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Under The Cover Of War

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    Incredibly insightful and well written

    This book is a real eye opener about how Israel was founded by dispossessing the Palestinians of their land. It's time for Israel to face its responsibility for creating the Palestinian refugees and move toward reconciliation and peace. The role played by the British and the United Nations in the outbreak of the 1948 Palestine war was also surprising. An excellent read!

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  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What Really Happened in '48.

    Under the Cover of War

    By Rosemarie M. Esber, Arabicus Books, 2008, hardcover, 439 pp. List: $29.99; AET: $27.

    Reviewed by Jamal Najjab

    Last year was the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe. It has been more than half a century since 400,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes and land, on which the state of Israel was created. The majority of those Palestinians who were eyewitnesses to what occurred in 1948 are now gone. Those still among us are in the twilight of their lives.

    Fortunately for us, and for history, Dr. Rosemarie M. Esber has collected more than 130 oral testimonies of Palestinians who experienced the horror of being driven from their homeland by Zionist forces. She has presented her findings in her new book, Under the Cover of War: The Zionist Expulsion of the Palestinians.

    In Dr. Esber's opinion, the Palestinians' perspective of what occurred in 1948 is key to fully grasping the foundation of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Palestinian oral accounts and narratives are essential not only for a comprehensive detailed factual account of this period," she writes, "but also from a moral perspective to understand historical events from all sides."

    Along with the oral testimonies she has compiled, Esber refers to British, U.S. and U.N. archival records to clearly show that the Zionist military organizations used systematic, deliberate violence and threats toward the Arab civilian population in an effort to remove them from the land that would become the Jewish state.

    Dr. Esber provides in great detail the history of the conflict leading up to May of 1948. As a result, the reader not only is made aware of the atrocities that took place in major Palestinian towns and cities such as Jaffa, but also in the smaller surrounding villages. Among the latter, of course, is Deir Yasin. As word spread among the Palestinians of the senseless killing of the village's men, women and children, as well the terrorism perpetrated in places like Nasr al-Din, Tiberias and Haifa, fear of rape and murder became an effective tool in eliminating the indigenous population, which in turn became the root of the Palestinian refugee problem. Esber found that 84 percent of those Palestinians removed by the Zionists forces during the conflict comprised children under 15, pregnant girls and women, nursing women, people over 60 years of age, as well as the infirm.

    All the while the British Mandate and its forces maintained a "hands-off policy" to ensure their troops were not in harm's way. This created a power vacuum, giving the Zionist forces a free hand to frighten and intimidate the Palestinians into leaving. or perish," was the message to all the Palestinians in those areas the Zionists had mapped out for their people. "In doing so they [the British] ensured the destruction of Palestinian society," Esber reports.

    In Under the Cover of War, Esber goes a step further by comparing and contrasting the findings of "the new Israeli historians." Esber quotes one of them, Avi Shlaim, as remarking, "the 'new' histories questioning official Zionist and Israeli history are not new at all. Palestinian, Arab, Israeli and Western writers had advanced many of the arguments central to the new histories long ago, but their work received little attention."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009


    This book explains the roots of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in great detail and it is shocking to learn about the The Palestinian refugee stories. I was dissappointed to learn that the conflict has cost US taxpayers an estimated 3 trillion since World War II.

    I would highly recommend you read this book to get the complete picture of this conflict!

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  • Posted November 21, 2008

    An eye-openeing and often untold story

    It finally makes sense - This book explains why the Palestinians have been fighting for so long. If more people understood the history of the conflict they would see that the only solution to it is to give Palestinians their independence and sovereignty. The Israelis got a country in 1948 - don't you think it is time the Palestinians got one too?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2008

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