Two months after the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967 ended, then Colonel, now Major General (ret), Gazit found himself put in charge of the West Bank territories Israeli troops had just won. His surprise at this appointment was exceeded only by the command's unpreparedness to rule well over a half-million Arabs. "Even the operational order for war issued on June 4, 1967 -- which clearly defined the mission of capturing the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip -- made no mention of the need to establish a military government." 21 As a result, confusion reigned and improvisation took over. Gazit shows in fascinating detail how practices evolved out of a combination of the 1956 experience of ruling the Gaza Strip, 22 the attitudes of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, and exigencies of the moment. An example of the last: anger at the Jordanians for having placed a urinal against the Western Wall seems to have led to the clearing of a large plaza near the Wall, quite contrary to international law. 41-2 Gazit shows that the principal guidelines of Israeli rule "were established and consolidated during the first three months after the Six-Day War." 2 These included such profoundly consequential decisions as the annexation of Jerusalem, the "open bridges" policy toward Jordan, and the permission for Israelis to settle in the captured areas.
Gazit provides an extremely informative account by drawing both on his personal experience and in-depth research on the evolution of Israeli rule. Few books offer so much original information on the shaping of the current Arab-Israeli conflict.