The sword is not enough

Arabs, Israelis, and the limits of military force

By Jeremy Pressman

The sword is not enough
Hardcover -
  • Price: £30.00
  • ISBN: 9781526146175
  • Publish Date: Aug 2020
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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  • Price: £30.00
  • ISBN: 9781526146168
  • Publish Date: Jul 2020
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4617-5
    • Pages: 296
    • Price: £30.00
    • Published Date: August 2020
    • Series: Manchester University Press


    In this lucid and timely new book, Jeremy Pressman demonstrates that the default use of military force on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict has prevented its peaceful resolution.

    Whether called deterrence or war, armed struggle or terrorism, the history of the conflict reveals that violence has been counterproductive. Drawing on historical evidence from the 1950s to the present, The sword is not enough pushes back against the dominant belief that military force leads to triumph while negotiations and concessions lead to defeat and further unwelcome challenges. Violence weakens the security situation, bolsters adversaries, and, especially in the case of Palestine, has sabotaged political aims.

    Studiously impartial and accessibly written, this book shows us that diplomacy is the only answer.


    'This book utterly demolishes the argument that force alone can achieve a political solution to a conflict; and it argues cogently that the reliance on force alone can increase the chances of more "violence, unintended escalation, war, and greater insecurity." How much better off would we be if these critical lessons were applied by our leaders.'
    Daniel Kurtzer, S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East Policy Studies, Princeton University and former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel

    'Well-argued and convincing, Pressman shows the crucial limitations of war and the reliance on military power. Pressman brilliantly shows that the use of force often leads to counter-reactions, and consequently, is often counter-productive.'
    Hilde Henriksen Waage, Professor of History, University of Oslo

    'A respected expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Pressman thoughtfully drives his conclusion home through rich analysis of multiple episodes in the history of the conflict. Illuminating and worth reading.'
    Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland

    'Clear, balanced and informative: a must-read for anyone who cares about the region.'
    Mira Sucharov, Professor of Political Science, Carleton University, Canada

    'The book skillfully draws on scholarly research, statements made by Israeli, Palestinian, and other Arab leaders, news reports, and additional primary and secondary sources. Written in a clear and accessible style, The Sword Is Not Enough is a smooth read for those well-versed in the political history of the region, and it is also appropriate for students with basic, but limited, background knowledge of the conflict.'
    Diana B. Greenwald, Department of Political Science, City College of New York for the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2022), 1-3


    1 The Arab-Israeli fight
    2 Force as the dominant policy
    3 Peace cannot be forced
    4 Force, insecurity, and failure
    5 Missed diplomatic opportunities
    6 Changing the dominant idea


    Jeremy Pressman is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Middle East Studies at the University of Connecticut. He is author of Warring Friends: Alliance Restraint in International Politics and co-author of Point of No Return: The Deadly Struggle for Middle East Peace. Pressman has held fellowships at Brandeis, Harvard, and the University of Sydney, as well as the Norwegian Nobel Institute where he was a Fulbright fellow.

    The sword is not enough

    By Jeremy Pressman

    Hardcover £30.00 / $45.95

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