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From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine [Paperback]

Joan Peters
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1993 0963624202 978-0963624208
This monumental and fascinating book, the product of seven years of original research, will forever change the terms of the debate about the conflicting claims of the Arabs and the Jews in the Middle East.

The weight of the comprehensive evidence found and brilliantly analyzed by historian and journalist Joan Peters answers many crucial questions, among them: Why are the Arab refugees from Israel seen in a different light from all the other, far more numerous peoples who were displaced after World War II? Why, indeed, are they seen differently from the Jewish refugees who were forced, in 1948 and after, to leave the Arab countries to find a haven in Israel? Who, in fact, are the Arabs who were living within the borders of present-day Israel, and where did they come from?

Joan Peters's highly readable and moving development of the answers to these and related questions will appear startling, even to those on both sides of the argument who have considered themselves to be in command of the facts. On the basis of a definitive weight of hitherto unexamined population and other historical data, much of it buried in untouched archives, Peters demonstrates that Jews did not displace Arabs in Palestine-just the reverse: Arabs displaced Jews; that a hidden but major Arab migration and immigration took place into areas settled by Jews in pre-Israel Palestine; that a substantial number of the Arab refugees called Palestinians in reality had foreign roots; that for every Arab refugee who left Israel in 1948, there was a Jewish refugee who fled or was expelled from his Arab birthplace at the same time-today's much discussed Sephardic majority in Israel is in fact composed mainly of these Arab-born Jewish refugees or their offspring; that Britain, the Mandatory power, winked at and even encouraged Arab immigration into Palestine between the two World Wars; that by disguising the Arab immigrants as "indigenous native Palestinian Arabs," the British justified their restrictions on Jewish immigration and settlement, dooming masses of European Jews to destruction in the Nazi camps.

Joan Peters also unfolds a historical record to shatter the widely held belief that Arabs and Jews harmoniously coexisted for centuries in the Arab world-the fact is that the Jews, along with other non-Muslims, were second-class citizens, oppressed in the Muslim world for more than a millennium. And this continuing prejudicial tradition of hostility underlies, as well, every Arab action toward the state of Israel.

In addition to her pioneering archival researches, Joan Peters has frequently traveled in the Middle East, conducting numerous interviews and gathering the personal observations of the first-rate reporter she is. The result is a book that has already had a major impact on policy discussions of one of the most vital and intractable of the world's problems, shrouded until now in a fog of misinformation and ignorance.

Distributed exclusively by Jonathan David Publishers.

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"...will change the mind of our generation. If understood, it could also affect the history of the future." -- New Republic

"A remarkable document in itself. . . . The refugees are not the problem but the excuse." -- Washington Post Book World

"Contains much valuable information...deserving the attention of anyone seriously concerned with the Palestinian problem." -- S.D. Goitein, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"This book is a historical event in itself..." -- Barbara Tuchman

About the Author

Joan Peters has written and lectured widely on the Middle East, Central America, and the Soviet Union. She has contributed to Harper's, Commentary, The New Republic, The New Leader, and other periodicals, and has served as White House consultant on the Middle East.

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It was not until this book was well under way that I reluctantly confronted the historical factors underlying the "Palestinian problem." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive resource Dec 12 2002
Exhaustively researched and footnoted, Peters' book explodes numerous myths about the Middle East, past and present. Those facts about the Arab-Jewish conflict that "everyone knows?" Most of them are false.
Although thorough to a fault, the book is far from a chore to read. It's as hard to put down as some good novels, actually. And for those seeking more, the lengthy footnotes and bibliography provide an enormous wealth of resources.
Truly, you don't know enough about the conflict, which rages to this day, until you've read this book. It's that essential.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book!, Oct. 21 2003
By A Customer
There is fascinating research and original source material here that the author uncovered during several years of research. She claims to have changed her mind after looking into the issue. I believe her. To read this book is to be flooded with an avalanche of facts. Almost 100 pages of footnotes. And the realization that many of those debating the issue of Israel, the Palestinians, and the West Bank ignore much of history. The first casualty of any war is the truth, but the truth is that this book is worth reading for the viewpoint and hard work of the author in bringing some little-known facts to light. I have yet to see a similarly inspired work from the other side - and I've been looking...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Every effort has been made to discredit this book, by the usual suspects. But the criticism does not disprove the substance of the central thesis of the book. Despite the work's minor flaws, the facts uncovered by the author are unassailable. True, her polemical excursions are sometimes harsh and the book would have benefited from better editing. But ultimately the flaws are mainly of a literary nature.

From Time Immemorial remains a brilliant refutation of media myths and public pereceptions, thoroughly documented and based on verifiable facts provided in almost 200 pages of documentation based on eyewitness reports by historians, scholars, journalists and writers like Mark Twain, interviews with Arabs and Jews, reports in the British archives and official records of the Ottoman Empire. Her discovery that there was massive Arab immigration to the area west of the River Jordan during the period in question still stands.

The book succeeds in dispelling the smog of lies that was created by ideologues and propagandists. Revealed here is the real picture of the demographic history of Israel/Jordan/Palestine. According to the evidence, the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean was desolate and thinly populated in the latter half of the 19th century.

With the arrival of Jewish immigrants from Europe, opportunities were created that attracted people from East of the Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya, amongst others. The population increase was due to immigration more than natural population growth. Arab numbers grew in direct proportion to the Jewish presence as jobs were created.

Those Arabs that fled in 1948 were Returnees rather than Refugees.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Though Peters is ruthlessly partisan in her selection of source material, she raises incredibly important questions about the often overlooked issues of Arab in-migration during the British Mandate and rather than merely limiting the focus to just Palestinian refugees, she widens the view to all refugees in the twentieth century and demonstrates that for very political reasons the Arabs of Palestine who were refugees after the 1948 War of Independence were not handled in the same way that nearly every other group was, namely resettlement and assimilation.
Her work has some flaws, to be sure, but nearly every book on this subject that attempts thoughtful analysis is going to suffer to some extent from the author's personal bias. What is remarkable is that she started the book very clearly on one side of the issue and, after her research, she had come a full 180 degrees to the opposite perspective.
I rate it highly because it asks questions no one seems to be addressing and points out facts and observations that no one seems to be talking about....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist History Revised Nov. 15 2001
Joan Peters has dealt with a topic that many would prefer to ignore...namely "truth". Lies , when told time and time again, appear to be true; but they only APPEAR to be true. Deep down, beneath all the rhetoric, truth can be found if one really searches for it. Ms Peters has done just that. She has dug deep to discover the truth concerning the major issues in the Arab - Israel conflict. Ironically, she set out to bring the Israelis to justice "for their dispicable treatment of the Palestinian refugees" and discovered /learned that this was nothing more than a major "smokescreen" hiding a much greater issue. Her documentation is thorough and one can only wonder why the information, the facts, that she, and so many others have uncovered, are not in circulation in today's political spectrum. Could it be that the world does not want to know the truth? If you are looking for facts, regarding the Arab - Israel conflict, this is the best book out there. However, it may have an adverse effect upon you. You just might find yourself becoming very upset while watching the evening news' coverage of what is taking place in Israel. The media bias is obvious.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars review Book "From time Immemorial"
The book "From time Immemorial" by Joan Peters is a very insight evalation of the Middle East conflict. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Sidney Zeldenrust
5.0 out of 5 stars From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over...
This well-documented book is an eye-opener for anyone who is only familiar with the second half of the 20th century of Middle East conflict history. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2011 by Dr Eric A Saibil
5.0 out of 5 stars very informative
many details normally unknown to most who argue their views in the ME conflict. a lot to learn and to understand about Israel's history and past demography.
Published on April 27 2011 by Noki Lavie
5.0 out of 5 stars Demographic history of the Levant
A sustained effort has been made to discredit this revealing work, by the usual suspects. But the criticism cannot disprove the facts or substance of the central thesis of the... Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2009 by Pieter Uys
1.0 out of 5 stars Une supercherie raciste, a racist hoax
Ce livre est truffé de citations et de faits hors de leurs contextes que Norman Finkelstein a scrupuleusement décortiqué en détail dans un chapitre de... Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2007 by Kiwi
1.0 out of 5 stars From Time Immemorial has been debunked by reputable scholars
Even Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who lifted passages of Peters's book in his "The Case for Israel," no longer attempts to defend this book. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2005 by Matthew
5.0 out of 5 stars An instructive book
This is a rather tame book about the Arab war against Israel. But it does serve to show why many Arabs and Jews are at odds not only with each other, and not only with their... Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2004 by Jill Malter
1.0 out of 5 stars This was proven to be a hoax!
It's so disheartening to see so many five-star reviews, but certainly understandable. This book was lauded in the American press as a major historical event and a beacon of... Read more
Published on June 30 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was DISCREDITED nearly 20 years ago!
I'm shocked to find this book even listed! No historian gives it any credibility. England, Israel, the United States... Read more
Published on June 28 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous, but not balanced research.
Facts, Facts, Facts. If facts on the arab-israeli conflict is what you are up to now, go for it.
The case for Israel is not an easy one, and I liked very much the book. Read more
Published on June 5 2004 by Alex Gurovich Jeifetz
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