At a time when the Middle East has come closer to achieving peace than ever before, eminent Israeli historian Benny Morris explodes the myths cherished by both sides to present an epic history of Zionist-Arab relations over the past 120 years.
Tracing the roots of political Zionism back to the pogroms of Russia and the Dreyfus Affair, Morris describes the gradual influx of Jewish settlers into Palestine and the impact they had on the Arab population. Following the Holocaust, the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948 resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel, but it also shattered Palestinian Arab society and gave rise to a massive refugee problem. Morris offers distinctive accounts of each of the subsequent Israeli-Arab wars and details the sporadic peace efforts in between, culminating in the peace process initiated by the Rabin Government. In a new afterword to the Vintage edition, he examines Ehud Barak’s leadership, the death of President Assad of Syria, and Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, and the recent renewed conflict with the Palestinians. Studded with illuminating portraits of the major protagonists, Righteous Victims provides an authoritative record of the middle east and its continuing struggle toward peace.
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Making sense of any particular episode in the long and convoluted conflict between Arabs and Israelis can seem a Sisyphean task--engineering peace in the Middle East has become nearly clichéd in its complexity, with each individual dispute traceable back to years of anger, mistrust, and mutual misunderstanding fueled by cycles of violence and revenge. To add to this confusion, the historical record has been colored by "emphatic partisanship by commentators and historians from both sides, as well as by foreign observers," adds Middle East historian Benny Morris. So what Morris has undertaken in this volume--an inclusive, dispassionate, and rigorous history of the conflict, from Zionism's birth in the wake of the Russian pogroms through to the uncertain prospects for peace in 1999--is no mean feat.
A calm, balanced voice (although a controversial one among some who fear revisionism), Morris has previously proven his scholarship with such definitive titles as Israel's Border Wars and The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Righteous Victims likewise doesn't waver in its task, methodically unearthing the political and military roots of the struggle, from early friction between Zionist "colonizers" and native Arabs slowly through to the establishment of Israel and the bloody wars and terrorism that followed. --Paul HughesFrom the Back Cover:
“The most sophisticated and nuanced account of the Zionist-Arab conflict.”– The New York Times Book Review
“A very rich account.... Defies sweeping generalizations about the conflict and facile attribution of moral responsibility to any one side.”– Foreign Affairs
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