Gazit, the coordinator of Israeli government operations in the Occupied Territories from 1967 to 1974, was on the ground in the early years of the occupation and has closely followed developments since. He begins his candid account with short chapters on how each successive Israeli minister of defense has approached the territories, beginning with Moshe Dayan and continuing to the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987. Later chapters examine military administration, plans for Palestinian self-rule (including the ill-fated "village leagues"), and the evolution of Israeli settlement policy. Until the outbreak of the intifada in 1987, Gazit notes, the occupation seemed so trouble-free as to cause complacency; since then, violence has taken a toll on both sides. As his title indicates, Gazit sees the decades-long military occupation as a terrible blunder, but his is not a thesis-driven account. Indeed, the strength of Trapped Fools is its balanced description of Israeli policies and performance in the Occupied Territories from 1967 to 1997.
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