Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956

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by Benny Morris

This book examines the evolution of Israeli-Arab relations from 1949 to 1956, with a particular focus on Arab infiltration into Israel and Israeli response. During this time, Palestinian refugee raids and cross-border attacks by Egyptian-controlled irregulars and commandos were a common occurrence, and one of the main reasons for Israel's invasion of Sinai and Gaza in 1956.

Benny Morris investigates the many sorts of Arab infiltration and how Arab regimes react to it, as well as the growth of Israel's defensive and aggressive actions. He examines Israeli decision-making processes, including the emergence and eventual failure of Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett's dissident policy of moderation, and goes into great detail about the history of Arab infiltration, including the terrorist-guerrilla raids by state-organized Fedayeen in 1955-6, as well as the IDF raids on Qibya, Nahhalin, Kinneret, and the Sabha.

This was a watershed moment in Israeli military policy, and the pattern of raiding and counter-raiding would come to define Israeli-Arab relations for the next four decades. Morris expands our grasp of the current situation in the Middle East and the possibilities for a durable peace in this groundbreaking research.

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— Benny Morris, Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956