From the Publisher
"More than just a thriller with endnotes. The author’s accumulated contacts over the years have given him rare access to most of the individuals at the centre of the Hamas story." —The Times Literary Supplement
"An incisive insider’s history about one of the world’s most intractable conflicts—and a ripping yarn to boot." —Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker
"Suspense-filled." —Vanity Fair
"McGeough’s work reminds us what real journalism looks like. " —Firedoglake.com
"[A] riveting account of Israel’s botched poisoning of Mishal." —Library Journal
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
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.
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.