Israel's Occupation

Issue section: 

Neve Gordon, University of California Press, £12.95

Covering four decades and interweaving a vast range of documents, records and first hand testimony, Neve Gordon offers a unique perspective on the changing dynamics of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Looking at the changes in the forms of control that have developed on the ground since 1967, Gordon's panoramic account reveals a fundamental shift to an occupation marked by an increasing number of deaths.

It looks as if Israel decided to alter its methods of occupation. At first Israel presented it as temporary by having policies that appeared to secure the existence and livelihood of the Palestinian inhabitants, but then went on to assert its presence by deadly means.

Ariel Sharon's highly publicised visit to the Al-Aqsa compound in September 2000 could be considered the final step in a process that has ultimately undone Moshe Dayan's strategic legacy of trying to normalise the occupation by concealing Israel's presence.

Gordon argues that it is the interactions and contradictions of the occupation's very structure, rather than the policy choices of the Israeli government or the actions of various Palestinian political factions, that have led to this radical shift.

The breadth and detail of Gordon's scope provides a powerful systemic framework for explaining the changing nature of Israel's rule in the Palestinian territories.