Arabs and Jews describe the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948 in completely different ways. Among Arabs, and especially Palestinians, the events of that year are known as the nakba - the catastrophe, the trauma, the disaster. For Jews, and in particular for Israelis, their victory in the war of 1948 is a veritable miracle in which, against tremendous odds and through heroic military effort, the Jewish community succeeded in thwarting attempts by the Arab states to destroy it.
In this book Ilan Pappé integrates new archival material with the findings of recent scholarship to present the reader with a comprehensive and general history of the origins and consequences of the 1948 war. He shows, in sharp contrast to the recollections and myths of both sides, that the military events of 1948 were not decisive. The victory of the Zionist organization and the fate of the Palestinians was determined by politicians on both sides - in the discussions and decisions of the United Nations in 1947-8 and in the Arab League - long before a shot had been fired. Pappé argues that Israel's failure to take advantage of the genuine opportunity for peace with the Arabs at the UN-sponsored Lausanne Conference in 1949 resulted in the prolonged and tragic conflict between Israel and the Arab states still very much alive today.
Ilan Pappe is one of Israel's most prominent historians. Having taught for many years at the University of Haifa, he is now Chair of History at the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of numerous books, including The Modern Middle East and The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (IB Tauris), and is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books.
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction 1. The Diplomatic Battle: UN Discussions, February 1947-May 1948 2. The Civil War in Palestine 3. The Making of the Refugee Problem 4. The Arab World Goes to War, or Does it? The General Arab Preparation 5. Seeking a Comprehensive Peace – Count Bernadotte's Mission and Development of the Military Compaigns 6. The Complete Takeover and the Israeli Struggle against Bernadotte's Legacy 7. The Armistice Agreements 8. From Meditation to Conciliation: The Establishment of the Palestine Conciliation Commission 9. The Lausanne Conference 10. The Final Quest for Peace Conclusions Notes Bibliography