Synopses & Reviews
In this startling new interpretation of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Bernard Wasserstein focuses on largely neglected forcesand#151;demographic, economic, and socialand#151;that have shaped the politics of the region but have also made the two societies so interdependent that they must make peace in order to survive.
"Readers who care about the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict should not overlook Bernard Wassersteinand#8217;s lucid attempt to look at it from some unusual angles. . . . A helpful and original introduction to the conflict."and#151;Warren Bass, Washington Post Book World
"Reasoned and balanced, [this book] makes a compelling case that demographic, socio-economic, environmental, and territorial imperatives must eventually bring Israelis and Palestinians to a peaceful resolution."and#151;Eric Silver, Jewish Chronicle
"In this short and elegant essay, [Wasserstein] slips in a good deal of history. . . . The rationality of the arguments is impressive."and#151;David Pryce-Jones, Sunday Times (London)
"Wassersteinand#8217;s readable text is a solid primer on Israelis and Palestinians for experts and neophytes, characterized by a hardheaded realism that is fair to both sides."and#151;Foreign Affairs
and#8220;In this short and elegant essay, [Wasserstein] slips in a good deal of history. . . . In his view, Israelis and Palestinians are fighting for definable interests and identifiable goals. Yet neither of them is paying proper attention to larger developments which are outside their control but are nonetheless impelling the outcome of events towards a happy ending. . . . This essayand#8217;s aspiration for peace is genuine. The rationality of the arguments is impressive.and#8221;and#8212;David Pryce-Jones, Sunday Times (London)
"If a philosopher-king could solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bernard Wasserstein, professor of history at Glasgow University and old Middle East hand, would get my vote. His latest tract, reasoned and balanced, makes a compelling case that demographic, socio-economic, environmental and territorial imperatives must eventually bring Israelis and Palestinians to a peaceful resolution."and#8212;Eric Silver, Jewish Chronicle
Israelis and Palestinians offers a startlingly new interpretation of the historical and contemporary realities of the conflict in the Middle East. Bernard Wasserstein challenges the conventional view of the struggle as driven primarily by irrational ethnic and religious hatreds. Instead he focuses on largely neglected forcesand#151;including population, fertility rates, labor, and environmental pressuresand#151;that have shaped politics in the region over the last century, and which will inevitably determine its future.
Wasserstein argues that Israelis and Palestinians live today in and#147;Siamese twin societiesand#8221;; however much they may wish to, neither side can escape the impinging presence and influence of the other. Demographic, economic, and social imperatives are driving Israelis and Palestinians toward mutual accommodation. At a time of diplomatic impasse and escalating bloodshed, Wasserstein offers a realistic and persuasive basis for optimism.
Offering a persuasive basis for optimism about the conflict in the Middle East, Wasserstein focuses not only on religious differences, but on population, fertility rates, labor, and environmental pressures that have shaped politics in the region.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 209-214) and index.
About the Author
BERNARD WASSERSTEIN is Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many books, including The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln and Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City, both published by Yale University Press. His most recent book is Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time.