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Friday, 09 May 2008

Book of the Week

OnepalesBy Michael Savage

As the state of Israel celebrated it's 60th birthday this week, there was no shortage of media coverage on the issue. The Independent's main writing on the subject is here. But for anyone not familiar with the history of the birth of Israel, the conflict in the subsequent decades can be impossible to penetrate. And with feelings running high on both sides, it can be an intimidating subject to approach.

For anyone in that situation who wants to take the first tentative steps towards understanding the most intractable conflict on earth, I would recommend One Palestine, complete, by the extraordinarily good Tom Segev.

In the strong passions that the conflict creates, it is impossible to please all sides, or write an account that everyone feels at least comfortable with. But the fact that Segev has been criticised on both sides for his views in the book suggest that it may be as even-handed as accounts of the conflict's history come. Needless to say the British don't come out of it well - Segev finds, in typically subtle fashion, that the British came to a pro-Zionist position borne out of an anti-Semitic attitude.

Segev's opinions on other topics concerning the "situation" (as Israelis refer to it as), which often appear in the Haaretz newspaper, are almost always worth a read. As is his interpretation of the six day war (he believes that the early successes for Israel sparked a sense of Utopian excitement in its military leaders, causing them to seek ever greater gains).

Any other suggestions? What book would you recommend to someone who wanted an introduction to the Middle East conflict?


For a thorough overview of this conflict it would be difficult to beat American scholar and lawyer Alan Dershowitz and his 'The Case for Israel'(John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2003)
ISBN code: 0-471-46502-X


Johan Berger Esq.

good luck to the palistinians/israelis/lebanese/syrians/jordanians/iraquis/iranians/arabs in general as they continue to sort out whose land is whose, who governs what & whom & by what authority, whether outside forces will ever allow them individually & collectively to address their problems let alone resolve them to their satisfaction rather than that of the outside power/s. GOOD LUCK!

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