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The Palestine-Israeli Conflict: A Beginner's Guide (Oneworld Beginners' Guides) Paperback – 28 May 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (28 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851682619
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851682614
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,221,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

Of all the intractable and inflammatory world conflicts, those of the Middle East must rank fairly high. Cohn-Sherbok and El-Alami's Palestine-Israeli Conflict: a Beginner's Guide must be equally highly ranked as one of the best introductory guides to the issue. Author of a number of key titles on Judaism and Jewish issues, Dan Cohn-Sherbok uses the first half of the Beginner's Guide to give an overview, from his perspective, of the modern history of Israel/Palestine. Immediately the reader, through the unique dialogic format of this excellent title, is reminded that all history is a matter of perspective, not least in the Middle East when the name of the very country under discussion cannot be agreed upon. Cohn-Sherbok is a clear, unfussy writer. He explains the growth of Zionism through the late 19th century until its "victory" in the creation of a Jewish National Home called Israel in 1947 and then details the wars that have dogged the Jewish state since its inception.

Dawoud El-Alami then takes over and reviews the same period as his colleague but from the perspective of a Palestinian. From the legally questionable British Balfour Declaration of 1917 up until the first Intifada (1984-1992) and 1993's Oslo Peace Accords (so forcefully critiqued by Edward Said in his recent book The End of the Peace Process) and beyond. El-Alami describes the Palestinian struggles with the first Jewish settlers and then the State of Israel herself, the creation of the PLO and the troubled relationship with the rest of the Arab world.

The book ends with further debate between the two writers in response to each other's contributions. It would be idealistic to expect all the answers from such a book and the two writers certainly do not end the book on some forced, unrealistic meeting of minds. But the intrigued reader will learn from both sides and the publishers are to be congratulated for presenting such a difficult topic in such an eminently useful format.--Mark Thwaite

Review

"A very interesting ooportunity for the reader to appreciate both sides of a comples issue. A must for anybody interested in understanding the conflict in the Middle East." George Joffe, Director of Studies, Royal Institute for International Affairs, London

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
As opposed to most studies of contemporary international problems, this book offers a genuinely two-sided argument; Rabbi Cohn-Sherbok and Dr El-ALami are not merely academics exploring a particular issue, they are passionately involved in their subject, and if nothing else, the concluding debate illustrates that the current crisis in the Middle East is unlikely to be settled in the near, or even the distant, future.
Written as a "beginner's guide" the book is nonetheless worth reading for scholars, students, and laypeople and anyone else with an interest in trying to understand why there is constant coverage from the Middle East on news broadcasts.
With a view of making the reader make his or her own mind up about the arguments, the authors explore a number of historical events that have led to the present situation from their own particular viewpoint. The investigations are clear and well-structured and whilst the book is easily read during a day, it is nonetheless a book to come back to again and again for reference.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bob from Beds on 15 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I looked forward to reading this book as it is described as a "beginners' guide" (what I need) and has the format of an Israeli view, an Palestinian view, and a short debate.

I found it a bit disappointing, maybe I was expecting too much.

Both authors start their accounts in the mid 19th century (no mention of anything before this apart from a brief mention of 137 AD right at the end). The "facts" of the last 150 years are more or less agreed by the two authors, the interpretation not at all. The Israeli version is stuffed with dates, attacks, reprisals, meetings on an almost day by day basis: it is sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees. The Palestinian version perhaps gives a better overview.

Both authors agree that the total population of Palestine was about 600,000 in the 19th century so this was not an empty country by any means.

The role of the British is far from honorable, but to be fair they probably drew the short straw by inheriting responsibility at the end of the Ottoman empire.

The short debate shows little common ground and no grounds for optimism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mehmet Agop Bakkaloglu on 23 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback
I like the idea of the book. We first listen to pro-Israel Cohn-Sherbok and then to pro-Palestine El-Alami. The pro-Israel part of the book explains the history as you can find it anywhere on the Internet -- hence made me think the book was rather dull. The pro-Palestine part, however, captured me because it also explains the shortcomings of Palestinians. Plus it gives useful pieces of information such as why Turks were initially not sympathetic to Palestinians.

In the third part of the book, the debate, the pro-Israel guy tries way too hard to justify the moral right for Israel to exist by referring to anti-Jewish history in Europe, such as the Holocaust. To point out anti-Israeli sentiment he quotes from Bin Ladin. He suggests that a new Palestine should be created by carving out land from neighbouring countries -- for goodness' sake which planet does Cohn-Sherbok live on?

In his part of the debate, El-Alami in an academic way tells Cohn-Sherbok that he is being ridiculous.

Overall, the book was worth reading for El-Alami's sensible views.
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By Nannette on 15 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was recommended to me as a review of both sides so typically an unbiased point of view, really enjoying the read and the information supplied!
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Oct 2002
Format: Paperback
Being someone who's never understood the reasons for the conflict but seen it on the news nearly every day i thought this book would give a good background to the conflict. But don't be misled there's 200 pages full of facts, names , dates, numbers on casulties, costs and much more which can be become over bearing and it's easy to lost your place. There's two maps provided which miss half the places in the text. On the good side the information presented is pretty concise and i've learnt a great deal of the history of the region. Might try to find or write myself a Dummies guide to palestine - israeli conflict.
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