic stalemate that endures today.

Author Bio

Avshalom Rubin is a Middle East analyst at the US Department of State.


“This is a clear requirement for inclusion in any collection dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
 — Choice

“Based on a meticulous examination of numerous Israeli, US, and British archives, as well as relevant Arabic and Russian literature, Avshalom Rubin covers the role of the West Bank in the Arab-Israeli conflict in a comprehensive way. His book stands alone at the top of work on Israeli-Jordanian relations of the period.”
 — Robert Freedman, author of Israel and the United States: Six Decades of US-Israeli Relations

    "This is an outstanding historical analysis of a core component to the current Middle East dilemma between Israel and the Palestinians, not only because of the density of the Palestinian population but also its proximity to Jerusalem."”
     — Choice Reviews

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    Table of Contents

    Abbreviations Used in the Text and Footnotes
    Note on Transliteration
    Note on Sources
    1. Partition’s Inheritance: The Making of the Israeli-Jordanian Entente, 1949-1962
    2. The Jordanian Crisis of 1963 and Its Consequences
    3. A Status Quo Settlement? 1964-1965
    4. Louder than a Bomb: Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians, 1964-1966
    5. Partition’s Undoing: The End of the Israeli-Jordanian Entente, 1967
    6. The Harvest of War, June-November 1967
    7. A Chance for Peace? 1968
    8. The Jordanian Civil War and the Seeds of Disengagement, 1969-1970

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