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From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine Paperback – February 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0963624208 ISBN-10: 0963624202

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 622 pages
  • Publisher: JKAP Publications (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963624202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963624208
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...will change the mind of our generation. If understood, it could also affect the history of the future." -- New Republic

"A remarkable document in itself. . . . The refugees are not the problem but the excuse." -- Washington Post Book World

"Contains much valuable information...deserving the attention of anyone seriously concerned with the Palestinian problem." -- S.D. Goitein, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"This book is a historical event in itself..." -- Barbara Tuchman

About the Author

Joan Peters has written and lectured widely on the Middle East, Central America, and the Soviet Union. She has contributed to Harper's, Commentary, The New Republic, The New Leader, and other periodicals, and has served as White House consultant on the Middle East.

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Customer Reviews

...P>This is the best book I have ever read on the topic.
For anybody who wants to know the history of Israel and Jews in The Middle East, this book really is a "must read".
Seems Peters was Pro-Palestinian until she started doing research for this book.
Ms barbara

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 205 people found the following review helpful By dougrhon on May 7, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has engendered an enormous amount of criticism since its publication in 1984. My review of the reviews reveals that some of the criticism is warranted. The book does contain a certain amount of sloppy scholarship. In particular, Peters' apparent misapplication of certain statistics regarding population growth in Palestine in the early 20th century is questionable. Enemies of Israel and historical revisionists have used these errors to condemn and discredit the book. In my experience, virtually all scholarly work contains errors of the kind Peters' is accused of. I have not checked her footnotes nor do I expect have most of her readers. The reader has a right to rely on the accuracy of footnotes.
As I see it, Peters has been accused by the revisionists and enemies of Israel of misusing quotes, taking them out of context and over-relying on anecdotal evidence. I find this ironic since this is exactly what the revisionists have been revealed to have done. I suppose they should be familiar with their own technique. This does not excuse the action. I reject the "revisionist technique" which smacks of Marxist "correctness". The goal of the historian should be the revelation of the truth. The mis-application of evidence is one of the worst sins an historian can commit. I do not excuse Peters.
And yet...And yet...the real question is whether the errors in her scholarship discredits her thesis. If one eliminates the problematic sources and quotes, does the argument fall apart? To this I offer a resounding no.
Peters an American non-Jew, with no ax to grind for either side set out to research the history and discovered that what she was finding was the exact opposite of what she believed to be true.
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85 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on October 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
For a controversial polemic, this is a pretty tame and well-documented attempt to clear up some misconceptions that are surprisingly prevalent about the Arab-Jewish conflict. Some of the material is speculative, but it is well worth reading for those who like to draw their own conclusions. Few books do as good a job as this one of explaining why so many Jews and Arabs in the Middle East are so upset both with each other and with some of the people who have attempted to act as mediators in their dispute.

"From Time Immemorial" contains a great deal of useful reference material for those interested in the Arab-Jewish conflict. It's interesting and thought-provoking. I sincerely recommend it.
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285 of 408 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Joan Peters, a professional writer and researchers, received a grant from an Arab Foundation to write a history of the ancient roots of the Arab population in historic Palestine. The problem was that, when she actually began doing her research, she found that most of the common beliefs about the long history of that population are just inaccurate. In fact, she found that the majority of the current population descended from waves of migration beginning in the 19th century and peaking in the early 20th.

Peter's uses considerable primary source data, including the ottoman and British censuses and the travel journals of western visitors like Mark Twain, all of which prove that the area compromising modern day Israel and the West Bank were largely unpopulated in the 19th century and experienced waves of immigration from people looking for work. Even more controversial, she documents the existence of ancient Jewish communities on both sides of the Jordan River, in places like Jerusalem, Gaza, Hebron, Safed, Nablus, and others. Sadly, many of these communities were forced to flee Arab violence at the turn of the century. Thus Hebron, which has boasted a continual Jewish community for over 2,500 years, had no community between 1930-67 because the Jews had to flee for their lives. Yes, tPeters' book contains substantial flaws, particularly in her use of statistics in what can be called a "number's game" (the quote from the often maligned Daniel Pipes who demonstrates the greater intellectual honesty of pro-Israel intellectuals in his dissection and dismissal of Peters' work, a thing sadly seemingly always lacking from the Israel haters). Nonetheless, the central thesis is well worth considering.

Arieh Avneri's Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land Settlement and the Arabs 1878-1948 adds considerable documentary evidence to this thesis and is also worth examination. Readers would also do well to review the works of the fine historian Benny Morris.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
A sustained effort has been made to discredit this revealing work, by the usual suspects. But the criticism cannot disprove the facts or substance of the central thesis of the book. Despite minor flaws, the truth uncovered by the author is unassailable. True, her polemical excursions are sometimes harsh and the book would have benefited from better editing but the flaws are ultimately of a stylistic, not factual, nature.

From Time Immemorial remains a brilliant refutation of media myths and public perceptions, thoroughly documented and based on verifiable facts provided in almost 200 pages of documentation based on eyewitness reports by historians, scholars, journalists and writers like Mark Twain, interviews with Arabs and Jews, documents in the British archives and official records of the Ottoman Empire. Her discovery of massive migration from North Africa, Lebanon, Syria and from the east across the River Jordan during the era in question stands firm.

The author succeeds in clearing the smog of disinformation created by ideologues and propagandists. Revealed here is the real picture of the demographic history of the Middle East and in particular Israel/Jordan/Palestine during the last decades of Ottoman rule in the 19th century and those of the British Mandate period during the 20th. According to the evidence - of which there is plenty - the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean was desolate and thinly populated in the latter half of the 19th century.
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