When did the Arab-Israeli conflict begin? Some discussions focus on the 1967 war, some go back to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and others look to the beginning of the British Mandate in 1922. Alan Dowty, however, traces the earliest roots of the conflict to the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, arguing that this historical approach highlights constant clashes between religious and ethnic groups in Palestine. He demonstrates that existing Arab residents viewed new Jewish settlers as European and shares evidence of overwhelming hostility to foreigners from European lands. He shows that Jewish settlers had tremendous incentive to minimize all obstacles to settlement, including the inconvenient hostility of the existing population. Dowty's thorough research reveals how events that occurred over 125 years ago shaped the implacable conflict that dominates the Middle East today.
1. Palestine before Zionism
2. Russian Jews before Zionism
3. Two Worlds Collide
4. Unneighborly Relations
5. Truth from the Land of Israel
6. The Arena Expands
7. Battle Lines
None of the other published material on this topic has canvassed and assessed as widely as Alan Dowty has done in this work. This is an original narrative and a compellingly told story.
Donna Robinson Divine, author of Exiled in the Homeland: Zionism and the Return to Mandate Palestine
A well-written, well-balanced book that takes account of both Jewish and Arab attitudes toward Jewish settlement in Palestine prior to the First World War.
Anita Shapira, author of Israel: A History