By Loren Lybarger (Princeton, NY: Princeton)
This book is an admirable effort to present the Palestinian "narrative" and bash
Examples of these abound, and these grossly diminish the otherwise brilliant exposition of the Palestinian narrative as they, and the author, believe and conceive it. Still, this is not supposed to be the author's personal diary nor the Palestinians' diary of the two intifadas, which they initiated. This is the "red" (or should we say "green") thread of the whole book: when the Palestinians break their commitments, engage in terrorism and kill thousands of Israelis, that is "understood" to be the result of the "Occupation," as if there could be any justification of killing civilians. And when Israel retaliates by eliminating one by one and at great risk, the leaders and planners of those killings, they are taken to task for "targeted assassinations." I wonder what Lybarger would have said had Hitler and Saddam (both adulated by the Palestinians for their anti-Jewish exploits) been eliminated by the Allies.
I shall dwell on some of the more serious omissions to prevent uninformed readers from falling into the trap of what could have been a serious study had it not merely followed the author's inclinations, but abided by the rules of scholarship: evidence and documentation, fair assessment of the pros and cons, illumination of all sides of a conflict even when one cannot hide one's biases, and looking at all the available data, whether they support or destroy one's theses. To mislead by omitting information is as unworthy as a straightforward falsification of facts.
From the outset we are told that the Palestinians adjusted their political thinking to the changing fortunes of the conflict, which is fair enough. But when we go into the details, we immediately hear how big imperialistic
We next hear of
Then we are told that
The author wrongly reads what happened during the Intifadas, especially the second one, launched by the Palestinians (by their own admission) after they scuttled (by President Clinton's admission) the 2000
Any fair-minded person who witnessed the Oslo Accords being signed by Israel as a step toward reaching a settlement with the Palestinians, provided they abandoned terrorism (the first clause of the Oslo DOP), which was followed by unrelenting acts of terror against Israel, will not fail to appreciate the bitter dialectics of terror-repression. To complain about the "brutality" of one party while ignoring the horrors done by the other, however noble their goals may be, is like describing a boxing match by singling out the punches delivered by one party and ignoring those of the other.
Finally, what brings this cluster of omissions and misjudgments to its climax is the question of
Alas, I cannot but dismiss this book, for it is an unscholarly and biased account despite all its claims to the contrary. If heeded its questionable conclusions are dangerous prescriptions. Alas, too, for all non-politically-correct scholars who continue to believe in truth, fairness of judgment, and firmness of fact when faced with such flimsiness of wishful thinking and hallucinatory views of events.
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