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BOOKS The Hundred Years War on Palestine by Rashid Khalidi

No-holds-barred history of the Palestinian struggle for liberation

FROM 1917’s Balfour Declaration — which did not actually mention the Palestinians — right up to last year’s much trumpeted “deal of the century,” the modern history of Palestine is best understood as a prolonged vicious colonial war against its indigenous population.

Throughout over a century of conflict, and facing the colossus that has become the Israeli state, a colonised people has been violently denied equal rights and self-determination, while  being repeatedly told to accept “agreements” that were designed to negate their own existence.

This highly personalised and detailed account provides a superb history of the events and politics that have shaped the struggles for and against Palestinian self-determination.

Author Rashid Khalili pulls no punches in criticising the abject failings of both global and domestic politicians who have helped perpetuate the continued misery in Palestine.

He argues that international student activism and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have done more to further the Palestinian cause than both Fatah and Hamas combined and is highly critical of the Mahmoud Abbas administration’s diplomatic efforts.

But he finds hope in the heroic patience, perseverance and steadfastness of the Palestinian people.

Spurning international law and UN security council decisions, Trump’s “deal” last year merely continued the history of pouring contempt on the Palestinians.

It effectively outsourced strategic planning to the Israelis, was at odds with every principle of freedom, justice and equality and, once again, attempted to coerce the indigenous population into accepting defeat.

Perhaps crucially, it was also finally an abandonment of any shabby pretence of US impartiality. By emphasising Washington’s role as a mere extension of Israeli influence, it has ensured that the US cannot continue to be a mediator, broker or neutral party in any meaningful future discussions about Palestine.

Khalidi concludes that a meaningful peace can only be achieved through unified Palestinian support for an intense diplomatic effort that redefines much of what has gone before.

And he appeals above the heads of unresponsive regimes to international public opinion to overcome the resistance of those who benefit from the status quo.

By actively supporting the BDS movement, we can all play a part in bringing hope to Palestine.

Published by Profile Books, £25.

 

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