Bickerton is a self-declared secular humanist historian who brings to the intractable conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians a sense of detachment. As such, he attempts to write a balanced history going back to the British Mandate in Palestine following the break up of the Ottoman Empire and up through the George W. Bush administration. In his view, none of the wars between Israel and its neighboring Arab states have made Israel more secure, and the continuing hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians only deepen the resolve of the two parties to yield no ground. In response to Abba Eban’s famous quote that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity (to make peace with Israel), Bickerton gives ample evidence that Israel too has passed up many opportunities for peace. He is particularly helpful in describing the mythologies each side perpetuates that impede a nonviolent resolution of the conflict.


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