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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

Feb. 1 2001 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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
5 of 5 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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2 of 2 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
Of all the books I have read on the subject, this book is the best researched and factual account of the history of Palastine and the problems arising from the return of the Jewish people to their homeland. This book is "must" reading for all those who are genuinely interested in an unbiased account of the historical facts. The author has spent many years and much effort in bringing an unbiased view of the true story of the Israeli-Palastinian "problem".
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1 of 1 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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1 of 1 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An understated case Oct. 9 2001
Peters spent 7 years searching Arab, United Nations, League of Nations, British, French, Israeli, Turkish and Ottoman and other records. This book, with more than 1,800 citations, should be required reading for every Middle East reporter.
Peters shows that for 70 years before Israel's independence, there was considerable Arab immigration INTO Palestine--a history confirmed among others by Arieh Avneri's pre-Peters book, Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land Settlement and the Arabs 1878-1948. This began in 1878, when Jewish settlers joined tens of thousands of Jews whose families lived in Palestine for two millennia after it was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD.
She shows at length that while Palestine was later conquered by a long parade of others--including Muslims, Crusaders, Saracens, and finally the Ottoman Empire--none ever drove the Jews out completely.
Peters provides documentation by many non-Jewish 19th century travelers, including Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad) and French and British envoys, of a desolate Palestine, whose small population included long-established Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Safed, Nablus, Jericho and other towns. In the 1870s, Jewish settlers from the Middle East and Europe began joining their co-religionists in Palestine. Arab immigration increased as Jewish development raised economic conditions far above those of neighboring Arab countries. Jewish farmers bought land at above-market prices from absentee effendi landlords in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, employing both Arabs and Jews. Arabs also came for jobs in the government and building the railroads, roads and Haifa port.
Peters also notes a long history of Arab aggression against Israel, and before that, Jews.
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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 20 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Demographic history of Mandatory Palestine and Israel
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. Read more
Published on July 16 2006 by Pieter Uys
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
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