39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2004
Mazin Qumsiyeh's Sharing the Land of Canaan is a beautiful book. Suffusing the history of this Middle Eastern region and its peoples, is Qumsiyeh's own history as a member of the Palestinian diaspora. Thus, the book has a personal perspective underlying the historical, scientific, cultural and environmental facts brought out by Qumsiyeh, himself a scientist and human rights activist. He proposes for the region, one single multi-cultural state, in which the rights of all peoples of the region, Muslim, Christian and Jew, are respected and preserved, and those who have been displaced and disenfranchised be granted the right, under the United Nations Charter, and principles of humanitarian justice, to return to their homeland. Mr. Qumsiyeh considers all the objections and possible problems that might be caused by this course of action. But his conclusion, a convincing one, is that there is no other just and viable course for the Middle East, and, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international principles of justice, the only viable way to peace in the region.
Mr. Qumsiyeh skillfully demonstrates that co-existence is not an impossibility, but, rather the only solution to the problems facing the area today known as Israel-Palestine. This book is required reading for all those who seek to learn more about bringing a just peace to the Land of Canaan.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2008
If you want to read one book about Palestine/Israel that will profoundly affect you and challenge your perspective, check out "Sharing the Land of Canaan". Mazin Qumsiyeh is one of the brave yet growing few who refuse to succumb to the media portrayal of Canaan as a land forever at war. He dares to see a workable peace between all the region's inhabitants, a peace he so convincingly and eloquently paints before our eyes. This book delves deep within the confines of history, going back from ancient times to the brink of this century, and extracts a wealth of little-known yet important facts about the history of the region and its conflicts. Even while considering myself a well-read expert on the region, I had learned many things for the first time from the pages of this little book.
Though concise, "Sharing the Land of Canaan" is very comprehensive in its coverage, with chapters on ancient Canaan, Genetics, Palestinian Refugees, Zionism, Israeli Laws, Jerusalem, Human Rights, Terrorism, Economics, and more. Dr. Qumsiyeh succeeds where no other writer has: condensing all the complex facets of this human conflict into so few pages, without missing anything of importance. The great thing about this book is its wealth of quotes from primary sources, some of them often hard to find. A wealth of notes and a suggested reading section after every chapter make it an excellent starting point for learning more about this Biblical land.
While common wisdom deems peace impossible or beyond the horizon, this book demonstrates how the current peace processes and visions of peace are in themselves the obstacle towards achieving a lasting peace. He outlines a step-by-step in which you, dear reader, can play a part if you choose to miss this opportunity and stay on the sidelines, listening to the media pundits making the conflict sound unintelligible.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was written by a Palestinian whose family initially were expelled from their home in 1948. It shows great generousity and humanity: the writer is not embittered but rather is willing to share the country, which he names "Canaan" after the ancient inhabitants of Palestine, thus by-passing the contentious terms of Palestine or Israel.
When I read it, I felt this was precisely my own dream. I am a former Israeli (Jewish) citizen and would highly recommend this book to readers unfamiliar with the history of Zionism who would like to learn more about the bare facts.
Equally I would highly recommend it to Zionists who are not completely brainwashed and are willing at least to listen to different views.
The book should also be part of 6th form students' curriculum or at least available in any college library.
2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2008
Qumsiyeh is a biologist by training. He is supposedly an expert in genetics. Nevertheless, in this book he promotes the theory that Jews of European descent are not related to other Jews, but are descended from converts of the Khazar tribe. True experts have investigated this theory from every possible angle, and found, for example, that European and Middle Eastern Jews have a common genetic origin, especially on the male side, and that Yiddish (the language spoken by European Jews in the past) shows no sign of Turkic (Khazar) influence. If you can't trust Qumsiyeh on an issue supposedly within his expertise when it conflicts with his political agenda, what can you trust?
6 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2005
Just who is Mazin Qumsiyeh? Is he someone we can trust when he writes about the Levant?
No, as we can see at the following website:
Qumsiyeh very seriously misquotes Herzl to make a point, leaving out much of the text to give a totally misleading impression about what Herzl said. And he also comes up with what is implied to be a paraphrase of what Herzl said but is in fact a pure fabrication, totally different from what Herzl was discussing. And there's more.
The lesson is clear. We can't trust anything Qumsiyeh says.
What is Qumsiyeh's reaction to all this? He calls this expose a personal attack, and he implies that CAMERA, a very reputable organization, is in fact against human rights and that he, Qumsiyeh, is fighting for human rights!
Given all this, I did not have high hopes for this book. And sure enough, the book was at least as bad as I feared. Qumsiyeh scrambles around to find excuses for denying human rights to Jews. He tries telling us that Jews are actually descended from Khazars, although even if that were true, there is no reason why that ought to make them subhumans unworthy of rights. He blames the plight of Arab refugees from their Levantine homes on the Jews, rather than on the Arabs and the United Nations. He looks for excuses to swipe all or part of the Jewish capital, Jerusalem, from Israel. He pretends that Zionism is something other than simply the application of human rights for all to some humans (specifically, Jews). And he pretends that Zionism is somehow contrary to human rights, not an integral part of them.
Qumsiyeh does supply us with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an excellent document from 1948. I think that any rational person would see that the anti-Zionists, not the Zionists, have been violating this. People (including Jews) are entitled to rights, whatever their religion in Article 2, they are entitled to life and liberty in Article 3, they are entitled to equality before the law in Article 6, they are entitled to freedom of movement and residence in Article 13, they have the right to seek asylum in Article 14, and they have the right to not be deprived of property arbitrarily in Article 17. Most importantly, Article 29 says that these rights and freedoms may not be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations (not the whims of the UN but its purposes and principles), and Article 30 says that "nothing in the Declaration may be interpreted as implying that any State, group, or person has a right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not stop the author from saying that Jewish settlements (but not Arab ones) in the disputed West Bank "are illegal and must be dismantled." And while he thinks that Jews ought to be allowed to remain in Israel, his reason is that although they are simply colonizers, in practice, it would be too tough to remove them!
In real life, a big step towards peace would be a big Arab apology for all the aggression, theft, and lies. But Qumsiyeh wants it to be the other way around, with the victims apologizing to their attackers.
What is this guy's problem? Is he really simply a boastfully wicked man, maybe with a curled mustache, sneering that he's going to support murder, lies, and theft, doing whatever damage he can to human civilization along the way? Probably not. Well, then why does he think that Jews are so special, and need to be denied the rights of life, liberty, property, and refuge? Does he think that Jews are not really human, but are just Arab dogs? Some people have expressed such sentiments, but I suspect that Qumsiyeh does not ascribe to this.
My wild guess is that somehow, the erroneous idea that some, most, or all Jewish land in the Middle East is stolen has gotten hardwired into Qumsiyeh's brain. I suspect that facts and logic just do not count for him on this topic. Jews may have paid high prices for Levantine land, but that just does not matter. To him, I guess it's all Arab land, no matter what prices the Arabs sold it to the Jews for, and no matter how often they sold it. As for the disputed West Bank, well it appears unthinkable to Qumsiyeh to question the illegality of a Jewish presence there. The problem with all this is that if Arabs do in fact grab most or all of the West Bank as if by right, and expel the Jews from it, it will be a horrible precedent. The Arabs will in fact have stolen the land and ethnically cleansed it, and others may then find it easier to steal land, quite arbitrarily, and evict the inhabitants.
Of course, even if the Jews had stolen some land, given the fact that Israel is so land-poor and is making such good use of the land it has, most rational people would simply demand that Israel pay for the land, not "return" it (and certainly not give it to folks who have indicated an intent to dissolve Israel itself). But Qumsiyeh doesn't even mention this. He's only willing to give monetary compensation to those who refuse to take the land back. And the people he wants to return the land to aren't the owners. They aren't the ones who improved the land or paid taxes on it. As near as I can tell, they're just the alleged heirs of those who allegedly lost land, either by fleeing it, abandoning it, or actually getting it swiped!
We all need to reject this terrible book.