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Download Question of Palestine epub

by Edward W. Said

Download Question of Palestine epub
ISBN: 0710007779
ISBN13: 978-0710007773
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: Edward W. Said
Language: English
Publisher: Routledge & Kegan Paul PLC; New edition edition (February 1981)
Pages: 286 pages
ePUB size: 1377 kb
FB2 size: 1364 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 500
Other Formats: rtf mbr azw lit

The Question of Palestine is best viewed in two distinctive parts. Part One deals with the historical narrative, the ideas and events that ultimately led to the establishment of the State of Israel on most of Palestine in 1948. The Second part deals mostly with the Palestinian Resistance post 1948 focusing on the Peace Process and the Camp David Accords.
The first part of the book is essentially a narrower version of Edward Said's famous work "Orientalism". Whereas Orientalism attempted to cover misrepresentation of the history and culture of the mostly Islamic Near East by "Orientalists" over many centuries, the Question of Palestine focuses on this "misrepresentation" as it related specifically to Palestine and how it ultimately led to wide support in the west to the Zionist ideas and the creation of a Jewish home land in Palestine. The language and style of this book is certainly easier to follow than the more scholarly Orientalism.
A most fascinating and enlightening analysis of the support that Zionism received from progressive writers and thinkers of the late 19th Century act as key foundation in Said's narrative. Said proposes that a culture that totally accepted the views of the Orientalist saw itself as inherently superior to the "natives" and thus viewed the Zionist project as a brave mission to bring civilization to inferior cultures / places. Said Portrays a Zionism admired as a more committed and liberalizing colonial movement that actually attracted wide admiration. Said offers a Palestinians version of events that led to the Balfour Declaration in 1917 that is entirely backed entirely by contemporaneous authoritative western and Zionist sources, all meticulously analyzed and referenced.
Said's Narrative places Zionism squarely within a "Western" colonial strategy and places the responsibility for the neglect of the rights of the "natives" on Balfour and Britain, as he cites Balfour's elaborating on the impact of his Declaration, clearly aware of the inevitability of displacement of the "natives". While Said made a very strong case for the historical responsibility of Britain towards the Palestinians, he did not seem to develop his ideas into any form of political agenda towards Britain
Said's account suggests that the transformation of Zionism from a secular colonial movement to one that aims to appeal to religious Jews caused considerable friction within the movement with often strong opposition from the original founders to any action or people who would negatively impact the "liberalizing" "pioneering" image of the movement, the image that idealized the movement to the liberals of the late 19th Century.
Overall, the first part of the book, which is nearly two thirds of it is well argued and well referenced and indeed as said earlier builds on the huge amounts of work Said had done in Orientalism. While Said unabashedly acknowledged at the start of the book his desire to present the whole "Question" from a Palestinian perspective, he hardly relied on Palestinians sources and based his entire narrative on western & Zionist sources. In doing so he gave him self the freedom to offer a partisan version of history yet succeeded in making it appear as an exhaustive and balanced review that makes his case very well and convincingly.
The second part of the book aimed primarily at the history of the struggle between the state of Israel and the PLO and the Palestinian people. Here, Said was offering a political commentary of events that he personally has witnessed first hand or indeed participated or took part in. Said's usual rigorous review and analysis of sources was naturally absent. His views of the PLO appeared largely romantic and he seemed to find excuses for its many failings. His disagreements with Sadat and the Egyptian position on Camp David totally failed to see the Egyptian Israeli dispute as a distinct (yet related) conflict to the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Said's tendency to overlook the different historical narratives within the middle east in Orientalism carried over into his analysis of the contemporarily Middle Eastern political affairs.
Edward Said's Question of Palestine is an excellent source for understanding the very sad history of the Palestinians and their blight. His inability to see an intellectually acceptable way forward, his rejection of Camp David and the Oslo Peace Process reflect both his intellectual honesty and political naiveté. Said's more recent writings in The Nation and Al Ahram weekly seem to reflect some changes his views. It is however Ironic that the failure of the peace process that we witness now in 2002 may actually vindicate some of Said's views of Oslo and the whole concept of a "two states" solution.
I have awarded this book "4 stars" based on the strength of the first part. The Second Part is 1 - 2 stars at best!
Worth reading if you are a student of this subject. Balanced? Well, not exactly. But how many books on this subject are really balanced? And I'll go one step further -- This book is certainly more balanced than Dershowitz's "The Case For Israel." Don't get me wrong. I'd read the Dershowitz book, too, but only if you're going to read lots of books on this topic.

If you are looking for a balanced book on this subject that is an easy read, I recommend "Contested Land, Contested Memory" by Roberts. If you are looking for a very thorough history lesson on this subject, I recommend "Righteous Victims" by Morris. Note: The Morris book is a royal rain to read. It's very long with lots of details. The Morris book is mostly balanced (more than Said's book), but not completely. (The author is a Jewish Israeli.)
Freaky Hook
Quality book in fine condition delivered in a timely way. Thanks.
In the introduction, the author states his purpose: "my aim has been to write a book putting before the western reader a broadly representative Palestinian position". I believe he accomplished the task with a nuanced and articulate expose. Further, he manages to present his case with minimal offense to the western reader.
If you think it of value: analyze the "western culture" psyche regarding "eastern culture".
2.Understand the impact of Zionism on the native population
3.know the goals of Zionism
read this book.

Some dislikes:
In several places the author states that something is obvious or clear without and need not be elaborated. For an obtuse fellow like me, this was not helpful. End note 34 of final chapter missing.
End of review.

Mental residue:
I believe historically, many populations may have been displaced. The American native as example. The Palestine case seems to be an anomaly regarding all the attention. In America, we have eminent domain by which people are displaced for the "benefit" of the whole. Regarding culture inferiority: the author argues that the 'west' sees the 'east' as inferior. In a strange way he seemed to validate the view that the east is inferior. That is from a power position. It seemed the natives did not know who they were and over time developed the "Palestinian" idea of themselves. From there the idea of self determination took shape. This metamorphosis gave them a greater power to resist Zionist.
Said is excellent, he said.
Does the fact that I am an Israeli Jew living in Israel mean that I should reject this book ? Does the fact that I think the book is crucially important mean that I am "taking sides" ?
I believe otherwise. I found this book to be very important, as it is an account of a Palestinian - an admittedly interested party in the conflict. Said knows about the Jews and Zionism much more than most Israeli Jews know about the Palestinians. But of course - Said is never "objective" - he himself is a refugee, who describes the side of Zionism as he and many others like him experienced.
Said shows surprising understanding of Zionism - he even says that one cannot compare the situation in Israel to that which existed in South Africa. He says that things here are more complicated. Said acknowledges the achievements of Zionism as far as Jews are concerned, another surprise.
I felt a deep passion for peace and compromise in this book - I believe that the author accepts the reality of a Jewish state in Israel. However, Said points out that no such peace can be achieved as long as Palestinian dreams are constantly shattered or ignored.
There are two sides to this story - I am on one and Said is on the other. Still, this book is important because it acknowledges the existance of two sides, and thus provides a road to conciliation that is so important to all of us.
I think every Jew and every Paelstinian should read this book, and so should evreybody with a serious interest in our troubled piece of land.