In This Review

Defending Israel: A Controversial Plan Toward Peace
Defending Israel: A Controversial Plan Toward Peace
By Martin Van Creveld
224 pp, St. Martin's, 2004

Israeli military historian van Creveld's plan for peace is to get out of the Palestinian territories occupied since the June 1967 war and complete the building of the wall. After 1967, Israel was attracted to the concept of achieving more "defensible borders," but plans along those lines have not worked out to Israel's advantage. Better, then, to return to the defense of an Israel within its pre-1967 borders. Israel's clear technological advantage over all its neighbors takes care of conventional threats, but putting down militarily insignificant terrorist or guerrilla activity is demonstrably costly in both manpower and morale. Citing the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, and the line dividing Greeks and Turks in Cyprus, van Creveld argues that a wall will do the job. This "controversial plan," set within an excellent succinct survey of Israeli military doctrine and practice since 1967, actually reflects emerging mainstream Israeli thinking-for better or worse.