This is more about the gun than the olive branch, perhaps because the latter is a stunted foliage in the Middle East. For...

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THE GUN AND THE OLIVE BRANCH: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East

This is more about the gun than the olive branch, perhaps because the latter is a stunted foliage in the Middle East. For almost a hundred years Arab nationalists and Zionists have struggled over the same piece of territory, Palestine. David Hirst, Middle East correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, records the highlights of this dispute, about which he does not attempt to be neutral: in coming down on the side of the Arabs, he redresses the balance in the literature which is generally recognized as pro-Zionist. For Hirst, the Zionist program in Palestine, the establishment of Israel, and its subsequent expansion constitute the roots of violence between Arabs and Jews. He redresses his own editorial imbalance by fairly and accurately reporting violent episodes--from Arab massacres of Jews at Jaffa in 1921 and Hebron in 1929, to Arab terrorism in Munich, Qiryat Shmona, and Ma'alot in the early 1970s. As unsparingly, he scrutinizes Jewish massacres of Arabs and Jewish terrorism in the 1940s, as well as the state terrorism of Israel against Arabs inside and outside its expanded borders. Predictably, such violence is romanticized in both camps as heroic and necessary, either for Arab liberation or for Jewish security. By describing its effects on innocent victims, Hirst strips off its political mask and exposes its human horror and grotesqueness. While he fails to appreciate the complex causes involved (and ignores other Middle-East bloodshed altogether), he has nevertheless brought together in a short, brisk, responsible narrative the major acts of Arab-Jewish violence since the 1880s.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1977

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1977