Palestine: A Personal History
The son of a Palestinian father and an English mother, and raised by her in south London, Karl Sabbagh was only a child when the United Nations voted in 1947 to divide Palestine into two states, depriving thousands of Arabs of the land that had been theirs for centuries and triggering a struggle between Jews and Arabs that is being fought to this day. While the Palestine question is at the root of Muslims' hatred of the West, few Westerners have an understanding of Palestinian history and culture. Sabbagh's personal history of Palestine is an attempt both to illuminate and to come to terms with his family's--and his people's--turbulent past. Palestine and the Palestinians have existed for centuries, their roots in the melange of tribes, ethnic groups, and religions that have lived in the area for thousands of years. From 3000 BC, the land has been controlled by Philistines, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Turks, and the British. For at least a thousand years, Palestine was primarily Arab. Using his family tree as a guide, Sabbagh details how the descendants of these original inhabitants were forced from their homes into refugee settlements on the West Bank and Gaza, and have been dispersed around the world. Their desire to return to the land they feel is rightly theirs is at the root of an endless cycle of discord and violence. Palestine is a panoramic survey that explores the political and religious barriers that have undermined two peoples' ability to create a lasting peace.
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