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Palestinian Identity

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Rashid Khalidi's massive study of the construction of Palestinian national identity is a pathbreaking work of major importance. It is the first book to work from the premise that such an identity does in fact exist and then proceeds to uncover its overlapping layers, historical phases, and tragic setbacks with a complete mastery of the relevant literature in Arabic, Hebrew, and Western sources. This is an essential book for anyone trying to understand the Byzantine complexities and background of the flawed Middle East peace process... Extremely readable and gripping, Palestinian Identity is a remarkable achievement of the historian's art. -- Edward Said, author of Orientalism

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction to the 2010 Reissue 1. Introduction 2. Contrasting Narratives of Palestinian Identity 3. Cultural Life and Identity in Late Ottoman Palestine: The Place of Jerusalem 4. Competing and Overlapping Loyalties in Ottoman Jerusalem 5. Elements of Identity I: Peasant Resistance to Zionist Settlement 6. Elements of Identity II: The Debate on Zionism in the Arabic Press 7. The Formation of Palestinian Identity: The Critical Years, 1917-1923 8. The "Disappearance" and Reemergence of Palestinian Identity Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Rashid Khalidi is Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. He is also the author of Under Siege: P. L.O. Decisionmaking During the 1982 War, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood, and Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East, and coeditor of The Origins of Arab Nationalism.


Noted Palestinian historian Khalidi presents the most credible argument to date in English for the existence of an amorphous Palestinian territory with an identifiable population existing before the emergence of political Zionism. The author's primary purpose is to establish the origins of a Palestinian national consciousness, which he does superbly, even with the obvious animus toward Israel and Zionism. Khalidi's research was greatly enhanced by his access to the family library in Jerusalem, bringing to light certain documentation for the first time. His historiographic method is path-breaking, including coverage of nonelite elements of Palestinian society involved in the development of a nationalistic sentiment. Essential reading along with Muhammad Muslih's The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism (Columbia Univ., 1990), this is highly recommended for specialists and general readers alike.‘Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba Coll., Salisbury, N.C.

One of the pre-eminent historians of Palestinian nationalism. The Chronicle of Higher Education A major contribution to historical Palestinian nationalism. Foreign Affairs An impressive, thoughtful, layered, and well-documented study. Kirkus Pathbreaking. Library Journal

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