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From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine

4.1 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0963624208
ISBN-10: 0963624202
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 622 pages
  • Publisher: JKAP Publications (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963624202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963624208
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
[[[[[[[[Joan Peters, author of the 1980s revelatory study, “From Time Immemorial,” an essential piece of work for any Zionist or Zionist supporter, died recently at the age of 78. This review is dedicated to her memory.]]]]]]]]

If you are pro Israel and you have not read her book, go now and buy it. You will be vindicated for every defense you have ever rightly put up for the Jewish people and their homeland. A landmark treatise, Peters, displays incredible research, thoroughly investigated, and absolutely needed at the time it was published.

Her book was so controversial precisely because anti-Zionists knew she exposed something they had hoped would never be revealed, that the vast majority of Palestinians today, who claim Israel as their homeland have no legal, historical or moral right to it. Moreover, their ancestors came after the Zionist movement started.

The book argues, it was the Jews who created an economy which needed manual labor, and the Arabs supplied it by coming from all over the middle East. Without Zionist settlement that tiny strip of land on the western coast of Asia, today would probably still be desert and swamp land unfit for human beings to live in the modern world.

Conclusion, the Jews were good for Palestine, good for the surrounding Arab Levantine world, and an asset to modernity.

Critics have argued she used secondary sources, so how can any serious historian consider her work credible? While that is correct for some assertions there is also ample primary documentation that her critics always fail to mention. The text is 400 pages long, and is then followed by a 200 page set of appendices, end notes and citations.
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My own research into the Middle East over many years gave rise to considerable concern that vast numbers of people were being deceived over the Palestinian refugee problem. It was obvious to me that many 'untruths' and 'inflated figures' were being branded around by the Arab world in order to promote their stance over the Palestinian issue. I had searched for a book that would concentrate on the original historical facts upon which the issue is based and not on propaganda from either side in the conflict. This is that book. Ironically the author was originally employed by the Arab world to investigate the matter on their behalf. However, the facts speak for themselves and the Arab world have since predictably sought to denigrate the author wherever possible. However, to avoid any bias, the facts are there, together with their sources, for anyone honest enough who wishes to research the matter for themselves. I am not Jewish or Arab, and just wish that the public at large were for once, provided with the true facts about this matter. This book should be re-published immediately in view of the current Middle East crisis. Perhaps the politicians involved would do well to access the facts themselves. Thank you all for your time.
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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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Peters spent 7 years searching Arab, United Nations, League of Nations, British, French, Israeli, Turkish and Ottoman and other records. This book, with more than 1,800 citations, should be required reading for every Middle East reporter.

Peters shows that for 70 years before Israel's independence, there was considerable Arab immigration INTO Palestine--a history confirmed among others by Arieh Avneri's pre-Peters book, The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land Settlement and the Arabs, 1878-1948. This began in 1878, when Jewish settlers joined tens of thousands of Jews whose families lived in Palestine for two millennia after it was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD.

She shows at length that while Palestine was later conquered by a long parade of others--including Muslims, Crusaders, Saracens, and finally the Ottoman Empire--none ever drove the Jews out completely.

Peters provides documentation by many non-Jewish 19th century travelers, including Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad) and French and British envoys, of a desolate Palestine, whose small population included long-established Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Safed, Nablus, Jericho and other towns. In the 1870s, Jewish settlers from the Middle East and Europe began joining their co-religionists in Palestine. Arab immigration increased as Jewish development raised economic conditions far above those of neighboring Arab countries. Jewish farmers bought land at above-market prices from absentee effendi landlords in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, employing both Arabs and Jews. Arabs also came for jobs in the government and building the railroads, roads and Haifa port.
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