Although I'm a relatively big political guy, this weblog was never meant to be political. Hence, I never thought that I would one day review a political book at some point. But this one pertains to a reality we see on the evening news basically every day. Which was, in the end, what compelled me to share this book with you.
The book in question is Tom Segev's One Palestine, Complete. In a nutshell, it's a history of the Arabs and the Jews under the British Mandate (1917-1948). I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever asked the question, "How did it all begin?"
At the beginning, Palestine was a rather remote region of the Ottoman Empire. Following World War I, the British took control of the country. Both Arabs and Jews wished for independence, and both sides assumed that they would gain it under British sponsorship. And yet, just before the conquest of the country, His Magesty's Government announced, in the infamous Belfour Declaration, that it viewed with favour the aspiration of the Zionist Jews to establish a "national home" for the Jewish people in Palestine.
The book tracks the rise of both national movements and their inexorable advance toward inevitable confrontation. It contains a wealth of information and is really insightful.
Drawing on a vast number of archival material, private letters and personal diaries, the pace of the novel is at times very sluggish. It could have been a good hundred pages shorter.
Regardless of your political position in regard to this conflict, I believe that it makes for interesting reading. Definitely not for everyone, but a good book all the same.