Khader's Reviews > 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

1948 by Benny Morris
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Mar 06, 09

Read in March, 2009

This was an excellent read, although sometimes heavier in quantitative military details than I would have personally liked. This is not a shortcoming of the book, but rather a lack of knowledge and interest on the part of the reader, as I was most interested in the political aspects of the 1948 war, as opposed to detailed information about every individual skirmish.

One of my favorite chapters of this book was the final conclusions chapter, where Morris urges Arabs and Palestinians to do the necessary soul searching to try to understand why their history took such a course. As an Arab, and an American Palestinian, I believe that this is critical. I grew up hearing and continue to hear people blame everyone but themselves for the negative turn of events. But the real questions to me are why did passions prevail over levelheadedness among Arab leaders? Why did Arab leaders, with the exception of King Abdullah, not have a realistic assessment of their military capabilities? Why did Palestinian society collapse in such a dramatic way, where disunity prevailed in such a way as to allow the IDF to pick off one Palestinian Village at a time, without other Villages rallying in their support? The national humiliation faced by the Arab armies during the 1948 war made all future conflicts inevitable.

It's always interesting to wonder what would have happened had the 1947 UN partition plan been implemented in an orderly fashion. Many would argue that regardless of whether it had, the conflict between the two nationalist movements was inevitable. The future however, remains to be seen.
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