InEnemies and Neighbors, Ian Black, who has spent over three decades covering events in the Middle East and is currently a fellow at the London School of Economics, offers a major new history of the Arab-Zionist conflict from 1917 to today, published on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.
Laying the historical groundwork in the final decades of the Ottoman Era, when the first Zionist settlers arrived in the Holy Land, Black draws on a wide range of sources—from declassified documents to oral histories to his own vivid on-the-ground reporting—to recreate the major milestones in the most polarizing conflict of the modern age from both sides. In the third year of World War I, the seed was planted for an inevitable clash: Jerusalem Governor Izzat Pasha surrendered to British troops and Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour issued a fateful document sympathizing with the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people.” The chronicle takes us through the Arab rebellion of the 1930s; the long shadow of the Nazi Holocaust; the war of 1948—culminating in Israel’s independence and the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe); the “cursed victory” of the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Palestinian re-awakening; the first and second Intifadas; the Oslo Accords; and other failed peace negotiations and continued violence up to 2017.
Combining engaging narrative with historical and political analysis and cultural insights,Enemies and Neighbors is both an accessible overview and a fascinating investigation into the deeper truths of a history that continues to dominate Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy—one which has preserved Palestinians and Israelis as unequal enemies and neighbors, their conflict unresolved as prospects for a two-state solution have all but disappeared.
Praise forEnemies and Neighbors:
Financial Times,Economist, andSunday Times best books of the year
Picked by Sebastian Faulks for theGuardian’s best books of the year
“Black . . . argues in this sweeping history that Zionism and Palestinian nationalism were irreconcilable from the start, and that peace is as remote as ever.”—New York Times Book Review, “Editors’ Choice”
“Comprehensive and compelling . . . A nuanced, landmark study that has deservedly won plaudits from both Palestinian and Israeli historians.”—Sunday Times (UK)
“[A] wonderful new history . . . Black sprinkles his book with fascinating nuggets . . . For its clarity and balance . . . Black’s work stands tall in a field that is likely to continue growing.”—Economist
“A history of the Arab-Israeli conflict . . . that has achieved the rare distinction of being acclaimed by both Israeli and Palestinian historians for its rigor and impartiality.”—Financial Times, “best books of 2017: politics”
“Ian Black brings a fresh perspective to one of the most closely studied conflicts on Earth, unpacking its complexities with clarity and candour . . . [An] excellent new history.”—Observer (UK)
“Quietly compelling. . . merits close reading for its rich detail and rare subtlety. Denies made-up minds their soothing certainties . . . a reading of uncommon clarity, informed by extensive research and keen insight.”—Spectator (UK)
“A remarkable book that combines sharp insight with absolute impartiality on one of the world’s most complex and intractable conflicts. Black captures the voices of the Palestinians and Israelis with equal compassion, and holds their leaders to account with equal severity. An outstanding accomplishment.”—Eugene Rogan, author ofThe Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920 andThe Arabs: A History
“In a conflict like this, it is impossible to understand the present without being familiar with the past, and this superbly researched and highly readable book helps the reader to do just that. Even those who are well read on the subject will find new insights that had escaped them.”—Raja Shehadeh, author ofWhere the Line Is Drawn: A Tale of Crossings, Friendships, and Fifty Years of Occupation in Israel-Palestine andPalestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape
“When Israeli and Palestinian historians eventually sit down together to compose a single narrative to replace their bitterly conflicting histories, they will find that Ian Black’s book has already done it for them. It is a tragic tale, full of blood, agony and missed opportunities, but this brilliant, dispassionate work leaves us, curiously, optimistic—for he shows us that there is a middle ground.”—Meron Benvenisti, author ofSacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948
“In a field where one has gotten used to one-sided ‘narratives,’ it is refreshing to come across a historical account that simply lays down the facts, gory and tragic as these may be. This book is a must-read for those who, still entertaining hope for a sane exit from the conflict, need to be shocked out of their stupor.”—Sari Nusseibeh, author ofThe Story of Reason in Islam andOnce Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life
“In its fine balance of historical sweep and telling detail, in its sharp analysis of social, economic, and political forces, and in its exceptional fairness to all sides, Ian Black's thorough and incisive history of the struggle between Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel is the book every student of this conflict should read first. A remarkable achievement.”—Nathan Thrall, author ofThe Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine
“The hundred years’ war for Palestine has produced numerous books; Ian Black has written one of the finest and told the story right up to the present day.Enemies and Neighbors displays an admirable ability to present this enormously complicated and tragic conflict in a lucid and riveting style—and pays unusually close attention to how both sides, Arabs and Jews, have seen it at different periods.”—Tom Segev, author ofOne Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate
“Ian Black draws on decades of experience as a journalist in Palestine and Israel to offer a nuanced and thorough account of the century-old conflict over Palestine. A readable and fair assessment of why this conflict has continued unabated for so long.”—Rashid Khalidi, author ofBrokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East
“This detailed and objective account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from 1917 onwards catalogues, in the most enlightening way, the appalling violence and hatred that lie at the heart of today’s dangerous stalemate in the peace process.”—Jeremy Greenstock, former British ambassador to the United Nations
“A tremendous amount of research has gone intoEnemies and Neighbors; the writing is straightforward, fast-paced and lucid; and it pulled me right to the end, despite the heavy nature of its topic. An excellent read that offers a true portrayal of the situation.”—Fida Jiryis, Palestinian writer, contributor toKingdom of Olives and Ash
“An astute, evenhanded study on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that rehashes the history of the Palestinian-Jewish divide . . . It is a familiar story, but Black tells it cogently and evenly . . . A lucid, fair-minded primer for the new generation of leaders.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a long history . . . Readers are in dire need of a guide to the complex struggle; now we have one with Black’s exceptional history . . . Black goes beyond the ongoing political dialog to peer into the everyday life of average Israeli and Palestinian citizens . . . A valuable work for anyone interested in trying to untangle the complexities of this ceaseless struggle.”—Library Journal
“A comprehensive new history of the Israel-Palestine conflict . . . A meticulous, blow-by-blow chronicle of the events of the past hundred years in the Holy Land, drawing as scrupulously as its author can on sources from both sides of the conflict.”—Irish Times
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