The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Synopsis

The wrenching situation in the Middle East, recent events have shown, is as complex as it is volatile. In this immensely learned and clarifying volume-here updated and issued in paper for the first time-the Ruethers trace the tortured and contested history of Israel/Palestine from biblical times through the Diaspora, the development of Zionism, the creation of the modern state of Israel, and the subsequent conflict with Arab and Palestinian nationalism.

Magisterial in its grasp of the historical, political, economic, and religious roots of the conflict, The Wrath of Jonah also offers convincing analysis of the moral and political dilemmas facing Israelis and Palestinians today. Though they see possibilities for peace, the Ruethers are forthright about what they and others see as Israel's betrayal of its own original mandate. Their purpose, state the Ruethers, "continues to be to make a modest contribution to truthful historical accountability that must underlie the quest for justice, without which there can be no 'peace.'"

Excerpt

The first edition of The Wrath of Jonah was completed in mid-1988, in the midst of the first intifada. At that time the toll of the dead and wounded Palestinians, confiscated land, and bulldozed houses and olive trees mounted daily. We were associated with the Palestine Human Rights Campaign and kept abreast of daily events on the ground through the DataBase Project on Palestine Human Rights. At that time there was an energy and spirit among Palestinians. There was a sense that injustice was finally being confronted and that eventually the world would hear the Palestinian cry and respond. Nongovernmental organizations, boycott committees, and self-help projects abounded in the Occupied Territories, reflecting a new spirit of creativity.

As we write thirteen years later, much has changed on the surface, but the deep structures of Israeli oppression of Palestinians remain the same, although in worsened form. the Oslo “peace process,” initiated in 1993, made possible Israel’s recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, and seven years of negotiations for the terms of Palestinian self-government. Initially this created euphoria among many Palestinians and around the world that a peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians was at hand.

Unfortunately, Israel seized this opportunity, not to make real peace, but to try to negotiate the terms of the surrender of the Palestinians to an Israeli scheme of colonial apartheid. the Palestinians would be locked into separate “cantons,” without real sovereignty, means of travel, communication, or development, without resources of land, water, or adequate employment, economically in abject subjugation to Israel, while being charged to collect their own garbage and maintain the submission of . . .

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