“Exceptional…opens new vistas on troubles past and present.” – The Wall Street Journal
“Key to understanding the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians.” – Booklist (starred review)
When Oren Kessler’s first book, Palestine 1936: the great revolt and the roots of the Middle East conflict,was published earlier this year, while lauded, its true significance would not be felt until now. With the recent surprise attacks on Israel by Hamas on October 7, and the following response including a declaration of war on Hamas by Israel, this book is more important than ever in understanding the complex history which has shaped the present state of affairs. Kessler addresses this complicated topic by utilizing only recently declassified documents as well as memoirs and other sources to draw a thorough examination of this formative and often overlooked period.
In his book, Kessler relates key events from the period of 1936 to 1939 that laid the foundation for the establishment of Israel as a state in 1948 and for the current Arab-Israeli conflict. That period itself is a complicated time in world history, as political tensions were already heightened and ultimately ignited World War II. Kessler believes that events almost 90 years ago, and just prior to the second World War, have so shaped the attitudes and posture of the conflict that it will ultimately lead to tragedy for both Jews and Arabs. Primarily, Kessler suggests that many Arabs in the region are unwilling to accept Jewish equality, political or social, let along their right to an ancestral homeland. He believes that this is the true core of the conflict and not one easily resolved.
“Oren Kessler is a journalist and political analyst based in Tel Aviv. He has served as deputy director for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, Middle East research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society in London, Arab affairs correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, and an editor and translator at Haaretz English edition.” – orenkessler.com
If you want to more fully understand the current state of affairs in Palestine and the war that is now commencing, Palestine 1936 is a must read. In addition, the Davenport Library has a number of other books that you might find informative and enlightening on this topic and as well as closely related topics.
A Lethal Obsession : antisemitism from antiquity to the global Jihad by Robert S. Wistrich
RAF : the birth of the world’s first air force by Richard Overy
Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco
1917 : war, peace, and revolution by D.(David) Steveson
Decolonizing Palestine : the land, the people, the bible by Mitri Raheb
Tehran children : a Holocaust refugee odyssey by Mikhal Dekel
Remember Us : my journey from the shtetl through the Holocaust by Martin Small
I Am Not Your Enemy : stories to transform a divided world by Michael T. McRay
Bethlehem : biography of a town by Nicholas Blincoe
19 varieties of gazelle : poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye
Things you may find hidden in my ear : poems from Gaza by Mosab Abu Toha
Chronicle of the Old Testament kings : the reign-by-reign record of the rulers of ancient Israel by J.W. (John William) Rogerson