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Review of Giora Goldberg, 'Ben-Gurion against the Knesset'

Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Department Of The Languages And Cultures Of The Near And Middle East
  • Political Science


International Journal of Middle East Studies 40:01 null 152 Int. J. Middle East Stud. 40 (2008) ideas” (p. 113). Metulla, located north of Dan, was the only Jewish settlement that can be said to have contributed in a significant way to defining the boundary’s final location. In the end, it and more than a dozen Arab villages were strewn along the superimposed boundary, with those lands divided between the two newly created states of Palestine and Lebanon. The last of Palestine’s boundaries to be defined during this period was the eastern one, along the Jordan River line. As in the south, the key decisions were all made by British politicians and military leaders. In this case, the significance of General Allenby’s wartime administrative divisions was not only reinforced locally by prevailing Ottoman practices but also was supported in London by the earlier political decision to establish east of the Jordan River a separate Arab state under British patronage. Although a few Zionist leaders, such as Ze↩ev Jabotinsky, viewed as treasonous the failure of the Zionist Organization to expand Palestine’s territory to the other bank of the Jordan River, Biger observes that once the British demarcation was made, “no official Zionist demands concerning the location of the eastern borderline were ever raised” (p. 179). A final chapter highlighting the various partition plans that achieved prominence between 1937 and 1947 reminds the reader that British faith in the boundaries of the territorial unit they had created did not last very long. However, as Biger notes, the eventual location of new boundaries was determined mainly by military positions achieved after 1947. Biger’s argument that such a discussion could not be encompassed within this book is well taken, but it raises questions about why a discussion of the partition plans was considered within its scope in the first place. Other weaknesses range from the sentence to the conceptual level. An annoying number of mistakes are made in t

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