Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas

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Overview

With its "fly-on-the-Wall vantage of the rising diplomatic panic that sent shudders through world capitals" [Toronto Star], Kill Khalid is a masterpiece of investigative journalism and the definitive chronicle of the Middle East in the 1990s.

In 1997, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad poisoned Hamas leader Khalid Mishal in broad daylight on the streets of Amman, Jordan. As the little-known Palestinian leader slipped into a coma, the Mossad agents' escape was bungled and the...

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Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas

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Overview

With its "fly-on-the-Wall vantage of the rising diplomatic panic that sent shudders through world capitals" [Toronto Star], Kill Khalid is a masterpiece of investigative journalism and the definitive chronicle of the Middle East in the 1990s.

In 1997, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad poisoned Hamas leader Khalid Mishal in broad daylight on the streets of Amman, Jordan. As the little-known Palestinian leader slipped into a coma, the Mossad agents' escape was bungled and the episode quickly spiraled into a diplomatic crisis. A series of high-stakes negotiations followed that ultimately saved Mishal and set the stage for his phenomenal political ascendancy to his current position as chairman of Hamas.

In Kill Khalid, acclaimed reporter Paul McGeough reconstructs the history of Hamas through exclusive interviews with key players across the Middle East and in Washington, including unprecedented access to Mishal himself, who remains to this day one of the most powerful and enigmatic figures in the region. McGeough tracks Hamas's political fortunes across a decade of suicide bombings, political infighting and increasing public support, culminating in the battle for Gaza in 2007 and the current political stalemate.

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Editorial Reviews

Greg Myre
In Kill Khalid, Australian journalist Paul McGeough uses the botched assassination as the jumping-off point for a timely and thorough examination of Hamas, highlighting the ways in which Israel has intentionally and unintentionally aided its rise…Far too many earnest, lumbering books on the Middle East propose recycled versions of the path to peace. McGeough doesn't offer a solution to the conflict. But he provides a highly instructive account of how Hamas emerged as a potent force and why its faithful honor Mishal as the "martyr who did not die."
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

McGeough (Manhattan to Baghdad) offers a meticulously researched, if in places excessively detailed treatment of Palestinian political history. Based on interviews conducted with key players and Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, the narrative focuses on the attempted assassination in 1997 of Mishal by Mossad, the Israeli secret service, and examines how the bungled poisoning catalyzed Hamas-previously marginalized and labeled a terrorist group-to rise to power. The brazen attempt on Mishal's life in broad daylight while he was taking his sons for a haircut in Amman, Jordan, galvanized the movement; Mishal became a household name in the Middle East and Hamas members called him "the martyr who did not die." By 2004, Hamas's refusal to abandon the use of suicide bombers turned international opinion against the organization, but by this time even Jimmy Carter had visited Mishal, and Arafat's PLO had been pushed aside as the sole representative of the Palestinian cause. This is the definitive chronicle of the Middle East crisis during the Clinton years and in the post-9/11 era. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Despite the title, Israel's disastrously botched 1997 attempt to murder a key Hamas leader plays a minor role in this gripping and discouraging history. Readers will receive one of many jolts as Sydney Morning Herald chief correspondent McGeough (Manhattan to Baghdad, 2003, etc.) reveals that America and Israel welcomed Islamic fundamentalism to the occupied territories during the 1960s and '70s, pleased that these pious Muslims despised Yassar Arafat and his secular Palestine Liberation Organization. Khalid Mishal was 11 when his devout family fled to Kuwait after the Israeli conquest of the West Bank in 1967. Brilliant in school, he taught at Kuwait University from 1978 to 1984 while leading members of the Islamic Association of Palestinian Students in often violent clashes against students who supported the PLO. He was involved with Hamas from its founding in 1987, and by 1991, when he moved to Jordan, he was one of the organization's leaders. Hamas soon launched a murderous campaign of suicide bombings, which led to a equally murderous Israeli response, including the assassination of Hamas leaders. After 30 years of denouncing Arafat as a terrorist, American leaders hoped he would lead the patchy new Palestinian state, but it was too late. While the PLO was largely a guerrilla organization, Hamas spent 20 years providing clinics, schools and food to Palestinian civilians, social services that brought their reward in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections. Outraged that voters had chosen the wrong people, America cut off aid, thereby falling in line with Israel's policy of encouraging Palestinians to seek peace by making them as miserable as possible. A journalistictour-de-force, and a sobering reminder of how little has been achieved during 60 years of Israeli efforts in Palestine.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595583253
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 3/10/2009
  • Pages: 477
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Paul McGeough is the chief correspondent and a former editor of Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald and the author of three books on the Middle East. He has twice been named Australian Journalist of the Year and in 2002 was awarded the Johns Hopkins University–based SAIS Novartis prize for excellence in international journalism. He lives in Sydney, Australia.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Who's Who xi

1 The Tourists 1

2 Village of the Sheikhs 4

3 The Tap Dancer from Amman 17

4 The Education of a Terrorist 30

5 "Have You Guys Lost Your Minds?" 40

6 Arafat's Circus 49

7 The Palestinian Project 61

8 The Bearded Engineer in a New York Cell 78

9 Violence Is the Only Weapon 95

10 A Little Obscurity Is Good 110

11 "They Used a Bizarre Instrument" 129

12 Mishal Must Not Die 144

13 "Who the Hell Is Khalid Mishal?" 161

14 Pulling a Rabbit from the King's Threadbare Hat 178

15 The Price Bibi Paid 196

16 The Legendary Image of Mossad 215

17 Brother Against Brother 230

18 Handcuffed and Deported 247

19 Dead Men Walking 267

20 Follow the Money 294

21 Government from the Trenches 312

22 "No Gold Bars Left" 336

23 Everything Is Not as It Seems 349

24 An Eye for an Eye 365

25 Taking the Holy Land to Court 383

26 The Man Who Wouldn't Die 396

Epilogue 415

Chronology 419

Notes 425

Index 457

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Considering the subject, could've been a much better book

    I read a lot about the Israeli-Arab history, and was looking forward for a book about this interesting incident ( actually, it briefly covers the whole biography of Kh. M. and Hamas). This work certainly is very informative and has a lot of little-known material. However : first, it is too dry and tedi...mmm...scholarly for a general reader such as me ( even though I have a reasonable basic knowledge of the region and conflict ). It certainly isn't a page-turning thriller for anyone on vacation. Second, to author's credit , he tries to keep "just-the-facts" approach. ( it's obvious that his sympathies mostly are not on Israel's side). Nevertheless, the book still leaves you with the feeling that another side of the narrative is left out - even though there is a lot of interesting in the side of the story which IS told. Finally, it appears that the author made his goal to achieve an impossible : write a 470 p. book about Kh. M. while avoiding at all cost the use of word "terrorist!" Probably , more out of BBC-style polit-correctness than out of support of Hamas - but come on, this is ridiculous!! The perpetrators of "Achille Lauro" atrocity are delightfully called "merciless gunmen"!? What would you say about the book on the great whites without a single word "shark" in it?----------------------------------------------- I grade the books as Buy and Keep (BK), Read Library book and Return ( RLR) and Once I Put it Down I Couldn't Pick it Up ( OIPD-ICPU). Sorry, but this one was a total OIPD-ICPU for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    Kill Khalid Review

    This is a good read overall, providing a detailed view of the inner workings of Hamas and the conflict in the Middle East. However, it is very skewed in favor of Hamas and against Israel. Sometimes it provides a "rosy" view of Hamas. Nonetheless, I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2011

    Thought Provoking

    Mr. McGeough spins an eye-opening account of recent history that is well worth the read. The inclusion of the chronology in the back is very helpful in keeping the historical timeline in mind as the chapters do not necessarily flow consecutively. Many already believe we are seeing events unfolding that have been predicted 2,000 years ago, hence the oft repeated description of things being "apocalyptic". But seeing and reading actual history is far more believable and thought provoking about the hand of The God of the Bible in life than the 'science fiction' books and movies we are so bombarded and intellectually numbed with. For the most part Mr. McGeough has written an objective record, though it is in need of more discretion in certain detailed dialogue. Cutting vulgarity from a manuscript does not in any way cheapen an author's work, it rather increases an author's respectability, sensitivity, and trustworthiness.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2009

    THE BEST BOOK ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST I'VE EVER READ

    This is the best book on the Israeli-Palestinian situation that I have ever read (and I've read many of them). The author focuses on the history of Hamas, and tells it in a way that clarifies the role of all nations/factions in the region (Israel, the PLO, Fatah, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, and others). We're introduced to the leaders of these entities, as well as to U.S. presidents, and shown how they have driven the ongoing drama in the region. The author is an Australian journalist who has been studying the region for decades, and has met and interviewed all the players. The result is an objective, compelling page-turner. I cannot recommend it more highly. I bought the book simply to learn about Hamas, but I now find myself with a much greater understanding of the entire region.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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