The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited

Cambridge Middle East Studies

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

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 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.
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About the author

Benny Morris is Professor of History in the Middle East Studies Department, Ben-Gurion University. He is an outspoken commentator on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and is one of Israel's premier revisionist historians. His publications include Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–1999 (2001), and Israel's Border Wars, 1949–56 (1997).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Jan 5, 2004
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Pages
640
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ISBN
9781139449465
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / General
History / Middle East / General
History / Military / World War I
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
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This content is DRM protected.
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first comprehensive account of the epoch-making Six-Day War, from the author of Ally—now featuring a fiftieth-anniversary retrospective
 
Though it lasted for only six tense days in June, the 1967 Arab-Israeli war never really ended. Every crisis that has ripped through this region in the ensuing decades, from the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to the ongoing intifada, is a direct consequence of those six days of fighting.

Writing with a novelist’s command of narrative and a historian’s grasp of fact and motive, Michael B. Oren reconstructs both the lightning-fast action on the battlefields and the political shocks that electrified the world. Extraordinary personalities—Moshe Dayan and Gamal Abdul Nasser, Lyndon Johnson and Alexei Kosygin—rose and toppled from power as a result of this war; borders were redrawn; daring strategies brilliantly succeeded or disastrously failed in a matter of hours. And the balance of power changed—in the Middle East and in the world. A towering work of history and an enthralling human narrative, Six Days of War is the most important book on the Middle East conflict to appear in a generation.

Praise for Six Days of War

“Powerful . . . A highly readable, even gripping account of the 1967 conflict . . . [Oren] has woven a seamless narrative out of a staggering variety of diplomatic and military strands.”—The New York Times

“With a remarkably assured style, Oren elucidates nearly every aspect of the conflict. . . . Oren’s [book] will remain the authoritative chronicle of the war. His achievement as a writer and a historian is awesome.”—The Atlantic Monthly

“This is not only the best book so far written on the six-day war, it is likely to remain the best.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Phenomenal . . . breathtaking history . . . a profoundly talented writer. . . .
This book is not only one of the best books on this critical episode in Middle East history; it’s one of the best-written books I’ve read this year, in any genre.”—The Jerusalem Post

“[In] Michael Oren’s richly detailed and lucid account, the familiar story is thrilling once again. . . . What makes this book important is the breadth and depth of the research.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A first-rate new account of the conflict.”—The Washington Post

“The definitive history of the Six-Day War . . . [Oren’s] narrative is precise but written with great literary flair. In no one else’s study is there more understanding or more surprise.”—Martin Peretz, Publisher, The New Republic

“Compelling, perhaps even vital, reading.”—San Jose Mercury News
Righteous Victims, by the noted historian Benny Morris, is a comprehensive and
objective history of the long battle between Arabs and Jews for possession of a land they both call home. It appears at a most timely juncture, as the bloody and protracted struggle seems at last to be headed for resolution.

With great clarity of vision, Professor Morris finds the roots of this conflict in the deep religious, ethnic, and political differences between the Zionist immigrants and the native Arab population of Palestine. He describes the gradual influx of Jewish settlers, which was eventually fiercely resisted by the Arabs during the decades of  British Mandatory government following World War I.

The establishment of the State of Israel in 1947 - 48 gave the Jews a homeland in the wake of the Holocaust, but the ensuing flight of the Palestinian Arabs shattered their society and led to the birth of a festering refugee problem. Morris describes these epic events and the Arab onslaught that followed, as he does each of the subsequent wars (in 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982 - 85); the Intifada of 1987 - 91, when the Palestinian populace of the West Bank and Gaza Strip rebelled against Israeli rule; and the rise of fundamentalist religious movements on both sides of the barricades. Tracing the successes and failures of politicians, generals, and diplomats in both camps, he regards their actions and plight with accuracy and empathy, drawing on archival materials, memoirs, and secondary works to give a vivid account of each major military encounter--and of the vicissitudes of peace efforts from the post-1948 negotiations through the Camp David (1977 - 79), Oslo (1993 - 95), and Wye River Plantation (1998) accords. Mr. Morris offers sharply etched portraits and illuminating anecdotes about the charismatic leaders who have been the chief protagonists of this contentious history, including Theodor Herzl, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, David Ben-Gurion, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin, to name only a few.

Righteous Victims ends with Mr. Morris's analysis of the current state of play, when the election of Ehud Barak as prime minister (May 1999) has opened the door to a renewal of negotiations between Israel and its Palestinian and Syrian neighbors. As the denizens of the Middle East set out to write the next chapter in this long and difficult struggle, Righteous Victims is essential reading: a monumental work of narration and explication for all who seek to understand the history of the conflict and the prospects for peace.
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