“What is so striking about Morris’s work as a historian is that it does not flatter anyone’s prejudices, least of all his own,” David Remnick remarked in a New Yorker article that coincided with the publication of Benny Morris’s 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. With the same commitment to objectivity that has consistently characterized his approach, Morris now turns his attention to the present-day legacy of the events of 1948 and the concrete options for the future of Palestine and Israel.
The book scrutinizes the history of the goals of the Palestinian national movement and the Zionist movement, then considers the various one- and two-state proposals made by different streams within the two movements. It also looks at the willingness or unwillingness of each movement to find an accommodation based on compromise. Morris assesses the viability and practicality of proposed solutions in the light of complicated and acrimonious realities. Throughout his groundbreaking career, Morris has reshaped understanding of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Here, once again, he arrives at a new way of thinking about the discord, injecting a ray of hope in a region where it is most sorely needed.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Benny Morris is professor of history, Middle East Studies Department, Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He has published many previous books as an author and editor, among them Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001; The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited; and Making Israel. He lives in Israel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Benny Morris initially gained fame for his honest research and publication of facts about the 1937-49 war. Somewhere around the year 2000, Mr. Morris was "converted" to a hardline Zionist philosophy, which he espouses here under the cloak of his previous objectivity. This book is definite NOT an accurate accounting of the Israel/Palestine situation. Although his historical timelines are relatively correct, his editorializing makes this book impossible to reference as informative. He starts off by dismissing Palestinian Christians as "negligible and politically irrelevant". This provides his basis for connecting Palstinians with every racist bigotry against both Muslims and Arabs everywhere in the World. At one point, he even states that Israelis cannot be safe because "Arab behavior" in Somalia is typical of all Arabs. He continually refers to Palestinians as "Palestinian Arabs" to emphasize that he has no respect for a Palestinian identity. He credits Israel alone with any success in negotiations over the past year, and blames Palestinians for any failures. He quotes respected Palestinian historians, then calls their writings "mendacious" and "hogwash". All of the above provides justification to his "final solution" , which is to give Jordan a chunk of the West Bank and shuffle all Palestinians off for absorption into the rest of the Arab world. Mr. Morris attempts to mollify this with a proposal for some kind of shared governance between the Palestinian National Congress and Jordan, although he admits it is impossible. The best one-word description for this book is the same word Mr. Morris applies to Rashid Khalidi's writings: "mendacious". For a much more accurate accounting, I recommend Rabbi Michael Lerner's book: "Healing Israel/Palestine".
Let's hope that the heavily documented book One State, Two States by Benny Morris, will put, once and for all, an end to the un-human idea to corral Jews and Arabs into a confined space between Mediterranean sea and Jordan river. The initiative of "one state for two peoples" solution proposed several years ago by British historian Tony Judd and picked up by some Palestinian activists and Israeli lefties surprised many by the sheer impracticality of it and cruelty toward both peoples. The much more logical one-state solution is to re-unite Palestinians and Jordan into one country as it existed before the Six Days War of 1967. The ethnic and cultural differences between the Arabs from the West Bank (Palestinians) and East Bank (Jordanians) are non-existent, save the tribal tensions between them. But such tensions are common to the entire Arab world and should not prevent coalescing of Arabs with Arabs. The "greater" Jordan would be a much less Chimera-state than Iraq or Lebanon. The idea of Palestino-Jordanian state was briefly discussed in the last few pages of the book. Let us hope that Benny Morris, or other sober minded historian will continue to develop the only reasonable solution for the Arab-Palestinian problem.