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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge Middle East Studies) [Hardcover]

Benny Morris
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Dec 2003 Cambridge Middle East Studies (Book 18)
Benny Morris' The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem was published in 1988. Its startling revelations about how and why 700,000 Palestinians left their homes and became refugees during the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 undermined traditional interpretations as to whether they left voluntarily or were expelled as part of a systematic plan. This 2004 book represents a revised edition of the earlier work, compiled on the basis of newly-opened Israeli military archives. While the focus remains the 1948 war and the analysis of the Palestinian exodus, the new material contains more information about what happened in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa, and how events there led to the collapse of Palestinian urban society. It also sheds light on the battles and atrocities that resulted in the disintegration of rural communities. The story is a harrowing one. The refugees now number four million and their existence remains a major obstacle to peace.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (11 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521811201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521811200
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 17 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,092,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'The book is thorough, shocking, and based upon the highest standard of historical research.' Journal of Peace Research

'When published in 1988, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem was the first serious history of one of the central issues behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A revised edition following the opening up of Israeli state archives for the period, examines in greater detail the actual events behind the flight of Palestinians from Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa.' Jewish Chronicle

Review of the first edition '… The most comprehensive and detailed study yet published on the Palestinian refugees.' The Economist

Review of the first edition 'This excellent myth-debunking book … deserves a wide readership among those who want to understand what has happened in Israel over the last 40 years rather than repeat discredited propaganda which serves only to prolong the war.' The Spectator

Review of the first edition 'Mr Morris … is a rare combination of journalist and painstaking research historian, whose thorough use of Israeli, British and American archives - many of the materials unavailable until now - has enabled him to present a definitive history of his subject.' The New York Times Book Review

Book Description

In a revised 2004 edition of Morris' earlier work, which explored the realities behind the Palestinian exodus of 1948, fresh material considers battles, expulsions and atrocities that contributed to the disintegration of Palestinian communities. The story is harrowing. Refugees now number four million - their cause remains a major obstacle to peace.

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First Sentence
Modern Zionism began with the prophetic-programmatic writings of Moses Hess, Judah Alkalai, Zvi Hirsch Kalischer and Theodor Herzl and the immigration from Russia to Ottoman-ruled Palestine in the 1880s of Jews dedicated to rebuilding a national home for the Jewish people on their ancient land, the Land of Israel, in Zionist parlance. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
the reviews of 'Danny the Arabian' hits the mark, but i will add just a few additional remarks. While, Benny Morris maintains the was no systematic plan to expel all the Palestinians, he does acknowledge some villages were razed and Palestinians expelled, while other villages left intact and others fled in fear after hearing about Deir Yassin. However, Morris tries to attribute some of these atrocities to 'rogue elements' and responses to 'Arab attacks' that he claims were not dictated policy from the top. A major criticism of Benny Morris is his sole reliance upon Israeli archive sources, in the last few years he has publicly justified this by claiming oral testimonies are unreliable. As such, he tends to take Israeli archives at face value, and in this sense 'Jewish studies' remains light years behind other areas of serious historical enquiry.

Would we accept only German archives to document the Holocaust and deny the importance of oral testimonies from survivors? i hope not, granted there are little or no official 'Arab' - that is Palestinian documents available, but oral testimonies from Palestinians have been increasingly documented and should be used to cross reference Israeli state archives, to gain a fuller picture of events.

see for example, Susan Slymovic 'the object of memory' and Ahmad H. Sa'di & Lila Abu-Lughod (eds) 'Nakba: Palestine, 1948 and the claims of memory'
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The canonical text on the refugee issue 1 April 2008
Format:Paperback
Benny Morris is pretty much the only researcher to have bothered with the primary documentation on this issue. If you read pretty much every single other work - either serious or otherwise - you will see that the source is inevitably Morris's work. Even Pappe, Massalha and Finkelstein who attack Morris's thesis, in the very, very few sources they give for their contentions rely on a [distorted] Morris. As usual with history it is best to go to the source.

Morris presents a number of issues for propagandists of both sides. As is normal with history, there is no black and white and there is even more complexity in the Palestinian issue than in other wars due to the multilateral aspect of the war. Morris certainly DOES NOT accept Finkelstein and Massalha's thesis on transfer - anyone who has read this and other works by Morris will know he goes to great and unnecessary lengths to disprove what they say. Morris also reminds the reader that there was a brutal war going on, a war the Arabs launched and ultimately lost. Morris also DOES NOT shrink from calling a massacre a massacre but also does not shrink from calling a battle a battle. He also deals with the issue of Tantura - the "massacre" Pappe has been showcasing for years, a "massacre" where the people - Palestinian and Israeli - interviewed on tape deny happened, the tape of the interviews the researcher claimed demonstrated massacres "disappeared", where none of the contemporaneous documentation shows happened - the natives of the village complain about looting but not nearly a quarter of their village being "massacred" - a "survivor" has written a book denying the "massacre" ever happened and there are no missing people who could have been "massacred". Oh and the researcher who "discovered" it admitted he made it up.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Zionist trash 7 Jun 2014
By Zero
Format:Paperback
A foundation for an urealistic understanding of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Morris paints a poor picture of the war that lead to Israel's birth as well as the Palestinian problem. He has a bit of incorrect commentary too.
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