Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East / Edition 3

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More than a decade before Israel's New Historians revolutionized the study of Israeli history, English journalist David Hirst wrote The Gun and the Olive Branch, a classic, myth-breaking general history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hirst, former Middle East correspondent of the Guardian, traces the origins of the terrible conflict back to the 1880s to show how Arab violence, although often cruel and fanatical, is a response to the challenge of repeated aggression. The Gun and the Olive Branch is an absorbing, potentially controversial, history of the Middle Eastern conflict that is indispensable to anyone with an interest in world politics and by partisans of both sides. This classic and controversial account of the origins of the Middle East conflict returns to print updated with a lengthy introduction that reflects on the course of recent Middle Eastern history—especially the abortive Israeli-Palestinian peace process and 9/11.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560254836
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 4/10/2003
  • Series: Nation Books
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 627
  • Sales rank: 987,968
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.64 (d)

Table of Contents

Author's Note
Foreword to the Third Edition 1
The Ravages of a Purblind Orthodoxy 3
Arafat's Historic Peace Offer 17
Israel and the 'Friends of Israel' in America 37
No End of American Partisanship 61
The Seeds of Conflict, 1882-1920 137
No Peace in Zion, 1921-1935 168
The Arab Rebellion, 1935-1939 198
Gun Zionism 232
Special Uses of Violence 271
The Arab-Fighters 297
Greater Israel 332
The Arab Zionists 385
The Gun and the Olive Branch 417
Peace with Egypt 470
The Rape of the West Bank 496
The Invasion of Lebanon 529
Epilogue 580
Index 589
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2006


    Truly amazing that such a biased, slanted and bigoted book should see the light of day. I was looking for some actual facts and insight on this issue, and instead found an ignorant, preconditioned polemic. Not helpful at all, if you're looking for unbiased (truly even-handed) historical fact. Don't waste your money!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2005

    Superb study of Zionism's disastrous effect on the Palestinian people

    This is a superb history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from its origins in the Zionist dreams of the 1880s to the present. When this classic was first published in 1977, it was met with abuse and silence because it opposed the Zionist orthodoxy and showed how the Israeli state was set up as a typical colonial enterprise, harsh and unjust in its impact on the inhabitants of the land it colonised. The second edition of 1984 added three new chapters, this third edition has a new foreword of 131 pages bringing the book up to date. Chapters cover: the seeds of conflict 1882-1920, no peace in Zion 1921-1935, Arab rebellion 1935-1939, Gun Zionism (driving out the British and the Arabs), the special uses of violence, the Arab-fighters, Greater Israel, the Arab Zionists, the gun and the olive branch, peace with Egypt, the rape of the West Bank, the invasion of Lebanon, the ravages of a purblind orthodoxy, Arafat¿s historic peace offer, Israel and the `friends of Israel¿ in America, no end of American partisanship. Hirst analyses the Oslo peace process, the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the effect of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, the intifadas, the power of the Israel lobby ¿ Jewish and Christian fundamentalist ¿ in the USA, and Sharon, who believes that the ¿idea of making peace with the Palestinians is absurd.¿ Palestinians, like Iraqis, oppose the hated, illegal occupations of their countries. Israel and the USA claim that there is no connection between their occupation and the national resistance. Israel, and the US support for it, is the main reason why people hate the USA. Israel is a strategic, political and economic liability. The US¿s aggressive policies in the Middle East have cost it more than $1500 billion, more than the war against Vietnam. So US workers do not get `cheap oil¿: they pay two to five times more per barrel than the benchmark price of Saudi crude, because they pay billions in taxes to cover the military, political and technical costs of the US¿s aggressive policies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2004

    Exposes Israeli Human Rights Abuses Against the Palestinians

    The Gun and the Olive Branch is one of the most outstanding and important works of non-fiction ever written. Hirst's book is an invaluable contribution to an area of study too often deliberately muddied and confused by Israeli apologists intent on obfuscation. He presents an honest scholarly look into the Middle East conflict beginning when Jews essentially started to migrate to Palestine during the late 19th Century. This latest updated edition covers events through the recent Palestinian Intifada and the 2001 September 11th attacks against the United States. Hirst does a fabulous job in demolishing three often heard myths: Myth number 1.) Palestine was 'a land without a people, waiting for a people without a land.' Myth number 2.) Palestinians fled their country on the orders of Arab leaders. Myth number 3.) Jewish soldiers committed no willful attrocities. Of course Palestinians fled because of the deliberate terror, violence and massacres perpetrated against them by Jewish militias (Irgun, Stern). In fact Herzl, one of Israel's founding fathers, openly admitted that immigration (Jewish) into an already populated country (Palestine) would soon turn the natives against the newcomers. As Hirst points out: the proponents of a Jewish state were the original aggressors in the Middle East; Arab violence was an inevitable reaction to theirs. The Gun and the Olive Branch gives a poignant analysis of the 1948 War documenting how the Jewish community was never in danger of annihilation and that Israel was the true aggressor and instigator, both in 1948 and in the 1967 Six Day War, the remnants of which are obviously still being felt. Hirst fills the book with fascinating pieces of information detailing how Palestinian suicide bombings come in the service of what the world regards as a legitimate purpose - ending Israel's illegal occupation. Also he broaches the topic of Israel's nuclear weapons and how Noam Chomsky, in his excellent work The Fateful Triangle, argues that the real target of Israel's nuclear arsenal is the United States. It puts America in a 'do what we say and give us what we want, or else' quandary. This latest edition, put out by the publishing house of the fantastic Nation magazine, is updated giving the reader a glimpse into activities the Israeli soldiers are involved in currently. According to Hirst's incredibly well sourced book Israeli occupation authorities have been rampaging through Palestinian agencies of health, education or agriculture - destroying computers and important files, ransacking businesses and banks looting public buildings and defecating and urinating on floors, carpets, children's paintings, in drawers and flowerpots; and also of course they have busied themselves killing scores of innocent Palestinian civilians. This is the United States tax dollar at work given that America subsidizes Israel to the tune of approximately $4 billion annually! Hirst astutely points out that during this most recent Palestinian uprising - CBS, ABC, and NBC aired 99 reports covering Gaza and the West Bank, but in only four out of the 99 reports were viewers informed that Gaza and the West Bank are Israeli occupied territories. The Gun and the Olive Branch goes on to document how myriad journalists privately admit they fear the retribution of pro-Israeli publishers and editors and generally understand that critical words about Israel can be hazardous to careers. This is the definitive account of the entire history of the Israeli Palestinian conflict and is probably the most crucial non-fiction book of the last sixty years. It should be studied by every American citizen since only the United States can save the Zionists from themselves. Given the potentially cataclysmic consequences a knowledgeable citizenry may be our only hope. Hirst's marvelous book goes as far as possible in advancing this cause.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2004

    Better than I wanted it to be

    Prior to reading the book, my perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict was that, although the current government in Israel is extremist, Israel has been more sinned against than sinner. I was prepared to read the Hirst book with an open mind, but I expected bias and flaws in the logic. I was disturbed by the book because I found it logical, fair-minded and very well-documented. Hirst is forthright about his perspective and sympathies, but he doesn't scew the facts to fit his thesis. He does, however, make a persuasive argument. The book changed my thinking, and the new intorduction is excellent, especially the discussion of U.S. policy. I recommend reading it straight through, and then re-reading the introduction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2003

    Historical panorama of Israeli-Palestinian Struggle well documented/researched~!

    Having spent the better part of 2 YEARS trying to locate a used copy of this book, any edition back to 1977 and finding only 3 copies, all for more than $285 each...I was overjoyed when told that it was in the midst of being updated with a new 50,000 word introduction which brings readers to the 'latest' Iraq war and the bizarre association of Falwell, Robertson, Reed, Bauer and the like with Sharonists to what end? As we sit on the cataclysmic chasm of Occupation, Resistence, Transfer/ethnic cleansing, and absent neutral brokers for mediation/resolution for Palestinian soverignty and ending the settlements in West Bank and Gaza, most Americans scratch their heads with essentially no real comprehension as to where this struggle comes from nor what exactly started it. Americans have been programmed to believe that ALL Palestinians are terrorists and all Israelis are the good guys.But this simplistic and stereotypical bologna is finely pulverized ---Hirst largely used Israeli archives and news reports and completely dispells the myths and falsehoods which have become the accepted norm. This is a MUST help you deprogram the bias...Emminently readable, fascinating and forthright.

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