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Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life Paperback – April 29, 2008
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Over the years, in his account, he has watched both of those objectives resisted and undermined by the objectives of those with political power - the Israelis through a campaign of seizing territory in the West Bank for Jewish settlements, and the PLO by demanding the return of all occupied lands. Meanwhile, moderates such as himself are cast as "dangerous," and his efforts at building bridges between Arabs and Jews are often frustrated. When the intifada of the 1980s flares up, Nusseibeh plays a strategic role in secretly writing and publishing materials that provide it with a voice and direction, channeling the energy of street demonstrations away from violence. And he is instrumental in building a nation-building organization to set the stage for Arafat's return from exile in Tunis to govern the West Bank and Gaza. At the same time, he is reaching out to peace activists among Israelis, even while the second intifada surges to life and Arab extremists begin to have a deadly impact with suicide bombs.Read more ›
I have thoroughly enjoyed, and was often moved by, the first half of the book which dealt with the history of Nusseibeh's family and contained his even handed description of the events leading to 1948 and all the way through the 1967 war and his subsequent return to live in Palestine with his British wife. Nusseibeh's portrayal of the lives of the Palestinians between the wars of 1948 and 1967 was very helpful.
In the second half of the book Nusseibeh hammers in, over and over again, on the tacit unspoken alliance of the extremists on both sides and shows how Israel supported the creation of Hamas as a counter weight to the Fateh and PLO. He coherently and very persuasively presents the thought process that he went through to move from the one state solution to the two state solution and demonstrates very effectively the threats that prolonging the conflict would cause to it.
Nusseibeh was often right at the center of things or at least presents himself as such; we see him as a leading figure in standing up to the Israelis and to the Islamists, we see him as the key engine behind the first intefada, or uprising, and we see him winning the respect and approval of Yasir Arafat. In this, second, half, this book moves from being a truly exceptional account of the personal and family history more into an aggrandizing politician's memoir.Read more ›
After getting through his father's history in the early chapters, University professor Sari Nusseibeh realizes the central problem between the Israeli and Palestinian coexistence: neither sides understanding of the other side. It takes him meeting Israeli students at college, and flying on an Israeli ariline, and teaching at Hebrew University before he begins to see the similarities between the two. And thats where he evolves his ideas about peace.
A central concept of his is that both sides are allies, NOT enemies. He even goes as far to say that the two are more like allies than the united states/israel and palestinians/arab states are allies.
Unfortunately as the occupation of the west bank and gaza continues throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, he sees a different kind of arab majority emerging from the areas, that is bent on the concept of eradicating the Jew, instead of working with. As his story progresses we see how the author gets involved in politics and attempts to keep the two state solution as a viable option, while trying to maintain his own logical understanding of what was transpiring.
But as we come to the 2000s, Hamas gains most of the support of the palestinians, wins elections and violence ensues.
The author is not hopeless. He does speak of trying to advocate a peaceful two-state solution by teaming up with Israelis in the Peace Now movement and in the government, to get the peace that both sides seek. He writes up a two state solution, that would allow Palestinians to have the borders from pre-1967, and allows palestinian refugees to return to palestinian areas, and Jews to jewish areas.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fantastic book detailing in wonderful prose the plight of the Palestinian people. In an effort to gain a more balanced perspective of the situation in Israel/Palestine,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kyle Gould
Enjoyable, such an easy read for such a hard topic. Matter of fact but with a soft human touch. Just a must read? Read morePublished 5 months ago by Esperanza Flury
I read the entire book and for the most part found it interesting reading and well written. I was disappointed in some of the history, like the Arabs were greatly outnumbered and... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Sharon Geyer
This book gave me a wider view of Palestine and Isreali life. It is written well, with a good pace.Published 23 months ago by Judith G.
Very one sided narrative,so much bias against Israel..Not helpful..
I won't go in details much now as there's no point,anyone who is against israel is going to buy this book... Read more
Once upon a country... tells about more than what, today, we consider to be 'a country'. It also tells about its people, how they live, play, work, worship and love. Read morePublished on June 27, 2013 by Czikus Carriere
Strange that Arabs wish to cloak themselves in the fictional garb of being so-called "palestinians" when for years they vehemently rejected the Western-invented terms "palestine"... Read morePublished on April 19, 2013 by Kitchen Magician
After losing my first copy of this book in an airport, I was anxious to find another copy to continue the riveting story of the situation in Israel - Palestine. Read morePublished on February 18, 2013 by Ruth Clark