Read: March 2023

Inspiration: Wanted to understand the history of Palestine and the developments that led up to the current political environment; recommended by a friend


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine”, published in 2020 by author, journalist, and professor Rashid Khalidi, is a historical account of the conflict between the Zionist movement and the Palestinian people from the late 19th century to the present day. Weaving in his unique family history in Palestine, Khalidi argues that the Zionist movement’s goal of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine was always at odds with the Palestinian population’s rights and aspirations. He provides a detailed analysis of the political, economic, and social factors that have contributed to the ongoing conflict, including the role of colonialism, imperialism, and regional geopolitics. The book also examines the devastating consequences of the conflict, such as displacement, dispossession, and violence. Overall, “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine” provides a comprehensive and compelling perspective on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and offers insights into the challenges of achieving a just and lasting peace in the region.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

1898/99 Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi (ancestor of author) had high rank in Jerusalem politics/Palestine (part of Ottoman Empire then), early stage of Theodore Herzl Zionist movement/ambitions, Yusuf write to Herzl with respect for Jewish movement though express concerns for indigenous population in Palestine—view as aligned groups, same origins with Abraham, but Herzl deflect saying Jewish migration to Palestine benefit all there, Yusuf Diya and Herzl exchange was original dialogue b/w leader of Arabs in Palestine and founder of Zionism, post-WW1 British Mandate involvement accelerate exploitation of indigenous Palestine in favor of Jewish immigration, WW2 and Nazi persecution further bring more Jews to supplant Arabs on Palestine (with support of GBR/US), consistently framed as Palestine to be aided by civilized/progressive nature of Jews but really a cover story, Nov 2 1917 Balfour Declaration by British sec of state outline active support for jewish home in Palestine, aided by weakened Ottoman control post WW2 and suffering of war, 94% of Palestine was Arab at time of BD (not acknowledged in an exclusivist declaration), 1922 League of Nations outline governance principles in Palestine with only reference to Jewish rights (no mention of arabs/palestinians) and also cement British control, British handling of Palestine contrast with independence granted to other Ottoman states (eg syria), 1933 Nazi rise spark flood of 60k Jews to Palestine—suddenly 30% of population and growing (incredibly consequential), Peel Commission of 1937 propose partition Palestine 17% to jews and rest to Transjordan—spark revolt and strikes which killed 15% of Arabs in Palestine, by 1938 fighting divide Arabs for those who wanted to compromise and those more willing, Nov 29 1947 Resolution 181 at UN provided for partition and by 1949, 80% of arabs in Palestine forced from home—known as The Nakba (Palestinian Catastrophe), Churchill pro Zionism, then post WW2 Truman as well—US surpass British power as dominant actor, Palestinian and Arab disunity/fragmentation plague any organized resistance, Nakba 1947-48 first phase (May 15 1948 Israel statehood) as Palestinians fight back vs UNGA 181, King Abdullah of Transjordan work with Zionists secretely to get some of Palestine for himself, Peel partition 1937 gave Zionists 17% Palestine then upped to 56% then continue to be pushed as Palestinian ethnic cleansing commence, US and USSR both support Israel, surrounding Arab states struggle as new refugees cause turbulence, Jordan restrict West Bank/E. Jeruslam, Israel/Egypt restrict Gaza Strip for Palestinians, Ben Gurion in 50s notably violent in Gaza strip (even encroach on neighboring Egypt) to repress resistance with disproportionate force, Egypt arm to resist but Suez War 1956 occur as Israel/France/UK occupy Gaza and Egypt (US not support), ’57 war over and Gaza devastated by attacks, Suez War ultimately arise from Palestinian Question and opposition to stolen land, Six Day War in June 1967 never in doubt—all assessments say Israel to win easily but also say no Egypt attack imminent despite mvmt in Sinai Peninsula preceding, nonetheless Israel destroy Egypt/Syria/Jordan forces with ease to take Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, West Bank, Golan Heights in 6 days, UNSC Resolution 262 post 6 day war cement Israel’s position—affirm post 1949 borders (ignore issues predating) and not mention Palestinian people at all—give Israel pretext to claim land and dismiss Palestinian people (reduced issue to state-to-state, bilateral arrangements excl. Palestinians), Yasser Arafat founded group called Fatah as university student—frustrated by lack of action, grow in 60s, Egypt led formation of PLO under Arab League in 1964 to keep control of Palestinian nationalism but unravel post 1967 war and Arafat become chairmon of PLO as take over (there til death in 2004), irony of Palestinian nationalism resurgence post 1967 war defeat—challenge UNSC 242 resolution attempt to dismiss Palestinians, one of PLOs struggles was communicating with West public to present new narrative—never succeed there to change opinion of public, through 70s Mossad led by Ehud Barak assassinate PLO leaders to liquidate mvmt (politicide), other neighbor states kill PLO actors but not to end mvmt (to control it to their will rather), Mossad also regularly target scholars/speakers not military leaders, Israel invade Lebanon/Beirut 1982 as PLO base—50k killed/wounded, lasted 10 weeks—focused destruction of Palestinian nationalism/occupy key organizing area for PLO, indiscriminate in West Beirut and actually not really kill PLO leaders and instead civilians), seige approved by US and arab gvt’s stand idle more or less despite verbal condemnation, PLO come to terms with Lebanon and Israel/US to leave beirut (Eleven Point Plan) and get assurances of safety but shortly after Israel attack further and massacre civilians with deliberate actions, 1982 war spark rise of Hezbollah in wake (many fought alongside PLO), Israel/US not truly held to account for massacres, Beirut explusion lead to Palestinians reconvening in Palestine—eventually drive 1987 Intifad, First Intifada sparked Dec 1987 and last thru ’93, Yitzhak Rabin respond with irom fist of violence, Intifada led by young Palestinians across occupied areas—locally driven and unified and help shift public perception of Palestinian cause with media coverage, however new local leaders weaken Arafat hold with PLO (PLO largely in Tunis vs on the ground), new challenges for leadership, Hamas founded 1987 initially with Israel support to weaken PLO, Dec 1988 PLO agree to principles of two state partition, Arafat accept Israel right to exist to engage in dialogue, however PLO/Arafat naive to US intentions in dialogue and US/Israel rel’ship, intifada gave PLO a chance with public shift but leadership fail to grasp, PLO attempt neutrality in Gulf War 90–aligned with Iraq, backfire on Arafat, summer ’91 Madrid negotiations where Arafat/PLO invited—but really just for show/Israel had leverage, Gulf States turn away from PLO once support Iraq/Saddam, particularly as Kuwait supported PLO pre war but then left hanging by Arafat allegiances/miscalculation, Bush and Baker drive talks but Israel continue to build settlements in Occupied Territories as negotiate, then Bush lose to Clinton and new negotiators in with similar Israel lean, Dennis Ross key conduit who was fervently pro-Israel and bias all talks, Shamir gvt replaced by Rabin but no less hardline on Palestine, Rabin focus as well on Syria talks over Golan (dual purpose as weaken PLO), June 93 in parallel with Olso process Rabin and Arafat hold secret talks over security—let PLO security enter occupied territories, first direct dialogue with Israel and PLO—to US shock—lead to sept ’93 Declaration of Principles signing at white house with both parties (Israel recognize Pal people but not state, Pal recognize Israel—ultimately worse for Pal), Oslo I and Oslo II Accords in ’93 and ’95 were Arafat attempt at having PR wins but disastrous deals for Palestinians that strengthen israeli hand (no deal would have been better), post Oslo life Gaza and E Jerusalem incredibly restrictive, Hamas grow from Muslim Brotherhood in opposition to PLO (more violent resistance to Israel), Camp David failure b/w Clinton, Ehud Barak and Arafat further Hamas cause, spark Second Intifada Sept 2000 when Sharon visit Temple Mount as campaign to replace Barak, huge violent surge (multiples more dead in Second Intifada), big setback for Palestinian cause as suicide bombing spike by Hamas and Islamic Jihad hurt public perception as well as so much damage to land, Arafat died 2004 and Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazin) take over since (no election since ’05 though and rules ineffectively), ’06 surprise Hamas annouce candidacy in legislature of Palestinian Authority (i.e, seem to acknowledge two state solution which PA advocate) and won majority—Hamas and Fatah still split and US oppose Hamas inclusion in PA (cut off funding), US try to unseat Hamas via Fatah suppory—divide amongst Palestinians grow as Fatah succomb to US, ’07 Hamas take over Gaza and Israel cut off all access and attack soon after for years with disproprotionate force, Dahiya Doctrine refers to town near Beirut that Israel leveled in retaliation—promised to use extreme force to those who launch attacks—use military explosives in civilian areas, using US weapons as well which supposed to be for “legitimate self defense”, US politicians don’t do much to further Pal cause given economic interest of donors and lack of economy in Pal (sole extent is condemning specific Israeli acts but about all), other Arab actors passive in support and subservient to US (like Saudi), 3 wars on Gaza Strip were under Obama and did nothing material—could have fought thru opposition as did with Iran deal if really cared

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