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Palestinian Identity Paperback – March 29, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0231105156 ISBN-10: 0231105150

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231105150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231105156
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Noted Palestinian historian Khalidi presents the most credible argument to date in English for the existence of an amorphous Palestinian territory with an identifiable population existing before the emergence of political Zionism. The author's primary purpose is to establish the origins of a Palestinian national consciousness, which he does superbly, even with the obvious animus toward Israel and Zionism. Khalidi's research was greatly enhanced by his access to the family library in Jerusalem, bringing to light certain documentation for the first time. His historiographic method is path-breaking, including coverage of nonelite elements of Palestinian society involved in the development of a nationalistic sentiment. Essential reading along with Muhammad Muslih's The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism (Columbia Univ., 1990), this is highly recommended for specialists and general readers alike.?Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An impressively thoughtful, layered, and well documented study of key aspects of the evolution of modern Palestinian nationalism. Those expecting either a comprehensive history of the modern Palestinian movement or a polemic against Zionism and Israel should look elsewhere. Khalidi, who teaches history and directs the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago, and who was a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Mideast peace negotiations, focuses almost entirely on the late Ottoman and early Mandate period (1880s through 1920s). He sees Palestinian nationalism emerging far earlier than is generally thought--in the preWW I period, when absentee landlords in Beirut and elsewhere sold large tracts of Palestinian land to the Jewish Colonization Association. Yet while modern Palestinian history is inextricably intertwined with that of Zionism, Khalidi focuses as much on other constituents of modern Palestinian identity, which include ``patriotic feelings, local loyalties, Arabism, religious sentiments, [and] higher levels of education and literacy.'' He demonstrates how the long-term influence of modernization, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and concomitant European incursion in the preWW I era, followed by the betrayal of promises made by both the British and French, contributed as much to Palestinian nationalism as the 1917 Balfour Declaration and Zionist immigration. The only flaw here is that Khalidi races through the last 70 years of the development of Palestinian identity. Even here, however, he offers a fascinating analysis of why Palestinian nationalism seemingly became ``submerged'' after the first Arab- Israeli War (194749) and until the PLO's founding in 1964. At a time when the end of the hundred years' war between Zionism/Israel and the Palestinians appears on the horizon, this illuminating study will help readers gain a sophisticated understanding of how the Palestinians came to be who they are. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

There is NO distinct Palestinian culture.
abu afak
It was found that the number of fellahin families actually dispossessed as a result of Zionist land purchases was very small, only a few hundred.
Edward Brynes
One of the best books out, and well known across the globe.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Tron Honto on March 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Khalidi's goal is to make a case for Palestinian Nationalism's existence as not necessarily presuppossing the existence of Zionism; therefore, he places the locus of its origin before the *nakba* of 1948. To be specific, Khalidi situates the crucial years during the late and post-Ottoman period in Palestine. The author is not a primordialist, but rather, he is a constructivist. Taking nationalism as peculiar phenomenon to modernity, it locates him in a precarious position in which to create room for his argument, for he insists that Palestinian identity can be seen as a process which could have potentially evolved w/o Zionism as its interlocutor (though, of course, it did not). His arguments and presentation are masterful.
Recommended for anyone who studys the area and/or conflict, essential read.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Listen&Learn on October 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As an American Jew who spent a decade living in Israel and loathing "the Arabs" - this book has done more for my own personal transformation of "understanding the other" than any other experience. Khalidi is meticulous, yet dispassionate in his gathering of primary sources in which he documents the every day details of Palestinian life, particularly in the periods of Ottoman Empire rule and the British Mandate (before the founding of Israel). REGARDLESS of your views on "the conflict" this book is essential reading in exposing the HUMANITY of Palestine and Palestinians to the West. I found it particularly refreshing that unlike some researchers, Mr. Khalidi does not lament the tragedy of the Palestinian as solely a "travesty perpetrated by the Zionists". Rather, he takes to task his own people calling them on the failures that have perpetuated their misery, and the complicity of neighboring Arab states as well in the complex, sad, and often shadowy events that have befallen the Palestinian people.
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
Palestinian identity is indeed an outstanding book.Rashid Khalidi was always able to bring facts into existence.I highly recommend reading this book of great contribution to all those who wish to be enlightened about the history of the palestinian identity.
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This wordy, rather solemn book attempts to show what makes Palestinians distinct as a nation. The challenge is not easy. There has never been a country named "Palestine", but only a vaguely defined area of the Middle East frequently described as "Southern Syria" -- i.e., part of a larger entity. In the earliest days of the British Mandate, Palestine included what is now a separate country, Jordan. Palestinians are overwhelmingly Muslim and Arabic-speaking, but this does not distinguish them from others in the region.

In the real beginning of his book, Chapter 2, the author finds a mental makeup common to all Palestinians: a sense of the city of Jerusalem as a sacred space where multiple and overlapping identities are shared, in contrast to the un-nuanced identity of many other peoples. Neighboring peoples of the Middle East "have lived for most of the past half century [1947-1997] under the rule of increasingly strong interdependent states, which gave substance to their national narratives and propagated them domestically and internationally in an authoritative fashion." (p. 20). This is true of Israel, but is it true of Jordan or Syria, for example? How can these other states can be said to have national narratives with substance? By comparison, the author implies, Palestinians have been handicapped in the development of a self-concept because "In Palestine throughout the Mandate period, however, the power of the state accrued exclusively either to the British or their Zionist protegés, and was rigorously denied to the Palestinians."(p. 21) I cannot see the Zionists as "protegés" in view of the restrictions on immigration and land purchase of the 1930's. The British regarded them as a tremendous nuisance.
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33 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte A. Hu on May 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
The preface of this book really seals the concepts of the previous text: "Nations as a natural, God-given way of classifying men, as an inherent ... political destiny, is a myth; (this is really what Frontier Fictions' author intended to say)." Nationalism takes pre-existing cultures, modifies or destroys them. This seems solid. In Khalidi's discussion of Palestinian Identity, the word Arab strikes a cord of long-standing culture and Palestine seems connected only with a sense of confusion. Khalidi clears this perception of confusion. He is trying to dismantle many myths about the Palestinian-Israeli identity creation by taking the discussion to pre-WWII. He is combating the idea that as a result of the events of 1948, Israel came into being and with it, and/or in reaction to this, Palestinian identity was manufactured as a kind of cultural, political counter assault.
The gist of his text is to convince the reader that Palestinian identity has long roots and is therefore "real." The sense I have after reading his text is that not only is Palestinian identity a construction, so is every other national identity on the planet. While I agree with his assertion that Palestinian identity is no less real than the French example he uses in the seventh chapter, I feel that French, Japanese, American and other identities as equally as fictitious as the pro-Zionist writers claim Palestinian identity is. Just as he promised, the author brings into clear relief, not only discussions of Palestine and Israel, but of national and regional identity construction. The final description of the "reemergence of Palestinian identity" brought me to question more than ever before the global construction of national identities everywhere. The powerful emotional, even common psychological bond shared by Palestinians resulting from shared miseries strengthens the "reality" of the identity, according to Rashid Khalidi. This same social pressure is common to other nations as well.
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More About the Author

Rashid Khalidi is the author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East (Beacon Press, 2013) and six other books about the Middle East--Sowing Crisis, The Iron Cage, Resurrecting Empire, Origins of Arab Nationalism, Under Siege, and the award-winning Palestinian Identity. He is the Edward Said Chair in Arab Studies at Columbia University and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies. He has written more than eighty articles on Middle Eastern history and politics, including pieces in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and many journals. Professor Khalidi has received fellowships and grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the Rockefeller Foundation; he was also the recipient of a Fulbright research award. Professor Khalidi has been a regular guest on numerous radio and TV shows, including All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Morning Edition, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Nightline.

Photo Credit: Alex Levac, 2011.

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