Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict constitutes a comprehensive and detailed account of the events preceding and following from the formation of the state of Israel and the intercommunal tensions that define these events. I am not sure that I would recommend Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict to anyone apart from history students, but after reading the book, I at least feel more confident that I can base my opinions on facts as well as feelings.
Smith is the best reference for anyone who desires to explore and understand the details of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The book starts with a quick chapter that summarizes the story of Palestine from the days of the ancient Jewish Kingdoms, until the 19th century. The book then moves to explaining in great detail the story of the Jewish people, the Palestinian people and Palestine from the 19th century until 2006.
Smith does not takes sides, he presents the information like a history book should.
It may not be the only book you should read on the topic, but it is, without a doubt, definitely one of the books that ought to be read.
This book tested that as few others have.
It was great to finally finish this book that I have been "currently reading" for 8 months now.
The following excerpts were written using the Smith book as a primary source: Churchill White Letter - July 1, 1922 The Churchill White Paper was designed to ease tensions in Palestine, especially since the area had fallen under British protectorate, which were increasing due to demographic shifts on the ground and interpretations of the meaning of the Balfour Declaration favoring the establishment of a Jewish National in Palestine1. Churchills policy statement tries to clarify the Zionist position, whether falsely or unwittingly, on Palestine by reiterating claims on the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, only this statement can be clearly seen as false or misleading in retrospect to the establishment and expansion of the modern nation-state of Israel. 3. Two of the most notable elements of Churchills White Letter are the Zionist claim that a Jewish National Home rests upon ancient historical connection and the issue of Jewish immigration in 1922, which would be seen again in the British policy letter of 1939 4. Second, even though the Churchill White Letter appears to offer reassurances of equality in Palestine, the support for the pro-Zionist immigration issue is sleekly placed within the statement that the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration 5. What this position actually admits is that the century long Zionist efforts at establishing a national, or nation-state, home for Jews was about to be accomplished, with or without approval, and thereafter strengthened by the influx of international capital into the newly created government. The political insanity of this historical decision is that the partition is justified on the Zionist side by a claim that Jewish people once ruled the land of Israel, which is based off an authorless ancient text written over 2300 years ago accompanied with the misconception that the modern Jewish population is the direct blood ancestry of the Hebrew Tribes and the Kingdom of Judah (a kingdom which assimilated and converted many gentile subjects). The Commission report admits that the British Government made promises to Arabs and Jews in order to obtain their support during World War II 8. The Arabs were never able to be on equal economic footing with Jewish immigrants and absentee land owners die to the international capital of the Zionist network, which means Arab Palestinians were never on an equal level technologically or militarily with Jewish immigrants. The Peel Commission Report notes the rise in nationalism on both sides, but history shows that Zionism was originated on national sentiments and nationalistic goals while the growth of Arab nationalism in Palestine was primarily political, though the fear of economic subjection to the Jews is also in Arab minds11. Today, it is no different as international capital, secured by political and private sectors means, continues to flow across state borders and ensure that the nation-state of Israel maintains its military hegemony in the region. The strongest pro-Zionist statement in the Peel Report states that there is a strong British tradition of friendship with the Jewish people and that nowhere outside of Britain is there a more genuine desire to do what can be done to help, and nowhere was Zionism better understood before the war or given such practical proofs of sympathy12. First and foremost, especially under the realization of the Peel Commission Report that a population partition was the only solution for Palestine, the British government desired to maintain stability for economic purposes in Palestine and among neighboring Arab states. In analyzing the policy letter of 1939, it appears that the internationally preoccupied British government still viewed the possibility of an economically prosperous independent Palestinian state, shared between Arabs and Jews, as a viable outcome. The British government, for the first time, recognized the ambiguities of the mandate and the Balfour Declaration on issues such as Jewish immigration, the accumulation of land by Jewish immigrants and absentee owners, and shifting demographics coupled with nationalistic sentiments in Palestine, and reactively attempted to implement restrictions to maintain stability. The British policy letter set a five year window for Jewish immigration to raise the Jewish population in Palestine to one third of the Arab-Palestinian population, which is noteworthy because the approximate numbers put forth in the Peel Commission Report had placed the population ratio at approximately 29% Jewish in 1937. The 1939 policy letter also addressed the mass land acquisition by Jewish immigrants and absentee Zionist land owners in acknowledging that no restriction has been imposed hitherto on the transfer of land from Arabs to Jews15. The British government understood the problem of Jewish land accumulation, generated by international Zionist capital, and that in some areas such transfers of land must be restricted if Arab cultivators are to maintain their existing standard of life and a considerable landless population is not soon to be created16. The argument from the modern Zionist and pro-Israeli views that there was not a Palestine until after the beginning of the British protectorate has been long increasing in utilization and volume, yet we read contrary to this argument from the speech by the father of political Zionism himself. While the man seemed to feel strongly concerning the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people, especially those in Europe who were assimilating into the various Christian gentile states at the end of the 19th century, his disregard for the native population who already occupied the Palestinian land, and other colonized lands, seems naïve in his statement What is a state? Interestingly, as in any negotiation of wording, the Zionist draft states that His Majestys Government would use its best endeavors to secure the achievement of this object, which was the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish People4. In the final draft of the declaration, a protection for non-Jewish people was added under the statement that with the promise of British support that it be understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities 6, This obvious commitment of respect was obviously thrown to the side after the establishment and international capital-military strengthening of the nation-state of Israel, and nowhere is the example of this blatant disregard more evident than the 1967 offensive and the modern illegal settlement building that is occurring today. A true leader who cared for the national interests of his people (instead of being bought) should have recognized that the native Palestinian population did not have the capital or technology to compete with this foreign influx of both international capital and technology, and would eventually become bought out, closed out, owned, and at the political whim of new masters.
According to the results of the thesis, this book is the first most adopted textbook in the area of Israel/Palestine history in western universities.
ISBN: 9781319028053 I own the 7th and 8th editions of this book. The politics of Israel and Palestine have such a massive bearing on the lack of peace in the world yet what we read in the mainstream media is so partial: partial in that it is so biased towards Israel and partial in that largely we are only given facts that support the biased view. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict / Charles D. I've put in a request for my local library to buy the 9th edition! ---------------------------------------- "Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict" (7th ed.) by Charles D Smith.