What’s The Palestinian Perspective?

I asked a Jewish friend to give me the Palestinian point of view. He responded:

It is very hard to get an accurate perspective without an honest historical perspective. Unfortunately, neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are able to be honest about it.

For a recent historical perspective of the relations between the Jews and Arabs from just before WWI up through the end of the British Mandate, Tom Segev’s book: One Palestine Complete is very good. Ari Shavit published a book, My Promised Land, in 2013, which was a compilation of articles he had written over the years. His interviews with Israeli soldiers who participated in forcibly removing Palestinian Arabs from towns during the 1948 war was shocking to the Israelis. He also has some interesting history because members of his family first went to Palestine in the 1890’s. I forgot the name of his book.

The first Western book which really brought the plight of the Palestinians home was called: They are human too, and was a photography book, by Per Anderson, about the Palestinian refugee camps outside of Israel (it came out in 1957 and so many of the refugees were actually living in the West Bank) I bought another book of photographs of Arabs in Palestine (The Palestinians: Photographs of a Land and its People from 1839 to the Present Day by Elias Sanbar) to show what a thriving community they had. One point to remember is that until 1948 there were roughly equal numbers of Christians and Moslems in Lebanon, Syria and the area of Palestine but today in Palestine the number is less than 10% as most have emigrated to America.

When analyzing Israel from the Palestinian perspective, it is important to be aware of the biases of the author. Many are neo Marxists who see the Jews as European colonialists or Imperialists, rather than as invaders who don’t necessarily want to exploit the native population, but rather to supplant it. Some of these are sincere Religious zealots such as Meir Kahane who believed God promised Israel to the Jewish People, others non religious believed that because of anti Semitism Jews deserved a state of their own, even as the ethnic state becomes less and less accepted in our multicultural world.

If you read anything, read Shavit’s chapter on the forced dispossession of Arabs in 1948. It can only be justified if you are a religious fanatic. The expulsion from towns was purely political. The Arabs of these communities did not pose any threat to the Jews.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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