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Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix

  • ISBN13: 9780253218575
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
— A ForeWord Magazine “Book of the Year” Finalist–

Why does Hamas refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel? Why do Israeli settlers in the West Bank insist that Israel has a legitimate right to that territory? What makes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so intractable? Reflecting both Israeli and Palestinian points of view, this provocative volume addresses the two powerful, bitterly contested, competing historical narratives that underpin the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Compelling contributions by Israeli and Palestinian authors show how the intertwined reckonings of the historical past–history’s double helix–provide powerful ammunition for current battles. Just when a resolution of the conflict might seem to be on the horizon, the gulf of history resurges to separate the contenders. Palestinians and Israelis remain locked in struggle, tightly entangled and enveloped by a historical cocoon of growing complexity, fundamental disagreement, and overriding miscalculation.

This book creates a dialogue among Palestinian and Israeli authors, who examine opposing versions of the historical narratives in the context of contemporary Israeli-Palestinian relations. In hard-hitting essays the contributors debate the two justifying and rationalizing constructions, laying bare the conflict’s roots and the distorted prisms that fuel it. Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to make sense of today’s headlines.

Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History’s Double Helix


  1. Narratives of conflict?

    What’s that supposed to mean? Does it mean that some folks have a bunch of anecdotes which they use to present a somewhat misleading picture of reality while others have a bunch of anecdotes which they use to present a horribly misleading picture of reality?

    What we need are truths, not “narratives.”

    Yes, a bunch of people who committed crimes and fought as aggressors have “narratives.” But that does not negate the reality of what happened. Sure, those families in the American South who fought to deny human rights to Black slaves have a narrative. And they suffered. But that would not get me or any other honest person to consider the emancipation of the slaves a catastrophe! The emancipation of the slaves was a triumph for human rights that has been a benefit to society as a whole. The victory over National Socialism was a similar triumph. The lifting of the siege of Jerusalem in 1948 was another such triumph. If we instead call it (or the existence of human rights for Jews in Israel) a “catastrophe,” we’re being both insulting and dishonest. And I think that some of the contributors in this book are encouraging such dishonesty.

    In order to reduce strife, I think we do need to focus on truth. But that is not the same thing as accepting lies! I know that it is very difficult to admit that one is wrong if one wants to fight. But it is also difficult to admit that one is right if one wants to be diplomatic. And I think we need to strive to be more honest, and value truth whether one has been right or wrong.

    There are some things in this book that I did find interesting. Mordechai Bar-On had some things to say about Israel from his perspective, and reasons why such people as Flapan or Zertal are unlikely to be taken seriously by most Israelis. In addition, he makes the excellent point that some Arabs like Israeli revisionist history because they feel it admits the truth of some Arab claims (I might call it the truth of some Arab falsehoods). Instead, he thinks that Arabs ought to see it as a call to try some revisionist history of their own, and reconsider some of the more dubious things they’ve tended to agree upon in the past.

    Does this one good point make the book worth two stars rather than one? Definitely not. Its entire theme is no good.

    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. This is a very useful book for anyone who wants to understand the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Each side tells the story in a way that blends fact, emotion, and a particular point of view. It’s hard to build relationships with others when we don’t have an understanding of how differently they view reality.
    Rating: 4 / 5


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