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“The savage battle between Palestinians and Israelis is often presented as if it were historically predestined. But in this eye-opening and exhaustively researched book, Karsh shows us that it is in a large part the product of a single man’s pathological will.” The New York Post
The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest
978-0-8021-4158-3 • $14.00 • Paperback • Dec. 2004
History (Middle East)
A brilliant and authoritative history of one of the most controversial leaders of the twentieth century, his inability to bring peace and statehood to his Palestinian people, and his struggle for international recognition
Established in 1964 with the goal of "liberating Palestine in its entirety," the Palestinian Liberation Organization has for years been led by one of its most outspoken and notorious members, Yasser Arafat. Born and raised in Cairo, Arafat has undergone a radical transformation from a fugitive terrorist leader to a passionate and respected advocate for the creation of a Palestinian homeland. But then why did he reject a plan for Palestinian statehood in 2000, after crusading for this long-standing ideal for close to forty years? Was it a bargaining ploy or a reflection of a deeper reluctance on the part of the Palestinian leadership to genuinely commit itself to peace with Israel?
Offering the first comprehensive account of the collapse of the most promising peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, historian Efraim Karsh argues that Arafat is less interested in the liberation of the West Bank and Gaza, or even with the establishment of a Palestinian state, than in the PLO's historic goal of Israel's destruction. Karsh details Arafat's efforts since the historic Oslo peace accords in building an extensive terrorist infrastructure, his failure to disarm the extremist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority's systematic efforts to indoctrinate hate and contempt for the Israeli people through rumor and religious zealotry. The result is a level of violence unmatched in scope and intensity since 1948, a Palestinian campaign of terror that has included suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, stabbings, lynchings, and stonings and has resulted in thousands of casualties.
Arafat has irrevocably altered the Middle East's political landscape, and while his place in history has yet to be written, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict will always be Arafat's war.