Rashid Khalidi’s telling of the story of the loss of his homeland and its gradual invasion is a deeply personal one, and is unlike other more detached accounts I have read. The author hails from a prominent family in the traditional Palestinian elite in the city of Jerusalem. He breaks down the history of Palestine’s colonisation uniquely by conveying the sense of a century-long war in which a number of enemies and invaders are involved.
Starting with the 1917 Balfour Declaration issued by the eponymous British foreign secretary, he takes us through Britain’s occupation of Palestine from the end of World War One, which facilitated the Zionist plan to “establish a national home for the Jewish people” there. The Palestinian struggle to prevent the Zionist takeover started slowly as the indigenous people woke up to the plans backed by Britain to increase Jewish migration to Palestine while international financiers pumped huge sums of money into an independent Jewish economy. As far as Khalidi is concerned, the Balfour Declaration was the first stage of his titular “hundred years’ war on Palestine”.
The stage was then set for the “declarations of war” in the form of the 1947 UN Partition Plan; UN Security Council Resolution 242; the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon; the 1993 Oslo peace accords, and Israeli leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa (also known as the Temple Mount) in 2000, which essentially represented Israel’s domination over the holy city at a location
This book is on the shortlist for the Palestine Book Awards 2020, please click here to read the full review on the Palestine book awards site.