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The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood Paperback – September 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"A first-rate and up-to-date historical and political analysis of the Palestinian predicament."—Publishers Weekly's 100 Best Books issue
"In a refreshing contrast to the yammering bazaar of complaint and allegation that has dominated American public discussion of the Middle East since Sept. 11, 2001, The Iron Cage is a patient and eloquent work, ranging over the whole of modern Palestinian history from World War I to the death of Yasser Arafat. Reorienting the Palestinian narrative around the attitudes and tactics of the Palestinians themselves, Khalidi lends a remarkable illumination to a story so wearily familiar it is often hard to believe anything new can be found within."—Jonathan Shainin, Salon
"Khalidi uses history to provide a clear-eyed view of the region and assess the prospects for peace. He strives successfully for even-handedness."—Anthony Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gideon's Trumpet and Make No Law
"A work of forceful historical analysis written in a spirit of self-examination."—Bashir Abu-Manneh, The Nation
"Magisterial in scope, meticulous in its attention to detail, and decidedly dispassionate in its analysis, The Iron Cage is destined to be a benchmark of its genre." —Joel Schalit, Tikkun
"Khalidi, tackling 'historical amnesia,' brilliantly analyses the structural handicap which hobbled the Palestinians throughout 30 years of British rule . . . Khalidi restores the Palestinians to something more than victims, acknowledging that for all their disadvantages, they have played their role and can (and must) still do so to determine their own fate." —Ian Black, Guardian
Top Customer Reviews
I personally found this book to be quite well balanced on both sides, Khalidi aruges that the Palestinians are partially responsible for their failed state, due to poor political decision making, so how can this be an entirely biased thesis? I really wish people would read the books they review.
To what extent does he manage in the main part of the book to fulfil that aim? The first chapter does indeed look at the internal weaknesses of the Palestinians compared with the Jewish immigrants: they were less educated (though better than the Arabs in the neighbouring countries); they had fewer economic resources; the majority was rural rather than urban; they were less united; and they failed to build up the infrastructures of future statehood.
But then in the second chapter, he places the blame for this latter failing on the British Mandate. The Mandate for Palestine incorporated the entire text of the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the national character of the Jews, while failing to mention the national character of the Palestinians. The mandatory authorities insisted in all the encounters with Palestinian nationalists that acceptance of the Balfour Declaration was a prerequisite if the Palestinians were to be given representative institutions and the kind of status that the Jewish Agency enjoyed.Read more ›
Khalidi's is a book about two histories, intertwined to the point of suffocation and anhilation; namely, that of the Palestinians and to some extent the Israeli's very little thanks. Yet, such responses are symptoms of the injury and wounds that don't heal. And it is because each side refuses the Other, the experience of the Other, and the arguments of the Other, that such a book or books are desperately needed. Khalidi is an eminant scholar and a highly respected one. It is unlikely that any one can do better than he does in covering the topics he covers with considerable skill and sensitivity. This is a must read, especially for those who most violently refuse. One might say that Khalidi is attempting to de-toxify one of the most historically toxic problems in the Middle East.Read more ›
He shows how in the 1920s and 1930s, the British Empire deprived the Palestinians of all democracy to stop them defeating the Zionist project. The Mandate for Palestine, like the Balfour Declaration, made no reference to Palestinians or Arabs, only to `non-Jewish communities' who had only civil and religious, not national or political, rights. By contrast, both Mandate and Declaration asserted that the `Jewish people' had the right to a `national home'.
Khalidi notes the British Empire's `vast experience in thwarting the will of majorities in different countries'. He shows in detail how it divided, diverted and distracted all opposition to its rule. The Empire's rulers always presented the colonies as made up of incompatible religious and ethnic communities, who would be at each other's throats without the benevolent presence of the British.
Khalidi dissects the Zionist myth that `seven Arab armies' invaded Israel in 1948-49. The fiercest fighting was the Jordanian army's defence of areas assigned by the UN to the Arab state, and of the UN-defined area around Jerusalem, against Israeli offensives.
He records that in 1991, the first Bush Government pledged "to oppose settlement activity in the territories occupied in 1967, which remains an obstacle to peace." But the US government broke its word: it backed the Israelis throughout the 1990s building new settlements to reinforce their illegal occupation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellently explains why Palestine has failed so far, as well as regional history from an Arab perspective; however, does not place enough emphasis on the fact that rejecting... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rita B.
This book traces the trials and tribulations of the area known as Palestine from the signing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the implemation of the British mandate in from... Read morePublished 6 months ago by G.I.Forbes
Worth reading from the perspective of oppressed people in occupied territory, but skewed from that perspective.Published 6 months ago by Robert S. Hoffman
A very good book that highlights the failed choices and decisions on the part of Palestinian leaders and civilians within this conflict. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Marie Nimie
The truth, plainly stated. Very insightful and reliable documentary, by the most articulate Palestinian voice available to Americans. Khalidi has done the world a huge favor.Published 16 months ago by Terre Schill
Rashid Khalidi may be the foremost historian of the Palestinian people in the United States today. Compared to other major academic historians of the Arab world, my experience with... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Mikhail B
Mr. Khalidi does not tell the story of the Palestinian struggle for statehood. He tells the BUREAUCRATIC story of the Palestinian struggle for statehood. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Joanna
Well written. Offers a view of the conflict from the Palestinian perspective.Published 22 months ago by Cindy Durand
The "Iron Cage" provides an overview of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from a Palestinian perspective. Read morePublished on January 12, 2014 by David Lindsay