Kenneth Stein, “A General Historiographic and Bibliographic Review of Literature on Palestine and the Palestinian Arabs, Orient,” Vol 1, 1981, 100-112. 


Historically, the area which later became geographic Palestine under the Mandate fell under the domination of various outside forces.  Since the Islamic expansion alone portions of Palestine were controlled by numerous successive regimes including the Umayyids, Abbasids, Tulunids, Fatamids, Seljukids, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamelukes, Ottomans, British, Jordanians, and Israelis.  Many factors made Palestine a covetous object for neighboring regimes and ideologies.  The area is and was a strategic territorial buffer between the Levant in the north and Egypt in the south.  Palestine served as a point of arrival and departure for religious pilgrims and economic goods.  Lacking the indigenous natural resources to resist, a strong internal demographic cohesion, and a tradition of central governmental authority, the Arab inhabitants of Palestine repeatedly accepted, opposed, or accommodated themselves to outside influences.  Only in the middle of the 20th century did a separate indigenous Palestinian Arab national movement begin to develop and then largely in reaction to Zionism.

In the 20th century, the Arab world and the Great Powers and Zionism/Israel greatly influenced the historiographic evolution of Palestine and the Palestine question.  After World War I, Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut, Amman and other Arab capitals individually concentrated on seeking first to rid themselves of British and French physical presence.  By comparison the Palestine issue was relatively unimportant.  Yet, the Islamic Congress in Jerusalem in December 1931, the St. James Conference of February 1939, and the formation of the Arab League in March 1945 gradually drew the Palestine question into the inter-Arab political arena.  The dispersion of the Palestinians in the 1947-1949 period mostly to other parts of the Arab world brought their fate, history and political philosophies closer to neighboring regimes and pan-Arab ideologies.

Particularly consequential to the evolution of Palestinian historiography were the 1948 and 1967 wars, and the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964.  The disintegration of Palestinian Arab society by 1948-1949 ultimately generated a thorough introspective evaluation of the nakbah, or “disaster” of losing Palestine.  Indeed, the 1948 war forced on the Palestinians a shared historical experience and a collective trauma of living in inhospitable surroundings.  As a by-product it stimulated an emphasis on education as a viable option for Palestinian advancement.  During the Mandate educational opportunities were circumscribed by an absence of funds, opportunity, and pastoral traditionalism.  But the establishment of refugee camps, themselves structures of Palestinian identity, catalyzed nationalist feeling and increased educational achievement levels.  Though the observation may be all too obvious, the absence of large numbers of literate and politically sophisticated Palestinians during the Mandate not only stymied the merging Palestinian opposition to Zionism, but severely limited the number of Palestinian historians who might have written about Palestine.  Arab writers in adjacent countries tended to concentrate their writings on their own parochial nationalist struggle with the British and the French.

After the establishment of the PLO in 1964 and then the June 1967 war, the Palestinian component of the Arab-Israeli conflict was brought into focus.  Palestinians after 1967 were agents of change, not simply susceptible to the winds and whims of inter-Arab politics.  It may be argued that the 1967 war was a watershed therefore in modern “Palestineology.”  Palestinians and particularly the PLO sought to distance themselves from regular armed conflict since it had failed miserably in gaining for the Palestinians their objective.  The stunning use of guerilla or terrorist activity generated a keen desire among many to know more about Palestinians, their origins, ideologies, purposes, philosophies, and goals,  Simultaneous to this increased academic interest and developing Palestinian national awareness, primary source materials for research on the Palestinians became available.  The twenty-five-year statutes of limitations on the use of official British and Israeli documents from the Mandate period lapsed.  With a critical mass of archival material then available, other sources such as memoirs, personal papers, and Arabic newspapers from the Mandate gave the investigations on Palestine and the Palestinians a thorough academic awaking.

The pre-1950 period

Until very recently most of the popular and scholarly works on Palestine and the Palestinians systematically emphasized the interrelationships between the Palestinian Arabs and some larger areas, regime, agency, institution, or concept.  With few exceptions most of the Arabic monographs written prior to 1950 did not focus on aspects uniquely Palestinian.  Most Arab historians viewed Palestine as a geographic adjunct to greater Syrian and Palestinians as a small but integral portion of a larger Arab nation.  Particularly suggestive of this Palestinian relationship to larger Arab aspirations are Muhammad ‘Izzat Darwazzah’s Hawla al-Harakah al-Arabiyyah al-Hadithah (On the Modern Arab Movement), 3 volumes, (Sidon, 1950) and Rafiq al-Tamimi’s Wilayat Beirut al-Qism al-Janubi (Beirut Vilayet: The Southern Part) (Beirut, 1912).  A second focus of Arab histories of Palestine is those that concentrate on a particular locality or geographic region.  The local histories demonstrate an absence of a philosophical outlook that might be termed national.  These histories are rich in detail of the leading families that dominated urban politics in Palestine before 1948.  Most reflective of these regional or urban histories are the works of ‘Arif al-‘Arif and Ihsan al-Nimr.  A third, but less prolific genre of Arabic histories of the Mandate, and also written prior to the 1948-1950 period, concern themselves with the triangular struggle between Arabs, Jews, and the British.  Most notable in this regard is Isa al-Sifri’s Filastin al-Arabiyyah bayna al-Intidab wa al-Sahyuniyyah (Arab Palestine Between the Mandate and Zionist) (Jaffa, 1937).  As most works on Palestine, this one too suffers from partisanship and selective reconstruction of events.  Nevertheless, it is an important work of early Palestinian historiography.

The nature of Syria’s geographical affinity for Palestine the importance which the Holy Land played in the political affairs of the Ottoman Empire made it a constant source of research.  Unquestionably, the development of a Jewish national ideology in the form of Zionism added to the desire to know more about its land, economy, population, and society.  More than half a dozen very important German and French works appeared prior to 1948 which investigated these issues in considerable detail.  Of particular importance are Hubert Auhagen, Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Landesnatur und der Landwirtschaft Syriens (Berlin, 1907); Alfred Bonne, Palästina, Land und Wirtschaft (Berlin, 1935); Vital Cuinet, Syrie, Liban et Palestine: Geographie Administrative: Statistique, Descriptive et Raisonée (Paris, 1896); Carl Franz Endres, Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung Palästinas als Teil der Türkei (Berlin, 1918); Hans Fischer, Wirtschaftsgeographie von Syrien (Leipzig, 1919); Andre Latron, La Vie Rurale en Syrie et Liban (Beirut, 1936); Arthur Ruppin, Syrien als Wirtschaftsgebiet (Berlin, 1917); Leon Schulman, Zur türkischen Agrarfrage, Palästina und die Fellachenwirtschaft (Weimar, 1916); and Jacques Weulersse, Paysans de Syrie et due Proche-Orient (Paris, 1946).  Each is a substantial and serious work.  Yet, they are sometimes marred by statistics which can only be regarded as haphazard estimates.   Nevertheless, these studies substantially illuminate the socio-economic setting for the political struggle between Arab and Jew in Palestine under the Mandate.

Again, limiting our survey at this juncture to writings of the pre-1950 period, the historiography of Palestine and the Palestinians as part of the tri-partite struggle with the Jews and British is voluminous.  But the number of works that excel in their accuracy, scholarly merit, or focus on the Palestinians alone are rather limited.  An obvious benefit to later historians of Palestine was the introduction of the British administrative penchant for accurate record keeping.  In seeking to evaluate, determine, and review her policy in Palestine the British published and issued annual reports which were submitted to the League of Nations.  In addition, two special landmark reports are especially worthwhile for their concise review of the Mandate and Palestine affairs in general: The Palestine Royal (Peel) Commission Report (His Majesty’s Stationery Office, Cmd. 5479, London, 1937) and its two volumes of appended testimony, and the Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (Cmd. 6808, London, 1946), and its public hearings.  Written without present day archival material and personal papers both reports are comprehensive and objective accounts of politics and society under the Mandate.  Adding to the statistical base for the Mandate are J.B. Barron’s Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922, Jerusalem, 1923, and the two volumes of the Census ofPalestine 1931 published by the Palestine government.  The commentary and tables in the latter census report are particularly revealing for a demographic appreciation of the Arab community in Palestine, though here too some of the available statistics may be incomplete or inaccurate.

A reasonably dispassionate summary of Mandatory affairs emanating from official or semi-official sources is Great Britain and Palestine, 1915-1945 (Information Paper No. 20, 1946) issued by the Royal Institute of International Affairs.  This thin volume capsulizes the important contentious issues between Arab and Jew in Palestine, and in particular, it gives the fair accounting of the Palestinian Arab aspect.

Few works exclusively concentrate on the Palestine Arab dimension of the Mandate.  Beatrice Erkine’s Palestine of the Arabs (London, 1937), Francis E. Newton’s Fifty Years in Palestine (London, 1948), and Matiel Mogannam’s The Arab Women and the Palestine Question (London, 1937) are impressionistic accounts of Palestine Arab attitudes toward the Zionists, British, and one another.  Three other works which touch reasonably well on the social and economic relationships of the Arab community are several articles in Enzo Sereni and R.E. Ashery (eds.), Jews and Arabs in Palestine (New York, 1936); Said Himadeh’s edited collection, Economic Organization of Palestine (Beirut, 1938); and Zev Abramovitz and Y. Gelfat’s HaMesheq Ha’Aravi be Eretz Yisrael uve Ha-Mizrah Hatikon (Arab Economy in Palestine and in the Middle Eastern Countries) (Tel Aviv, 1944).

Perhaps, five of the most outstanding early authors and their works on Palestine during the Mandate are: J.C. Hurewitz’s Struggle for Palestine (Schocken, 1976) (reprinted from a 1950 edition); John Marlowe’s Rebellion in Palestine (London, 1946); Ya’acov Shimoni’s ‘Areve Eretz Yisrael (The Arabs of Palestine) (Tel Aviv, 1947); Michael Asaf’s several works including Toldot Ha’Aravim Be Eretz Yisrael (History of the Arabs in Palestine), 2 volumes (Tel Aviv, 1935 and 1941); and Joseph Vaschitz, Ha’Aravim Be Eretz Yisrael (The Arabs in Palestine) (Palestine, 1947).  Hurewitz’s study originally published by Norton is the most detailed political and scholarly account of the period.  Marlowe’s work, like his later composed Seat of Pilate (London, 1959) are void of footnotes.  Yet both are reasonably accurate renditions of the 1936-1939 Arab revolt particularly, and a reasonable overview of the Mandate in general.  Most prodigious in its efforts is Shimoni’s work.  Shimoni provides an evenly balanced account of Palestinian Arab society and politics during the Mandate.  His biographical sketches of important Palestinian Arab personalities is reliable and especially helpful to the specialist.

A less used but no less important reference tool of Palestinian Mandate  historiography is the wealth of periodical literature available and cited in the Social Science and Humanities indices.  Of particular representative worth are Chaim Arlosoroff, “The Economic Background of the Arab Problem,” Menorah Journal 18 (April 1930), pp. 331-345; Omar el-Barghuti, “Judicial Courts Among the Bedouin of Palestine,” Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 2 (January 1922), pp. 34-65; Humphrey Bowman, “Some Aspects of Rural Education in Palestine,” Asiatic Review 36 (October 1940), pp. 773-779; H.A.R. Gibb, “The Islamic Congress at Jerusalem in December 1931,” Survey of International Affairs (1934), pp. 99-109; J.C. Hurewitz, “Arab Politics in Palestine,” Contemporary Jewish Record 5 (December 1942), pp. 597-617; Hubert Montribloux, “Palestine 1938: facteurs economiques et sociaux de conflit Judés Arabé,” Sciences Politique 54 (April 1939), pp. 170-193; Fakri Nashashibi, “The Arab Position in Palestine,” Royal Central Asian Society Journal 23 (January 1936), pp. 16-26; and Robert C. Woolbert, “Pan-Arabism and the Palestine Problem,” Foreign Affairs 16 (1938), pp. 309-322.  There are scores of other pertinent periodical articles which are incisive, succinct, and worthwhile.

The post-1950 period

If Palestinian historiography was catalyzed with the end of the Mandate and the creation of Israel in 1948, it did not develop fully until after the June 1967 war.  Not unexpectedly, Palestinian Arabs who had misguided or who were frustrated in leading the national movement during the Mandate were reluctant to initiate an historical autopsy which would have been partially self-indicting.  Nevertheless, there are at least two notable exceptions where thorough introspection at least partially rejected apologia: Musa al-‘`Alami’s Ibrat Filastin (The Lesson of Palestine) (Beirut, 1949) and Constantine K. Zurayq’s Ma’na al-Nakbah (The Meaning of Disaster) (Beirut, 1948).  Though not a Palestinian, Zurayq bluntly reminds his readership that blinding oneself to shortcomings in the Arab world while placing blame upon some external object, without seeing indigenous weaknesses, defects, and corruptions would be a rejection of one’s responsibility.  His solution for confronting Zionism is the achievement of secular nationalism followed by Arab unity.

However, Zurayq’s formula was not pursued.  In the aftermath of European colonial presence in the Middle East, separate Arab nationalisms grew with varying stress on Islam or “literal theocracy” as Zurayq called it.  For a politically divided, economically poor, socially splintered, and geographically dispersed Palestinian Arab community national identity was susceptible to the exposure and influence of stronger nationalist and supra-nationalist ideologies that developed on Israel’s borders.  To be sure, a unique and common collective experience of physical dislocation was shared by most Palestinians.  Yet, Palestinian political affinities conveniently aligned themselves more with existing notions of the Muslim Brotherhood, pan-Arabism, local Communist parties, and primarily the diverse nationalist parties in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq.  Though the Palestinian cause became a critical core in pan-Arabist ideology, Palestinian identity was partially submerged by the political convulsions in the Arab world in the 1950s and 1960s.

The absence of Palestinian autonomy within the Arab world and the society’s geographic dispersion delayed in part the full emergence of a discrete Palestinian historiography.  Collectively, the establishment of the PLO in May 1964, the writing and revision of the National Covenant, the 1967 war, the pronounced physical torment suffered by the Palestinians in the Jordanian and Lebanese civil wars, and the diplomatic gains of the PLO in 1974 and after, created renewed interest and scholarly attention toward the Palestinians.  From this emphasis flowed a unique Palestinian awareness and national consciousness.  Gradually scholarly and political attention focused almost exclusively on the Palestinian component in the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Hence, the historical origins, political evolution, and ideological diversity of Palestinian identity were carefully evaluated and scrutinized by historians while Arab nation state and attitudinal relations toward Israel received somewhat lesser attention.  In the early 1980s, for reasons of political ascendancy and legitimacy, Palestinians and their political proponents emphasize the legitimacy of the Palestinian component of the conflict which by definition questions Israel’s legitimacy.

Recently written histories about Palestine, the Palestinians, and the PLO conveniently categorize themselves into discrete time periods: prior to World War I, the Mandate, the post-1948, and post-1967 periods.  Palestinian historiography reflects episodic political upheaval and forced social change.  The scattering of Palestinians after 1948 engendered separate studies of Palestinian Arabs in Israel, in Jordan between 1948 and 1967, on the West Bank and Gaza after 1967, and elsewhere in the world.  In general, the content of books and articles authored after 1967 reveal two central themes: the historically  precarious and vacillating condition of Palestinians over the last 100 years, and the emerging definition of a national collectivity in quest of political acceptance.

Since the 1967 war it is particularly noteworthy that a number of Israeli academics have produced some of the most thorough, dispassionate, and scholarly important monographs on the history of Palestine and the Palestinians.  Likewise, some excellent short studies and articles by western and resident Middle Eastern Arab scholars have appeared in such journals as Asian and African Studies (Jerusalem), Dirasar ‘Arabiyyah, HaMizrah HeHadash, Journal of Palestine Studies, Kathedra, Middle Eastern Studies, Shu’un Filastiniyyah and Tziyyon.  Further, attention should be drawn to the numerous unpublished M.A. and doctoral dissertations, produced prior to and after the 1967 war with some aspect of Palestine, the Palestinians, or the PLO as a focus.  Many of the dissertations have naturally become monographs.  Others remain on the shelves of university libraries and archives gathering dust but no less important to the historiography of Palestine.  Likewise, the publication of documents, annotated bibliographies, and other histories by the Institute for Palestine Studies, the duplication of British Cabinet papers, Colonial Office, Foreign Office and War Office materials, and the availability of private papers of participants in the political struggle for Palestine have in aggregate become instrumental in expanding recent understanding of the Palestine Mandate and its Palestinian inhabitants.

Unfortunately no one single monograph even cursorily encompasses Palestinian Arab history over the last century.  Such a general study remains to be written.  Yet the specialized monographs which reflect appropriate chapters, periods, and segments of the Palestinian Arab story abound.  But their quantity is certainly not reflective of uniform quality.  Because of the emotionalism attached to the Palestinian issue political partisanship has sometimes predetermined the kinds of resources and materials scrutinized and the manner in which information is presented.  Least scholarly of all has been the indiscriminate use of statistics to prove a point without first investigating to see whether the statistics are themselves accurate.  Once a theory emerges from a statistic that is politically palatable and reinforcing to a partisan attitude it has a tendency to attain a life of its own regardless of its accuracy.

One small example helps to prove the point.  Doreen Warriner in Land Poverty in the Middle East (The Royal Institute for International Affairs, 1948), p. 63, made the following remark about Palestinian Arab land tenure during the Mandate, “The number of landless agricultural workers was estimated at 30,000 families, or 22 percent of a total of 120,000 families dependent on agriculture, according to the census of 1931.”  Without questioning the accuracy of this statement Elia T. Zureik, in his The Palestinians in Israel (London, 1979), p. 46, and Nathan Weinstock in “The Impact of Zionist Colonization on Palestinian Arab Society Before 1948,” Journal of Palestine Studies (Winter 1973), p. 56, use Warriner’s unfootnoted assertion.  The point is not so much that such a statement never appeared in the 1931 Census for Palestine, though accuracy is certainly a necessary criteria for scholarship; the point is that reputable scholars have let their emotional predispositions accept unauthenticated assumptions as truths.  To be sure, susceptibility to this magnetic political attraction of statistical abuse and away from academic rigor is shared by writers of all persuasions.

Several monographs have attempted to deal with more than one epoch of Palestinian Arab history; some of these are multi-authored endeavors, others individual attempts.  Perhaps the three best efforts in the former category are William Quandt, Paul Jabber, and Ann Lesch’s The Politics of Palestinian Nationalist (University of California, 1973), Gabriel Ben-Dor’s The Palestinians and the Middle East Conflict — Studies in Their History, Politics, and Sociology (Israel, Turtledove Press, 1978), and Joel Migdal’s (ed.) Palestinian Society and Politics (Princeton University Press, 1980).  Lesch’s contribution is an abbreviation of her doctoral dissertation which appeared later in full form by her entitled Arab Politics in Palestine, 1917-1939 (Cornell University Press, 1979).  Where Lesch’s contribution is a succinct and reasonably reliable account of the Madate’s first twenty years, Quandt’s contribution coherently and concisely focuses on the emergence, development, organization, and ideology of the PLO.  Jabber too presents a readable synopsis of the PLO in inter-Arab politics concentrating on the period between the 1967 and 1973 wars.

Lesch’s more detailed monograph is a good piece of research about why the Palestine Arab national movement in Palestine was frustrated.  Her tendency is to place onerous responsibility upon British and Zionist policies and less upon the sociological and economic determinants which constrained the Arab community’s development.  Migdal on the other hand strives to fill a void in Palestinian historiography by linking politics with the composition of Palestinian society.  Following his introduction of considerable merit, eight separately authored essays follow dealing with various aspects of Palestinian society under the Ottoman, British, Jordanian, and Israeli administration.  Ben-Dor’s compilation, resulting from a conference held at Haifa University in 1976, discusses some important, unique, and esoteric aspects of the Palestinian experience.  Especially interesting in the twenty-five contributions presented are: Gabriel Baer’s essay on the Village Mukhtar in Palestine, the five essays respectively concerned with the relationship of the Palestinians and the PLO with the Soviet Union, America, Europe, East Europe, and Algeria, and the most helpful annotated bibliographic essay by David Bukay on the Palestinians in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Two very interesting books written in German in 1978 transcend the usual segmental periodization so characteristic of Palestinian historiography.  Abdul Kader Irabi’s Sozialgeschichte Palästinas (Lenos Presse, Basel, 1978) broadly scans Arab existence in Palestine from the Umayyids to the refugee camps.  More specifically, Irabi’s Marxist interpretation concentrates mainly on the Mandatory and post-1948 periods.  His analysis is spiced with the requisite rhetoric of the proletarian masses in revolt against their feudal and capitalist overlords.  Less strident in dialectic is Franz Ansprenger’s Juden und Araber in einem Land. Die politischen Beizierhungen der beiden Völker im Mandatsgebeit Palästina und im Staat Israel (München, 1978).  Ansprenger covers the Arab-Jewish conflict from the Mandate through 1977.  He stresses the points of communal interaction from 1917 to 1948 seeking to rekindle and foster the notions of bi-nationalism in a single state as a viable solution for having Jews and Arabs live in the same land peacefully.

For the period prior to World War I, one monograph and two collections of essays stand out because of their general excellence in scholarship.  The monograph is Neville J. Mandel’s The Arabs and Zionism Before World War I (University of California Press, 1976).  Originally an Oxford doctoral thesis with portions previously published in St. Anthony’s Papers and Middle Eastern Studies, Mandel clarifies the administrative and personal relationships between Arabs, Jews, and the Ottoman central government and its representatives in Palestine prior to World War I.  His research reveals two important points:  Arab antagonism for the early immigrating Zionists was pronounced, prominent, and widespread in Palestine prior to World War I; and second, “The Balfour Declaration [of 1917] was not so much the starting point of the conflict as a turning point which greatly aggravated an existing trend” (p. 231).

Two other collections of essays, one published and one in preparation were both outgrowths of international conferences held in Israel in the 1970s.  The first edited by Moshe Ma’oz, Studies in Ottoman Palestine is an excellent assemblage of forty essays covering four centuries of history.  Equally promising is David Kushner’s edited effort presumably to be titled The Legacy of Ottoman Palestine, after the conference of the same name held at Haifa University in December 1979.  This scholarly collection of thirty plus essays focuses primarily on 19th and early 20th century Palestine.

Perhaps more than any other controversial issues in the academic debate on whose nationalism is more legitimate or righteous are the numerous studies evaluating Palestine’s role in World War I diplomacy.  A wide range of analysis and interpretation is given to the various declarations, agreements, correspondences, memoranda, treaties, statements, and commission findings that emerged about Palestine’s future during and immediately after World War I.  The central point of disagreement is whether the area of Palestine was or was not to be excluded or included in a proposed independent Arab state at the conclusion of World War I.  What was said, when and to whom, what was meant, and what was perceived as a commitment fuels the debate.  A sampling of some of the various interpretations may be culled from the following scholarly efforts:  George Antonius, The Arab Awakening (New York, 1965); Isiah Friedman, The Question of Palestine, 1914-1918 (New York, 1973); Elie Kedorie, In the Anglo-Arab Labyrinth — The MacMahon-Husayn Correspondence and its Interpretation, 1914-1939 (Cambridge, 1976); Leonard Stein, The Balfour Declaration (New York, 1961); A.L. Tibawi, Anglo-Arab Relations and the Question of Palestine, 1914-1921 (London, 1978); and Zeine Zeine, The Struggle for Arab Independence (Beirut, 1960).

The most readable short history of the Mandate period is Christopher Sykes, Crossroads to Israel, 1917-1948 (Indiana University Press, 1973).  It is an excellent synopsis of British, Jewish, and Palestinian interaction with perhaps a pro-Zionist bias.  Unequalled so far as the most scholarly analysis of the Palestinian Arab political awakening during the Mandate are the two volumes by Yehoshua Porath of the Hebrew University: The Emergence of the Palestinian Arab National Movement, 1918-1929, London, 1974, and The Palestinian Arab National Movement, 1929-1939, From Riots to Rebellion, London, 1977.  Porath’s research is thorough, detailed, and virtually free of ideological bias.  In the first book he systematically and lucidly traces the evolution of the Palestinian Arab national emergence from the political contradictions of World War I to the Wailing Wall riots of 1929.  He identifies the leaders, organizations, and ideological formulations of the Palestinian Arab community in the 1920s; in the second book, the radicalization of the national movement is treated in the context of Hajj Amin al-Husayni’s ascendent influence, the factionalism that so sorely plagued Palestinian Arab leadership, the background and analysis of the general strike or revolt from 1936 to 1939, and finally he ends with the political aftermath of the St. James Conference and the May 1939 White Paper.  For any student of the Palestinians, Porath’s works should be required reading.  His comprehension of the topic and use of Arabic and Hebrew sources should become the barometer for measuring future meritorious scholarship on the Palestinians.

Two histories, one in Arabic and the other in Hebrew, of the 1936-1939 rebellion are particularly noteworthy.  Subhi Yasin’s Al-Thawrah al-‘Arabiyyah al-Kubra fi Filastin, 1936-1939 (The Great Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-1939) (Cairo, 1967) provides interesting information on Shaykh Izz al-Din al-Kassam’s movement and martyrdom prior to the outbreak of the disturbances in April 1936.  Like Yasin’s work, Yuval Arnon, an Israeli Ph.D., also focuses on the participation and involvement of the fellaheen in the 1936-1939 unrest.  His book Fellahin Be Mered Ha-‘Aravi Eretz Yisrael, 1936-1939 (Fellaheen in the Palestine Revolt, 1936-1939) (Shiloah Institute, Tel Aviv, 1978) is a detailed history of the revolt and its origins.  Arnon describes in considerable detail the composition of the rebel bands, their organizational patterns, and relationships with the local populations throughout various phases of the revolt.  An in-depth study of the political disorientation of the Palestine community and its leadership in the 1940s in Palestine is yet to be completed.

Unquestionably, the refusal to accept Palestinian Arabs as equals in Middle Eastern countries dominated their history after 1948.  The establishment of refugee camps outside of Israel contributed to their physical isolation from reluctantly adoptive governments.  In the Arab world, the Palestinian Arabs were shunned for a combination of ethnic, political, and economic reasons.  In Israel too, Arabs who did not flee form the disruptiveness of war were not fully integrated into a predominantly Jewish society and environment.  Consequently, a collective sense of alienation, separateness, and resentment evolved amongst Palestinian Arabs in the 1950s and early 1960s.  This, in turn, eventually found political expression in the political form of the PLO in 1964.  Not surprising then, the focus of the Palestinian Arab experience under Jordanian rule — as refugees — in Israel and in the evolution of the PLO characterize the central themes in modern Palestinian historiography.  Relatively recent biographic, autobiographic, and personal recollections add a new and insightful dimension to our understanding of the varieties of Palestinian Arab perceptions and goals.

For reasonably complete assessments of the Palestinian Arab chapter on the West Bank between 1948 and 1967, two books and an article stand out.  Eli’ezer Be’eri’s HaPalestinim tahat Shilton Yarden (The Palestinians Under Jordanian Rule) (Jerusalem, 1978) covers admirably three major contentious issues of the 1950s and early 1960s:  the Palestinian entity notion, separatist Palestinian political trends, and the status of Jerusalem.  Both Be’eri and Shaul Mishal’s East Bank/West Bank, The Palestinians in Jordan, 1949-1967 (Yale University Press, 1978) focus on the anti-Hashemite sentiment among West Bank Palestinians and intentional relegation of the West Bank to East Bank dominance.  Amnon Cohen’s “Political Parties in the West Bank Under the Hashemite Regime” in Moshe Ma’oz’s (ed.) Palestinian Arab Politics (Jerusalem, 1975) discusses the proliferation of political identities among Palestinians on the West Bank after its annexation by Jordan in 1950.  For the post-1967 period, the West Bank’s political future is treated extensively in numerous recent articles, particularly in Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem Quarterly, and Journal of Palestine Studies.  The West Bank’s legal relationship to Israel is discussed in Allan Cattan’s Palestine and International Law (London, 1973) openly denies the fundamental legality and sovereignty of Israel.  Where Gerson writes on the disposition of the West Bank, its future political association to Israel, and Jordan’s tenuous legal claim to it, Cattan avoids questioning Jordan’s legal right to occupy and annex the West Bank in 1950 or her post-1967 claims.

The status of the Palestinian refugees is the focus of Don Peretz’s Israel and the Palestine Arabs (Washington, 1958), and Edward H. Buehrig’s The U.N. and the Palestinian Refugees:  A Study in Non-Territorial Administration (Indiana University Press, 1971).  Peretz is often quoted, yet Buehrig’s fine assessment of the refugees’ relationship with UNWRA (United Nations Work Relief Agency) is perhaps superior.  Peretz concentrates on the early attempts at repatriation, compensation, and Isarel’s emerging attitude toward its Arab minority.  Buehrig’s is a solid piece of research, informative, and well written.

Authors who write on the subject of Palestinian Arabs in Israel agree that those Arabs who stayed in Israel after 1948 became a distinct minority and were distanced and alienated from the Jewish majority.  Differing interpretations are offered as to why Arabs in Israel did not form a political party of their own or engage in civil disobedience.  In his book The Palestinians in Israel (London, 1979), Elia T. Zureik believes that the Palestinian Arabs have been co-opted and controlled by Israel.  Zureik, Sabri Jiryis’ The Arabs in Israel (1966), and Jacob Landau’s The Arabs in Israel (Oxford, 1969) concur that the Arabs in Israel do not have a sense of belonging to the Israeli state and are closely influenced by the proximity of inter-Arab politics.  More recently, the emergence of the PLO, the Sadat initiative and its aftermath, and the concept of autonomy have rejuvenated an increased awareness among Israeli Arabs about their Palestinian heritage.

Some of the best published assessments on the PLO emanate from European writers though several other volumes in English stand out.  Huzen Jureidini’s The Palestinian Movement in Politics (Lexington, Massachusetts, 1976) concentrates on the guerilla phase of the PLO.  It also has an excellent bibliography.  Jureidini focuses on the PLO’s constituent organizations, its internal politics, goals, differences of opinion and volatile relationship with Jordan and Lebanon; Ihud Yaari’s Strike Terror:  The Story of Fatah (New York, 1970) surveys the origins and activities of Fatah in the period from 1961 to 1969; and Xavier Baron’s Les palestiniens un peuple (Paris, 1978) evaluates Palestinian refugee camp life before discussing the fedayeen period and a most interesting chapter on George Habash.

Three very informative books written on the PLO covering the period to 1974 are Bichara Khader’s Textes de la Revolution palestinienne (Paris, 1975); Rolf Tophoven’s Fedayin-Guerilla ohne Grenzen (Frankfurt, 1974); and Daniel Heradstveit’s Nahost Guerillas, Eine politiologische Studie (Berlin, 1973).  Though Khader gives a brief pro-Palestinian historical introduction, his prose gives the reader a good glimpse of the PLO and its various factions.  Texts of documents are provided of the PLO, al-Fatah, PFLP, PDFLP, and other groups under the PLO umbrella.  A good chronology of events from 1896 to 1974 and a bibliography of French works on the Palestinians are provided.

Tophoven’s 158 page book delves into the various component elements of the PLO, their ideologies, leaders, and doctrine.  He analyzes the possibilities and limits of guerilla war against Israel and has a brief but interesting chapter on fedayeen Arab state relations.  Tophoven supplements his effort with an excellent annotated bibliography.  In the first half of his book, Heradstveit, a member of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, accurately discusses the organization of the PLO, its structure, ideology, and policies.  The second half is devoted to an analysis of Chinese, American, and Soviet interests and strategies in the region as a whole and toward the fedayeen in particular.

In concluding, several memoirs and biographies provide a glimpse into the personalities that have dominated Palestinian Arab history over the last century.  The three most dominant Palestinian political personalities have perhaps been al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni, Ahmad al-Shuqayri, and Yasir Arafat.  Al-Hajj Amin’s emergence as Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1920s and head of the Supreme Muslim Council is given ample scholarly description in Eliahu Elath’s thin volume Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, Former Mufti of Jerusalem (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1968).  Shukayri’s political memoirs Arab’un ‘Aman fi al-Hayat al-‘Arabiyyah wa al-Dawliyyah (Forty Years in Arab and International Life) (Beirut, 1969) interestingly recount Palestine under Ottoman and British control and, not surprisingly, Shuqayri’s own antipathy toward the Mufti.  Arafat’s story is told in Thomas Kiernan’s Arafat, The Man and the Myth (Norton, 1976).  If there is shortcoming in Kiernan’s readable biography, it is perhaps too romanticized.  Other worthwhile recollections by Palestinians about their past and future include Fawaz Turki’s The Disinherited Journal of a Palestinian Exile (New York, 1972); Eric Rouleau’s Abou Iyad, palestinien sans patrie (Paris, 1978); and Sir Geoffrey Furlonge’s Palestine is My Country, The Story of Musa Alami (Praeger, 1969).   Other excellent memoirs continue to appear.

A resurgence of interest on the Palestinian question resulted from President Sadat’s one-man diplomacy nurtured by the United States.  His establishment of a separate peace with Israel for whatever duration restates the obvious search for an accommodation that will include Palestinian involvement.  While the thorny diplomatic task of providing Palestinian nationalism an acceptable means for the expression of sovereignty is undertaken, scholarly inquiry of Palestine and the Palestinians proliferates.  In comparison to the quantity of studies completed on other aspects of Middle Eastern history, “Palestineology” is over-represented.  Yet, quality works are lacking on specific issues.  Among others these include the Palestinian experience on the East Bank of the Jordan since 1948; a history of Palestinian involvement in the literary, cultural, administrative, educational, and governmental development of specific Middle Eastern Arab states; the PLO’s diplomatic offensive in the 1970s; and monograph aimed at the half-century relationship of the Palestine question to inter-Arab political history.