A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism

A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism

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by Daniel Byman
     
 

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In the sixty-plus years of the Jewish state's existence, Israeli governments have exhausted almost every option in defending their country against terror attacks. Israel has survived and even thrived--but both its citizens and its Arab neighbors have paid dearly.
_ In A High Price, Daniel Byman breaks down the dual myths of Israeli omnipotence and--conversely-

Overview


In the sixty-plus years of the Jewish state's existence, Israeli governments have exhausted almost every option in defending their country against terror attacks. Israel has survived and even thrived--but both its citizens and its Arab neighbors have paid dearly.
_ In A High Price, Daniel Byman breaks down the dual myths of Israeli omnipotence and--conversely--ineptitude in fighting terror, offering instead a nuanced, definitive historical account of the state's bold but often failed efforts to fight terrorist groups. The product of painstaking research and countless interviews, the book chronicles different periods of Israeli counterterrorism. Beginning with the violent border disputes that emerged after Israel's founding in 1948, Byman charts the rise of Yasir Arafat's Fatah and leftist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine--organizations that ushered in the era of international terrorism epitomized by the 1972 hostage-taking at the Munich Olympics. Byman follows how Israel fought these groups and new ones, such as Hamas, in the decades that follow, with particular attention to the grinding and painful struggle during the second intifada. Israel's debacles in Lebanon against groups like the Lebanese Hizballah are also examined in-depth, as is the country's problematic response to Jewish terrorist groups that have struck at Arabs and Israelis seeking peace.
In surveying Israel's response to terror, the author points to the coups of shadowy Israeli intelligence services, the much-emulated use of defensive measures such as sky marshals on airplanes, and the role of controversial techniques such as targeted killings and the security barrier that separates Israel from Palestinian areas. Equally instructive are the shortcomings that have undermined Israel's counterterrorism goals, including a disregard for long-term planning and a failure to recognize the long-term political repercussions of counterterrorism tactics.
Israel is often a laboratory: new terrorist techniques are often used against it first, and Israel in turn develops innovative countermeasures that other states copy. Ultimately, A High Price expertly explains how Israel's successes and failures can serve to inform all countries fighting terrorism today.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A great introduction to Israeli counterterrorism."—Thomas E. Ricks, Foreign Policy

"Meticulously researched...a fascinating account of Israel's techniques for recruiting informants in hostile territory and its evolving efforts to make its interrogation practices conform to the strictures of international law."—Wall Street Journal

"An admirably even-handed book."—The Economist

"A definitive work on Israel's war against Palestinian terrorism. Packed with statistics and excellent documentation, it will certainly be an important reference for years to come."—Moment

"For a democracy, some ways of defeating terrorism can be a Pyrrhic victory. Byman shows us what Israel did against terrorists that failed, what worked, and what was counter-productive. We can learn from Israel's experience. We do not have to repeat their mistakes... if we know what they were."—Richard A. Clarke, author of Against All Enemies and Cyber War

"Daniel Byman has produced a vitally important, invaluable history and analysis of Israeli counterterrorism policy and practice. His research and judgments are balanced, nuanced, grounded in evidence and highly credible. He shatters the easy myths about Israeli brilliance and bungling against its terrorist adversaries and leads us to an understanding of why it remains so important for Israel to discover a path forward that will integrate its counterterrorism tactics into a wider strategy that can produce, as the author puts it, 'peace within its borders and with its neighbors.'" —Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens

"On a topic that excites great passion, Dan Byman has written a cool, lucid, and balanced work. This is, and for years to come will remain, the best book explaining the Israeli experience, its successes and its failures, to all democracies facing terrorist threats."—Eliot A. Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies, SAIS, Johns Hopkins

"Israel has been fighting terrorism from its first days as a state more than six decades ago. In this first in-depth, comprehensive history and analysis of Israel's counter-terrorism strategy Dan Byman has done an extraordinary job of marshalling the facts and presenting a compelling critique. Anyone with an interest in combating the scourge of terrorism or understanding Israel's unique approach to the challenge will find this book an insightful, thought-provoking guide and a fascinating read."—Martin Indyk, Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel

"Byman has produced a meticulously researched and well-written book that both informs and engages the reader. The hope is that his painstaking and clear-eyed historical analysis of the theory and practice of Israeli counterterrorism, illuminating unnecessary setbacks as well as improbable successes, will help open space for a more efficacious and salutary integration of counterterrorism and policy."—Survival

"[A] comprehensive account of the effectiveness of Israel's counterterrorism campaigns since the country became independent.... This book is enriched by [Byman's] research visits to Israel and meetings with leading Israeli security officials cited throughout the volume." —ashington Times

"Recommended not only as an introductory text to readers new to the subject, but also as a reference book for experts. The quality of the research makes it a valuable research." —Army History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195391824
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
06/15/2011
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
890,337
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

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Meet the Author

Daniel Byman is Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He has served on the 9/11 Commission staff and as an analyst with the U.S. government.

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High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 24 days ago
I must admit, that before reading this book my knowledge of Isreal was nil. Israel has the power to elicit great , respect, sympathy, and wonder. That being said the lengths they go to, to provide security have often been criminally brutal. After ingesting all the information provided, I can't help but side with the palestinians.