Synopses & Reviews
When the radical Islamist group Hamas was elected to lead Palestine in 2006, the Western world was shocked. How had the majority of Palestinians come to support an extremist organization and how would the group’s new political power affect the larger Israel/Palestine conflict?
Italian journalist and historian Paola Caridi offers a clear-eyed account of how the conditions in this war-torn region led to the rise of Hamas and an unbiased look at the complex feelings that Palestinians have toward getting behind a government that supports violent resistance. By breaking from the sensationalist journalism surrounding the elections, Caridi is able to tell the story of a movement caught between the desire to resist its oppressor and the need to provide support for a refugee people. Caridi, informed by years of on-the-ground research and interviews with residents of Gaza and leaders of Hamas, covers the history of Gaza from its golden age as a port city to the formal birth and slow militarization of Hamas. This English-language translation brings the reader to present-day Palestine by offering a never-before-seen chapter on Operation Cast Lead, the shocking WikiLeaks disclosures, and the Cairo Revolution.
Hamas paints a picture, with intelligence, dexterity, and heart, of a people trapped in the most historic of political battles and reveals the strange complexities behind the controversy by explaining one of the key players in the search for peace and justice that runs through the central crisis of the Middle East today.
"Beginning with a concise background of the history and politics of the region, Caridi who has lived in the Middle East and Jerusalem since 2001 discusses the history of Hamas (founded in 1987), the proposed 'two-state solution,' and the enormous toll both personal and political of suicide attacks. Caridi also explores how Hamas won the election in 2006, why its victory 'was annulled by the international community,' and the generational changes since that have required the government to pay greater attention 'to the reactions of the street,' given the group's grassroots origins. Caridi zooms out to consider Palestine in the context of the global community, from its tempestuous relationship with Israel, to competing political factions, to its reputation in the eyes of other Arab nations and the U.S. Though the title may suggest the author believes the group has achieved legitimacy, Caridi never endorses the violence that has led many nations to label Hamas a terrorist organization; 'Palestine is sabotaging its future and losing its best chance at statehood,' she warns, because 'both Hamas and Fatah have failed and continue to fail to solve the core issue of sharing power, institutions, and responsibility.' With thorough endnotes, a detailed Dramatis Personae, and an updated chapter to address the political situation since the book's initial publication in Italian in 2009, Caridi's English-language debut is timely and informative. Maps. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Journalist and historian PAOLA CARIDI has lived in the Middle East and Jerusalem since 2001. She contributed to the founding of the press agency Lettera22 and has worked with L'Espresso, Sole 24 Ore, La Stampa, and FamigliaCristiana. Hamas: From Resistance To Government, her second book, was published in Italy in 2009 and in Palestine in March 2010. ANDREA TETI is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen and Senior Fellow at the European Center for International Affairs. His research focuses on Middle Eastern politics, political theory, and the history of social science.