Israelis and Palestinians: Why Do They Fight? Can They Stop? / Edition 3

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Israelis and Palestinians offers a startlingly new interpretation of the historical and contemporary realities of the conflict in the Middle East. Bernard Wasserstein challenges the conventional view of the struggle as driven primarily by irrational ethnic and religious hatreds. Instead he focuses on largely neglected forces -- including population, fertility rates, labor, and environmental pressures -- that have shaped politics in the region over the past century and which will inevitably determine its future. Wasserstein argues that Israelis and Palestinians live today in "Siamese twin societies"; however much they may wish to, neither side can escape the impinging presence and influence of the other. Demographic, economic, and social imperatives are driving Israelis and Palestinians toward mutual accommodation. At a time of diplomatic impasse and escalating bloodshed, Wasserstein offers a realistic and persuasive basis for optimism.
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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Newcomers more interested in scholarship than celebrity would do well to consider the historian Bernard Wasserstein's fine overview, Israelis and Palestinians: Why Do They Fight? Can They Stop?Warren Bass
Publishers Weekly
As of this fall a professor of history at the University of Chicago, Wasserstein (Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City) finds that, despite reports to the contrary, "neither Jews nor Arabs, in their collective behaviour, are animated by crazed psychopathy. They fight over definable interests, motivated by comprehensible value-systems, in pursuit of identifiable goals." Both, Wasserstein argues, are focused on "population, land, work, security, and dignity," and the bulk of the book is devoted to clearly and substantively laying out the specifics. And with good reason, since each nationalism "is now near the end of its tether." BOMC, History Book Club, Military Book Club selections. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
Wasserstein systematically examines the demographic, socioeconomic, environmental, and territorial dimensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In doing so, he deftly debunks the myths and misrepresentations held by both sides and shows that, over time, changes in these areas may create the objective conditions for a negotiated settlement. Demographic reality, for example, will force Israel to realize that in order to maintain a Jewish majority, it will have to accept a return to its pre-1967 borders. The Palestinians, meanwhile, must realize that although they can press Israel to withdraw from territories taken in 1967, they cannot realistically do more. With 9 figures, 21 maps, and an integrated chronology, Wasserstein's readable text is a solid primer on Israelis and Palestinians for experts and neophytes, characterized by a hardheaded realism that is fair to both sides.
From the Publisher
“In this short and elegant essay, [Wasserstein] slips in a good deal of history. . . . In his view, Israelis and Palestinians are fighting for definable interests and identifiable goals. Yet neither of them is paying proper attention to larger developments which are outside their control but are nonetheless impelling the outcome of events towards a happy ending. . . . This essay’s aspiration for peace is genuine. The rationality of the arguments is impressive.”—David Pryce-Jones, Sunday Times (London)

"If a philosopher-king could solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bernard Wasserstein, professor of history at Glasgow University and old Middle East hand, would get my vote. His latest tract, reasoned and balanced, makes a compelling case that demographic, socio-economic, environmental and territorial imperatives must eventually bring Israelis and Palestinians to a peaceful resolution."—Eric Silver, Jewish Chronicle

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300137644
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,408,677
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Wasserstein is professor of history at the University of Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Preface to Third Edition

List of Figures

List of Maps


1 People 5

2 Society 31

3 Environment 73

4 Territory 99

5 Dynamics of Political Change 139

Chronology 179

Notes 195

Select Bibliography 211

Index 219

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