Bartal’s scholarly monograph examines the Palestinian rebellion in the decade following the creation of the state of Israel.
After Israel was founded in 1948, U.N. Resolution 81 portioned the land into three regions, uprooting 800,000 Palestinians and destroying hundreds of villages. While the history of the Israelis is well known, the Palestinian side of the story has rarely been told. Bartal, a lecturer on Palestinian affairs at Bar-Ilan University and a former major in the Israeli Defense Forces, details the lives and struggles of Palestinians as they worked to reclaim their independence and land during the 1950s. The “Fedayeen” of the title refer to Palestinians who, having been displaced, attempted to infiltrate Israel in the years following the war. The book, previously published in Hebrew, grew out of Bartal’s dissertation; as such, it is a scholarly work, both in tone and execution. With more than 150 pages of endnotes and a dozen pages of indices, the book is designed for fellow historians, serious scholars and others with a deep investment in the time period and players. It is both a work of historical excavation and critical analysis, and, if the research proves sound, should be considered for republication by a U.S.- or U.K.-based university press, which would make the study accessible to academics who could benefit from and build on Bartal’s work. The central subject has modern implications: As tensions continue to rise between Israel and Palestine in the 21st century, the history of past generations’ involvement in the conflict will remain relevant.
For higher-level academics and serious scholars of the Arab–Israeli conflict.