Palestine Betrayed Paperback – Apr 26 2011
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"'Ephraim Karsh's Palestine Betrayed tells in rich detail the story of the fall of the British Mandate and the rise of Israel, going a long way towards doing justice to the history at hand.' (Seth Frantzman, Jerusalem Post) 'A thoroughly researched, sound historical account of the struggles that ensued between the Jewish and Arab communities when the British decided to leave Palestine.' (Sol Schindler, Washington Times)"
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In my own opinion this authoritative, timely and well written study is destined to become a classic in relation to this contentious subject. Those who have already embraced the revisionist history of the 'new historians' will probably want to give it a miss as the detail and depth of this work tends to blow their case completely out of the water.
Citing many documents which have been declassified over the past decade, both the Arab and Jewish perspectives of this conflict are addressed from the very start. The political/diplomatic manoeuvering of many prominent individuals on both sides and in the international arena are all given due reference.
Recent declassification of millions of documents from the era surrounding the British Mandate are shown to have been ignored or distorted by the 'new historians' in order to paint a picture that the author claims 'is completely at odds with the anti Israel caricature that is so often the order of the day'.
This compelling investigation makes it clear to the reader that Israel is being robbed of its political, historic and geographic legitimacy, whilst being made to appear to rob the Palestinians of the nation it never had.
At the outset the author draws attention to the differing positions of the then Jewish and Arab leadership leading up to the 1947 UN resolution calling for the partition of 'Palestine' into two independent states - Arab and Jewish - plus the internationalisation of Jerusalem.
From the easily readable text the reader can assess how the Jewish leadership openly accepted the detailed UN plans for parition while the Arab side utterly rejected any such plan and showed that compliance with any UN resolution was of no consequence as they declared all out war with the declared intention of eradicating the reborn Jewish state. Full quotes and detailed references from both sides are provided for the reader's attention.
The book reveals in no uncertain terms that if the Palestinian Arabs and the neighbouring Arab states had accepted the UN resolution there would have been no war and no dislocation of a single Arab refugee. The simple reason being that the Zionist movement was amenable to the co-existence with the Palestinian Arabs and a 2 state solution even at that time. The Arab world choosing to instead wage a war of annihilation.
Citing how such reality was to become erased form public memory by decades of relentless pro-Arab propaganda, the writer clarifies that it is to reclaim this and other historical truths that this book has been written.
A whole plethora of issues are addressed including those of a Zionist and Pan Arab perspective covering many decades prior to, and culminating in, the above. The role of the British and the Mandate is studied in some detail revealing much of the alleged British appeasement of the Arab world and it's 'White Paper' restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine while Jews were fleeing the persecution and slaughter within Europe during the rule of Hitler. References revealing how, while Jews were severely restricted and hampering from entering their ancient homeland, no such restrictions were placed upon Arabs entering/settling in 'Palestine' from their neighbouring Arab states.
Having studied the Balfour Declaration one aspect of alleged British appeasement of the Arab world that also receives attention is the British severing of a vast percentage of 'Palestine' east of the Jordan River from the prospective Jewish homeland to create the new Arab nation of Transjordan under the newly appointed Arab leadership of Emir Abdullah ibn Hussein.
Even what remained of 'Palestine' being targeted for division with the 'Palestinian' Arabs. Quotes and references showing that pan-Arabism viewed the 'Palestinians' not as a distinct people deserving statehood but as 'an integral part of a single Arab nation' which was bound by the common ties of language and religion etc.. The Jewish homeland eventually constituing less than 11 per cent of what was originally hoped for. The study's contents reiterating that even this was too much for the Arab world which rejected 'parition' and declared war to obtain it all.
Indeed from the historic details provided the reader is left with the unassailable deduction that the Arab grievance is not with the borders of Israel but with its very existence. Referring to the 'peace process' of the present day the book claims that, despite their vastly different personalities and political modus operandi, Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas are "warp and woof of the same fabric". Both being shown from the text to be PLO veterans who have never "eschewed their commitment to Israel's destruction".
While many believe that the reason for the continuous state of war between Israel and the Arabs is because Israel is allegedly 'occupying Arab land' the study shows how through endless repetition, the engraving upon people's minds of this line of political propaganda has deceived the populace from the fundamental truths behind this conflict. It clearly being shown that the Arabs were making war against Israel even when the Arabs held the land and that is how they came to lose it in the first place.
Individual readers must make up their own minds upon the many aspects of this investigation, some aspects of which may be seen as controversial by some. However, I have no hesitation to recommending this work to anyone remotely interested in the Middle East conflicts.
Of course, I do not have the background or the time to dig into the details myself. I can marvel at the references but I have no way to get them all and read them for myself. So if someone else says this book is merely pro-Israeli propoganda, I have no foolproof way of showing that it is not. The case the book makes is generally consistent with what I have found myself in my limited readings. But, of course, those have been selective. All I can say is that the book's statement have the "ring of truth" to my ear. But it would be interesting to hear what specialists in this area might say. I am sure that some would disagree with many of his conclusions.
Those whose agenda precedes their interest in the truth will find a way to brush off Karsh's book(s) by engaging in derision & insults rather than factual debate.
But for those who are stymied by the onslaught of the populist press there is great comfort in being re-assured of the truth of justice of Israel's way.