Book Review - The Hundred Years' War On Palestine

The Hundred Years’ War On Palestine

Why I Picked This Book?

My quest to know more about the Israel – Palestine conflict is the main reason to go for this book. I have read couple of books on Palestine which tells about the life in Palestine and current situation there. I wanted to know more about it from the historical perspective to get a deeper understanding of the problems people of Palestine are facing since years.

The Book

Rashid Khalidi takes you through the history of Palestine through the various wars which was forced upon Palestine over the course of 100 years. As you move along you gain a clear insight about the ongoing Israel – Palestine and when did it start and why did it start. 

At the heart of it, it is a result of the Zionist movement started by  Theodor Herzel, where he explicitly calls for a Jewish state. Khalidi talks about a letter of his great, great grandfather to a French rabbi to be given to the founder of modern Zionism. The letter states that Jews have been living in Palestine for years and historically it is their country and are our cousins. However in the present scenario Palestine is an integral part of Ottoman empire and it was a pure mistake on part of the Zionist leaders to take over Palestine as it is inhabited by other people as well. He ends the letter with a plea asking , “in the name of God, let Palestine be left alone”. This was in 1890s. 

(One need to understand in brief about Zionism and Zionist movement in order to have a better understanding of what the Israel- Palestine Conflict is all about)

Palestine was not left alone. Around the time of world war 2, the Arabs revolted against the Ottoman empire and were promised freedom by the British if the do so. But the British betrayed the Arabs and the region was divided among British and French colonizers. In 1917 came Belafour declaration by the British which was termed as the declaration of  war against the indigenous people of Palestine. In 1948, the country of Israel came into being, before that in the year 1947, Israel waged a war against Palestine and mascaraed  the local Palestinian, burning villages after villages and forcing people to flee. 

The author walks you though the six days war in 1967, the UN agreement, the first  and second Intifada, the political and military movement in Palestine. The PLO, Fatah, Hamas and their roles in the liberation movement. It will give you an insight how with the help of US, Israel keeps on occupying more and more of Palestine. One will get to know how the life in occupation feels like, how people of Gaza strip and West Bank are virtually living in open air prison. How Israel virtually controls everything in Gaza. And how that is a constant  cause of conflict between the two which many times leads to war. 

The  book also captures the present on the ground situation of Palestine. The history of Palestine told through the various wars it was forced upon and the struggle of Palestinian people for their homeland. Also the apathy of the world powers as they completely ignore the people of Palestine. A fine tribute to the Palestinian people and their quest for a just and dignified life in their own homeland.

 About the Author

Rashid Khalidi is the author of Palestinian Identity, Brokers of Deceit, and The Iron Cage, among others. His writing has appeared in the New York TimesBoston GlobeLos Angeles TimesChicago Tribune, and many other journals. He is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University in New York and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies

Our Verdict

An interesting, insightful, educative read for anyone who  wants to know about the Israel – Palestine conflict. A must read for history buffs.

To get your own copy click on the link below.

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