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Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation Hardcover – May 17, 2008

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In chronicling Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories—from road blocks to curfews, economic chaos to health care crises—UCLA professor Makdisi sketches a powerful, relentlessly heartbreaking account of a reality few Westerners know. According to Makdisi, the global media rarely covers the routine destruction of the occupation; rather than assessing the hermetic sealing of the Gaza Strip or the slicing up of West Bank communities for the sake of Israeli settlements, the media focuses on violence—eclipsing the deadly effects of the Israeli apparatus of bureaucracy and control. Makdisi unequivocally condemns attacks on civilians, Israeli or Palestinian, and acknowledges the many Israelis working toward conflict resolution (indeed, much of his data comes from Israeli human rights organizations), but his scholarship occasionally fails when surveying Israeli society: Jews who fled Arab lands don't generally consider themselves Arab Jews, for instance, and Zionism is a 19th-century nationalist movement, not a reaction to the Holocaust. Yet this doesn't detract from the urgency of Makdisi's work. The combined weight of personal stories of abject suffering, harsh statistics (in the past seven years, Israeli military operations have killed 854 Palestinian children) and facts on the ground make Makdisi's case that the occupation is destroying the Palestinian people, and possibly any chance for peaceful coexistence. (May)
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“An extraordinarily detailed portrait. . . . Weaves together a tapestry of harrowing narratives in a lucid and measured tone.” — Times Higher Education Supplement

“A lucid, invaluable chronicle of Palestinian daily life in the occupied territories.” — Boston Globe

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393066061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393066067
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Deane on July 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have been involved for some years in pro-Palestinian activism, and have read innumerable books on the subject. Nonetheless, Makdisi's book presented the stark facts of Israeli occupation with such vividness that I felt I was learning them - and raging and weeping at them - for the first time. There were times when Makdisi's sober, understated account of intolerable injustice forced me to put the book down; sometimes I didn't take it up again for days - but I always did take it up again.

Makdisi has an honourable pedigree: his uncle was the late Edward Said, for several decades not alone the leading advocate of Palestinian rights in the unfriendly environment of the USA, but also one of the world's leading intellectuals and literary critics. Makdisi is American-Lebanese-Palestinian, a mixture that renders him particularly qualified to approach his painful subject from a multitude of perspectives. As professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA and an expert on the poetry of English romanticism, he can hardly be caricatured by the ill-intentioned as some wild-eyed anti-Western fanatic (although given the bloodsoaked history of Western interference in the rest of the world, of which the fate of Palestine is a particularly poignant example, it's perhaps time that more conscientious Westerners adopted such "fanaticism").

"Palestine Inside Out" isn't a history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, although it necessarily incorporates much historical reflection, but an anlysis of the "facts on the ground" created by Zionism and its US and EU backers, whereby Palestinian Arabs - Muslims and Christians - are deprived of human and political rights while simultaneously being demonised for resisting this state of affairs.
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62 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Mark S. Mandell on June 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think one would indeed be hard pressed to find a more detailed and accurate account of the predicament faced by the Palestinians since the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent Six Day War(resulting then in the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank). Of course there have been other books(most recently, Jimmy Carter's account based on his trip to Israel)but this book is unique in presenting a true "microscopic" account of the effect of the occupation on the lives of Palestinians in the occupied lands. I occasionally found myself rather depressed by it, even angry that the Israelis could act with such brutality and callous disregard for the welfare of those they treat with such contempt(but of course they're not out to win any popularity contests as both this and their historical disregard of U.N. Resolutions so amply demonstrates!).

So based on the evidence presented, Makdisi presents a clear cut solid case arguing for the desirability of having a single state instead of a two state solution to resolving the long term conflict there.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Duffy on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've been studying the Israel/Palestine issue for almost 18 years now and I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territories twice and I can't recall a single book that has taught me more about the conflict than this one. Instead of focusing on history, politics, and suicide bombers as most books do, this one documents the daily occupation and how it plays out in the daily lives of Palestinians. It is absolutely appalling and eye-opening. More than once, I'm sure my jaw literally dropped open when confronted with the realities of what the occupation means. This book should undoubtedly be on the reading list of every member of Congress and every American citizen.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Isaac Perez-madrid on September 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Saree Makdisi has done an outstanding job in telling the whole world what is really going on in the Middle East contrary to what we normally read in the newspapers and what the T.V. tells us on a daily basis. I have read a few books before on this subject like; "Beyond Chutzpah" (beyond insolence) by Norman G. Finkelstein, "The Ethnic cleansing of Palestine" by Ilan Pappe, "The Case Against Israel" by Michael Newmann and a few more. All these authors are Jewish but they have a heart for the suffering of the Palestinian people who have been displaced from their homeland.
There are more than 4 million refugee Palestinian people living in the surrounding countries like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the ones who never left are experiencing the most diabolical maquiavelian, brutal occupation in ther hands of Israel thanks to our corrupt Congress and high ranking officials.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Edward F. Campbell on November 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This thoroughly researched portrayal of what it is like for people to live under the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza will anger, frustrate, perhaps appall the reader. Story follows story, told in reportorial style tinged with dismay, of deplorable circumstances. In among these is sound and valuable analysis of how Israel has injured itself while injuring others. If there is any one culprit it is the IDF; what a terrible thing it is to be a soldier caught where many an Israeli young person is trying to deal with the fear and the distress in the minds and hearts of both Israelis and Palestinians. And what humiliation dogs the footsteps of virtually all Palestinians, and rends the hearts of a large minority of Jews in America as in Israel, given the pattern of Israeli policy and administration. No-one wins, and one wonders how the human spirit can regain anything like nobility in this interminible struggle among Jew, Christian and Muslim. But we'd better know what Makdisi has to tell us.
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