The Palestinian People: A History

The Palestinian People: A History

The Palestinian People: A History

The Palestinian People: A History

Excerpt

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, powerful economic and political forces at work in Europe began to affect everyday life in the Middle East, eventually impelling its peoples to redefine both their communities and their visions. Such change did not come without great struggle, continuing in one form or another until the present. Social boundaries—those factors defining insiders and outsiders and what binds the insiders together—have been as much a source of the struggle as the political boundaries of the new Middle Eastern states. In the case of the Palestinians, the process of redefinition has been obscured, and even transformed, by the ongoing conflict with the Jews.

The creation of a nation involves a melding of values and myths, of people's imaginations and their identities. It demands leadership, but also a social foundation empowering the leaders and establishing the limits of what they can achieve. In this book, we are less interested in protocols and diplomacy than in the dynamics and beliefs of peasants, urban workers, merchants, and landowners, and their relationships to the leaders. For particularly with al-Nakba— . . .

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