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The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 (Cambridge Middle East Library) Hardcover – March 25, 1988


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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Middle East Library (Book 15)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 25, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521330289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521330282
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,912,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'This excellent myth-debunking book ... deserves a wide readership among those who want to understand what has happened in Israel over the last 40 years rather than repeat discredited propaganda which serves only to prolong the war.' The Spectator

'This latest addition to the Cambridge Middle East Library is a book of exceptional importance. It will be required reading for anyone who professes a serious interest in the Arab-Israeli conflict over Palestine. Its conclusions, which invalidate many of the assumptions commonly made about the origins of the conflict, need to be taken into account in any attempt to devise a solution to it.' Arab Affairs

'... the most comprehensive and detailed study yet published on the Palestinian refugees.' The Economist

Book Description

This book is the first full-length study of the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem. Based on recently declassified Israeli, British and American state and party political papers and on hitherto untapped private papers, it traces the stages of the 1947-9 exodus against the backdrop of the first Arab-Israeli war and analyses the varied causes of the flight.

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Customer Reviews

Mr. Morris lays out the particulars of a very intricate and sensitive issue with adeptness rarely seen.
"djeheuty"
The number of Jewish refugees was actually larger than that of Arab refugees (counting only those who fled, not their descendants).
Alyssa A. Lappen
This book is a MUST read for anyone who wants to understand the roots of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Michelle Stowell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
The issue of how the great bulk of the indigenous Arab Palestinians who constitued a majority of the people and landholders of the territory that became Israel after the 1948-1949 war is a topic of heated controversy. Israeli author Benny Morris weighs in with the revisionist perspective. (This is not to be confused with "Holocaust revisionism" a bogus line of thinking attempting to claim the Nazis did not commit genocide against Jews). The revisionist approach holds that contrary to official and popular opinion fostered by Israel, the Arab Palestinians did not evacuate in response to a generalized call by Arab leaders to leave in order to make way for Arab armies but that the Arabs fled due to a variety of factors, a great deal of which consisted of military pressure and terrorist acts by Jewish forces and actual organized forced expulsion by pre-state and post-state Israeli armed forces. Morris, using internal Israeli archives and a broad search of other sources, attempts to go village by village to analyze the causes of Arab flight or departure. It is a grand work of bravery and integrity by an Israeli author. Although the "revisionist" view has been close to standard in academic and intelligence circles (as well as of course, Arab, left-wing, and anti-Zionist polemic) for some time; it is only now penetrating popular perception in Israel and the United States. Morris also bravely looks at and exposes early Zionist leaders' expressed hopes and plans for the eventual "transfer" of the Arab population.Read more ›
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Stowell on January 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Benny Morris' book is a particularly important and influential work because he dispells the myth that Palestinians 'left' their homes voluntarily. Through his research of declassified information from the the 1948 War Morris proves that Palestinians were forced out of their home and that is how they became refugees. Morris' work posed such a serious threat to the myth of Israel's existence that when it first came out he was black listed. Now, however, after 10+ years many Israelis accept the truth of his findings and his work is being taught in Israeli universities. This book is a MUST read for anyone who wants to understand the roots of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I first read this book in college obout 10 years ago, and I remember all the hoopla surrounding its publication. After re-reading it recently, I'm still amazed by how good a book this really is.
Morris does three things well, and without rancor or polemetization: 1)he explains how the Palestinans fled/left/were driven out of Palestine in 1947-1949 2)he explains how well the Israelis had prepared for war, compared to the Arabs, and 3)he de-mythologizes David Ben-Gurion and the early Isreali leadership like American scholars have de-mythologized Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, etc.
What is especially great about is that it describes the Palestinian refugee problem from a rational, historical and unbiased standpoint. The Jews are not devils, nor are they angels. Ditto with the Arabs, Nobody is sugarcoated.
Some on both sides of the issue may disagree with some of the details of this book. I really don't know enough to decide either way. But I do sense that Morris has stumbled on the truth, or what can reasonably pass for the truth, about this complicated and terribly relevant topic.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Readers interested in Benny Morris should read Israeli historian Yehoshua Porath's "War and Remembrance" in the summer 2002 issue of Azure. Porath adds to the Oct. 1995 and April 1990 discussions by Robert Satloff and Shabtai Teveth in Middle Eastern Studies and to Efraim Karsh's excellent book, Fabricating Israeli History. Don't read this book without looking at these critiques.

Why? Morris et al tell readers they have written "new" history of Israel, considering the entire previous historical record as if it were solely propaganda for the Zionist cause. Here, Morris considers Jewish conduct in the 1947 and 1948, and why the Arabs fled.

Morris claims to be the first person to have looked at Israeli archives on the Dalet Plan, a plan to move populations in certain areas. Nevertheless, other scholars show that Morris and his peers in this book misrepresent themselves and the facts.

Firstly, Yigael Alon and Israel Galili, in The Book of the Palmah, gave Walid Khalidi material to argue in 1959 that the Dalet Plan was "the master plan of the Zionists" to expel Palestinians wholesale. Furthermore, Uri Millstein's 1973 History of the Hagana included the entire Dalet Plan text. Official or not, these 1959 and 1973 Israeli Jewish histories, very shortly after the the 1948 war, did not hide what happened, as Morris claims here. Furthermore, Uri Millstein also revisited the topic in his five-volume History of the War of Independence.
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