“Israel/Palestine” by Alan Dowty— The Conflict

Dowty, Alan. “Israel / Palestine”, (Hot Spots in Global Politics), 4th Edition, Polity, 2018.

The Conflict

Amos Lassen

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is so intense that we really do not know what to call it or how to talk about it.

In this fully revised and expanded fourth edition of his highly respected introductory text, Alan Dowty looks at and attempts to define the conflict by putting it in broad historical perspective, identifying its roots, and tracing its evolution up to today. We gain a clear analytic framework for understanding transformations over time, and in doing so, the myths of an “age-old” conflict fall away. This is not just a recitation of historical detail; it is a clear overview that serves as a road map through the conflicting claims. It has now been updated to include recent developments, such as the clashes in the Gaza Strip and the latest diplomatic initiatives. It presents the opposed perspectives of the two sides in full, leaving readers to make their own evaluations of the issues. “The book thus expresses fairly and objectively the concerns, hopes, fears, and passions of both sides, making it clear why this conflict is waged with such vehemence – and how, for all that, the gap between the two sides has narrowed over time.”

Alan Dowty illuminates history with this book. “Israel/Palestine” is an authoritative text on the Arab/Israeli conflict. It combines balance and examination of the responsibilities of all sides as well an opportunity to evaluate critically their differences and the commonalities out of which the conflict could be resolved.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most emotionally charged conflict in the world and both the passion and emotion of it is often appears many of the books written on the conflict. Alan Dowty has done something that I thought was impossible  to in writing a book about the conflict. He remains balanced between the two sides.



1 Introduction: Two Worlds Collide 
Dispelling Myths 
Defining the Conflict 
The Setting: Ottoman Palestine 

2 The Jewish Story 
A Fossilized Relic? 
The Theme of Persecution 
“Come, Let Us Go” 
Herzl and the Second Aliya 
First Encounters 

3 The Arab Story 
The Glory of Islam 
The Rise of the West 
Palestine and Palestinism 
First Encounters 
The Debut of Arab Nationalism 

4 The Emergence of Israel 
The British Mandate 
A Mischievous Pretense? 
Holocaust and Partition 
The War of Independence/An-Naqba: 
The Second Stage of the Conflict 
Nasser and Nationalism 

5 The Re-emergence of the Palestinians 
The War that No One Wanted? 
The Peculiar Legacy of 1967 
The Decade of Sadat: Entering the Third Stage of the Conflict 
The Lebanese Tangle 
Shaking Things Up: The First Intifada 

6 The First Pass at Peace 
The Oslo Breakthrough 
The Rocky Road to Peace 
What Went Wrong? 
The Roof Falls In 

7 The Fourth Stage of the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict 
The End of the Arafat Era 
Israel Turns to Unilateralism 
A Turning Point: Ideology Prevails 

8 The Impasse that Remains 
The End of the Two-State Solution? 
Territory and Settlements 
Security Issues 
A General Prognosis 

9 The Perfect Conflict 
Right against Right? 
A Practical Solution 
Building Foundations: Extremists and Illusions 

Further Reading
Internet Links

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