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The Palestinian People: A History

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Overview

In a timely reminder of how the past informs the present, Baruch Kimmerling and Joel Migdal offer an authoritative account of the history of the Palestinian people from their modern origins to the Oslo peace process and beyond.

Palestinians struggled to create themselves as a people from the first revolt of the Arabs in Palestine in 1834 through the British Mandate to the impact of Zionism and the founding of Israel. Their relationship with the Jewish people and the State of Israel has been fundamental in shaping that identity, and today Palestinians find themselves again at a critical juncture. In the 1990s cornerstones for peace were laid for eventual Palestinian-Israeli coexistence, including mutual acceptance, the renunciation of violence as a permanent strategy, and the establishment for the first time of Palestinian self-government. But the dawn of the twenty-first century saw a reversion to unmitigated hatred and mutual demonization. By mid-2002 the brutal violence of the Intifada had crippled Palestine's fledgling political institutions and threatened the fragile social cohesion painstakingly constructed after 1967. Kimmerling and Migdal unravel what went right--and what went wrong--in the Oslo peace process, and what lessons we can draw about the forces that help to shape a people. The authors present a balanced, insightful, and sobering look at the realities of creating peace in the Middle East.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs

A fine general history of the Palestinians now usefully updated with a history of the decade after Oslo.
— L. Carl Brown

Magill's Literary Annual

This new history updates [Baruch Kimmerling's and Joel S. Midgdal's] 1993 book, Palestinians: The Making of a People, with two new analyses, one judging the effect of the Oslo peace talks and another focusing on the difficult situation of the Palestinians in Israel…In their preface, the authors immediate reject both the common claim by Palestinians that their history as a "singular people" reaches back to ancient times and the Israeli denial of any such entity before it was created by Zionist successes. Instead a "self-identified Palestinian people" evolved only in the last two centuries, as a result of European economic and political pressures and of Jewish settlement…An excellent chronology and full notes enhance a book that deserves the widest possible readership.
— Frank Day

Rashid Khalidi
This remarkable book recounts how the Palestinians came to be constituted as a people. The authors offer perceptive observations on the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the successes and failures of the Oslo process, and the prospects for both Palestinians and Israelis of achieving a peaceful future together. A dispassionate and balanced analysis that provides essential background for understanding the complexities of the Middle East.
Foreign Affairs - L. Carl Brown
A fine general history of the Palestinians now usefully updated with a history of the decade after Oslo.
Magill's Literary Annual - Frank Day
This new history updates [Baruch Kimmerling's and Joel S. Midgdal's] 1993 book, Palestinians: The Making of a People, with two new analyses, one judging the effect of the Oslo peace talks and another focusing on the difficult situation of the Palestinians in Israel…In their preface, the authors immediate reject both the common claim by Palestinians that their history as a "singular people" reaches back to ancient times and the Israeli denial of any such entity before it was created by Zionist successes. Instead a "self-identified Palestinian people" evolved only in the last two centuries, as a result of European economic and political pressures and of Jewish settlement…An excellent chronology and full notes enhance a book that deserves the widest possible readership.
Foreign Affairs
This is an expanded edition of Palestinians: The Making of a People, which appeared in 1993. That book told the story of a people who, in their long confrontation with Zionism and Israel, became a nation. It covered 1834 to 1993 — the year of the Oslo accords, which seemed to augur an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. This new edition, adding just over a hundred pages, traces the descent from Oslo to the violence that has raged since September 2000. One chapter, on "what went right" with the Oslo process, offers a needed reminder of the substantial trajectory toward peace that Oslo set in motion. The following chapter, on "what went wrong," shows how Oslo's promise was undermined not so much by the actions of any one side as by the incremental missteps or misdeeds of both in almost equal measure. A fine general history of the Palestinians now usefully updated with a history of the decade after Oslo.
Library Journal
Established scholars who have written extensively on the Middle East and Arab-Israeli issues, Kimmerling (George S. Wise Professor of Sociology, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) and Migdal (international studies, Univ. of Washington) here offer a timely and comprehensive history of the Palestinian people. They trace the history of the Palestinian Arabs and their struggle for self-determination from the first Arab revolt in Palestine in 1834 to the recent intifada, detailing all the emergence of Palestinian nationalism and analyzing intra-Palestinian divisions. The authors also describe Palestinian-Israeli relations, the causes and consequences of the failed peacemaking efforts, and the dilemma of Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are dually marginalized. Also providing a useful chronological list of major events in Palestinian history, this balanced and well-researched book is highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674011298
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 2/5/2003
  • Series: Simultaneous Editions Series
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 995,862
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Baruch Kimmerling was George S. Wise Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Toronto.

Joel S. Migdal is Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies, University of Washington.

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Table of Contents

Maps

Preface

Acknowledgments

Note on Transliteration

Introduction

PART ONE FROM REVOLT TO REVOLT:THE ENCOUNTER WITH THE EUROPEAN WORLD AND ZIONISM

1. The Revolt of 1834 and the Making of Modern Palestine

2. The City: Between Nablus and Jaffa

3. Jerusalem: Notables and Nationalism

4. The Arab Revolt, 1936-1939

PART TWO DISPERSAL

5. The Meaning of Disaster

PART THREE RECONSTITUTING THE PALESTINIAN NATION

6. Odd Man Out: Arabs in Israel

7. Dispersal, 1948-1967

8. The Feday: Rebirth and Resistance

9. Steering a Path under Occupation

PART FOUR ABORTIVE RECONCILIATION

10. The Oslo Process: What Went Right?

11. The Oslo Process: What Went Wrong?

Conclusion

Chronological List of Major Events

Notes

Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2004

    A very useful history of the Palestinian people

    The Israeli historian Baruch Kimmerling and the American historian Joel Migdal have written an excellent study of the development of Palestinian society, economy and national identity over the last two centuries. Part 1 looks at the development from the 1834 revolt against the Ottoman empire, the start of modern Palestine, to the 1936-39 revolt against the British ruling class, who decimated Palestinian institutions, to Zionism¿s benefit. It shows how the Europe-dominated world market, Zionism and government intervention framed the Palestinian nation. Part 2 examines the dispersal of 1948. Part 3 looks at how the Palestinian nation was reborn in resistance against occupation, up to the 1987 Intifada. Part 4 studies the Oslo peace agreement of 1993, negotiated away from the Washington talks. Large majorities of both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples backed Oslo. The left, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the diaspora, conspicuously Edward Said, opposed it - all put the right of return above every other consideration. Oslo negotiated a two-state settlement - two states for two peoples. It involved explicit acceptance of each other¿s existence, and mutual acceptance of the idea of partition, with agreed borders between the two states. Both sides renounced violence, and committed themselves to cooperation, negotiation and peaceful coexistence. Its gains included Israeli withdrawal from the urban areas of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and the first establishment of Palestinian self-government. Yet between 1993 and 2000 successive Israeli governments undermined the agreement by doubling the numbers of settlers in the West Bank. For the future, the authors conclude, ¿Neither people can achieve peace without fulfilling some of the most deeply held the aspirations of the other.¿ Israel will have to make concessions on settlements, the refugees¿ right of return, a capital city in Jerusalem, and Palestinian control over sufficient water resources. It must end the brutal, illegal occupation, and - the key issue ¿ it must accept a sovereign Palestinian state. The alternative is that both sides strive for maximalist goals involving mutual denial, which will lead only to their mutual destruction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2003

    Balanced historical perspective

    Detailed context, excellent historical maps, very helpful 'Chronological List of Major Events', thorough and extensive endnotes. An essential work that will assist readers to come to their own informed decisions about this pivotal problem in the Middle East that affects so many other problems in the area.

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