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One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate Paperback – October 1, 2001
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Tom Segev is one of Israel's most notable historians and journalists--one of the few to strive for any sense of objectivity in his writings--so a new book by him is always worth waiting for. One Palestine, Complete is a detailed account of Palestine under British rule from 1917 to 1948, the critical period in the modern history of the region that led up to the creation of the state of Israel. Segev begins by carefully detailing Britain's well-known inconsistencies in dealing with both the Jews and the Arabs--to both of whom it had appeared to promise, if not the world, at least the country after independence was granted--and goes on to make a convincing case that because Palestine fell into the category of an emotional rather than self-interested colonial possession, the Brits hoped the situation would unwind to everyone's advantage.
Where Segev departs from the historical norm is in his assertions that whatever the British may have said to the Palestinians, their actions were uncompromisingly pro-Zionist from the start. This, he claims, was done out of the mistaken, anti-Semitic belief that the Jews controlled business and turned the wheels of history, rather than from a recognition of the rightness of their cause. Be this as it may, it is at best a partial explanation. Before World War II, Britain was on the verge of handing over Palestine to the Arabs, and Segev completely downplays the impact of Western war guilt over the Holocaust that led to a huge growth in support for an independent Israeli state at the expense of Palestinian rights.
Even so, One Palestine, Complete offers a thoughtful and dramatic account of the evolution of two nationalist movements that seem destined never to be reconciled. With a past like this, what hope is there for the future? --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Segev's book is well written and deeply humane, reflecting the lives and times of ordinary (and extraordinary) people in Palestine and Britain. That said, the book has considerable weaknesses: It does not properly introduce to us the main protagonists, whether Ben Gurion, The Mufti Al Husseini, Balfour, or any other major personality. The focus is squarely on the Jews and British; the account of the Arabs is largely unsatisfactory; and while I can't quite prove it, I feel that Segev pushes his overarching thesis a little further than the evidence actually goes.
I am unconvinced, for example, that the main or only causes for the British pro-Zionist stand, particularly the Balfour Declaration, has been the British delusions of Jewish world-dominating power and the personal charisma of Chaim Weismann. Standard accounts (such as David Fromkin's masterpiece A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East) emphasize the role of Zionism as a bulwark against French Middle Eastern ambitions, but for Segev this was a minor concern at most.
As Segev tells it, the story of Palestine under the British mandate is the story of one National movement, supported by the British Overlords, overwhelming its rival for the land.Read more ›
The overwhelming image of the British mandate is that of parents trying to keep peace between their two children, their favored eldest son and his younger brother ... The parents tried and tried to get the kids to stop misbehaving -- and eventually gave up.
Many of us seem to have forgotten that Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire until a short 84 years ago! In fact, the British controlled this region for only three decades, from 1917 until 1948. This book is the story of those years. Among the horrors covered in this tome are: the Nebi Musa rampage of 1920, the Jaffa riot of 1921, the Jerusalem riot of 1929, the riots of 1933, and the Arab Rebellion of 1936-39. Segev's traces their origins, but even more chillingly, describes how they unfolded, event-by-event and horror-by-horror. Early Arab atrocities insured that many Jews would never trust their Arab neighbors.
Segev clearly distinguishes Zionism and Judaism. He reminds us that "much of the pre-Zionist Jewish population - that is, those who lived in Palestine before the 1880s - were ultra-Orthodox. They were deeply hostile to the notion of secular Jewish autonomy in the Holy Land, which, according to religious doctrine, would be redeemed only through divine intervention in the messianic age. To the traditional Jewish population was sacrilegious." [p.Read more ›
But you'll have to look elsewhere if you're interested in a competent description and analysis of British rule. Segev apparently couldn't be bothered to do much background reading on British politics. When he strays from his diaries and memories, he blunders repeatedly. Lloyd George, he writes, was an "Englishman" who was "elected prime minister" in Dec. 1916. (L.G. was Welsh and there were no elections between 1910 and 1918.) Herbert Samuel, when he went into politics, "joined Lloyd George's Liberal Party"--two decades before any such entity existed.
There are a great number of other trivial mistakes, but more disturbing is Segev's persistent, if low-key, anti-Zionism. This is particularly evident in his treatment of Arab attacks on Jews. To take only the first, at Tel Hai on March 1, 1920, Segev concludes, without any evidence, that the Jews may have opened fire, and w/o provocation. He then starts referring to the "myth" of Tel Hai, as if the shootings were a figment of Zionist imagination. (He meanwhile accepts uncritically the myth of "the Arab Revolt" during WW I, discredited for decades.) Segev's treatment of subsequent violence is even more distorted. The role of the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini, is suppressed and, in the case of the Arab Rebellion of 1936-8, the focus is almost entirely on British countermeasures rather than the terror that inspired them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book filled a gap in my knowledge about the time of the British Mandate, gave me the history along with the wonderful descriptions of the people involved, from both public... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Aviva Ron
Tom Segev is an extremely well-informed author when it comes to gaining an understanding of Israel and the conflict between Jews and Arabs.... Read morePublished 10 months ago by D. J. Singer
A brilliantly written examination of Jews, Arabs, and the British in Jerusalem from the pre-World War I period to the independence of Israel! Read morePublished 13 months ago by Gilberto Villahermosa
I got this book after reading the same author's book on the the
1967 war. I now realize that I made a mistake reviewing that
book when I wrote that kenneth tewel who... Read more
Segev presents an even handed account, focusing on the three main players; the British Mandatory administration, the native Arab Palestinian population and the rise of Arab... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Benny
Unnervingly readable. Mr. Segev leaves the impression that he is at least attempting to be a truth-teller, even if the Israeli side looks bad here and there, and not just be a... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Joanna
As said above it is a good book but the info is transmitted in a very boring way
Recommended to me by a friend from Israel. An excellent history and an easy read. Tells both sides of the story.Published on March 24, 2014 by D. Kristofferson
i was about to spend 3 weeks in israel & wanted an overview of its modern history. a historian friend turned me on to this book & it was exactly what i'd been looking for. Read morePublished on November 21, 2013 by lowell