SJSU Week 3 Theory of Protracted Social Conflict Reflexive Journal Read the reading below and give your own thoughts/perspectives/or argument about at leas

SJSU Week 3 Theory of Protracted Social Conflict Reflexive Journal Read the reading below and give your own thoughts/perspectives/or argument about at least two specific points you find most interesting to write about. You can write it like a reflexive journal. Only two paragraphs. First paragraph you will write what you find interesting or least interesting about the specific points you find most interesting in the reading, the second paragraph you may write how you react to it. (how it interesting or relevant to you) You might cite quote directly and remember to give credit to the author… for example (Waxman, 69)…


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Writing reflects personally engaged, thoughtful responses (e.g. why this is or is not interesting or relevant to me), which are linked to the student’s own life and experiences. It also connects student’s experiences to the course material and content. PRAISE FOR THE IRON CAGE
“Khalidi, tackling ‘historical amnesia,’ brilliantly analyses the structural handicap
which hobbled the Palestinians throughout 30 years of British rule . . . Khalidi restores the Palestinians to something more than victims, acknowledging that for
all their disadvantages, they have played their role and can (and must) still do so to
determine their own fate.”
—Ian Black, The Guardian
“A deeply thought-provoking book about Palestinians by a foremost Palestinian
scholar that refreshingly challenges stereotypes. Necessary and important.”
—Ghada Karmi, author of Married to Another Man: Israel, the Palestinians,
and the One-State Solution
“A lucid and compelling examination of the Palestinian dilemma by ‘arguably the
foremost US historian of the modern Middle East’.”
—Warren I. Cohen, Los Angeles Times
“A first-rate and up-to-date historical and political analysis of the Palestinian
—Publishers Weekly, voting The Iron Cage one of the 100 Best Books of the Year
“Khalidi asks crucial questions regarding the state of Palestinian identity and viability that no other historians or political analysts have covered with such depth.”
—Alejandra Juárez, Political Affairs
“The Iron Cage is a patient and eloquent work, ranging over the whole of modern
Palestinian history from World War I to the death of Yasser Arafat. Reorienting the
Palestinian narrative around the attitudes and tactics of the Palestinians themselves,
Khalidi lends a remarkable illumination to a story so wearily familiar it is often hard
to believe anything new can be found within.”
—Jonathan Shainin, Salon
“Khalidi concentrates on the Palestinian side of this complex sui generis case . . . Yet
Kahlidi ’s book is no exercise in victimology. He is tough on the British, the Israelis,
and the Americans, but he is scarcely less hard-hitting in appraising the Palestinians.
The final chapter provides an excellent critique of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s labored moves toward the recognition of Israel and the idea, increasingly
bruited, that a two-state solution is no longer feasible.
—L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs
“The author of numerous critically acclaimed works including Resurrecting
Empire, Rashid Khalidi is a historian’s historian. The Iron Cage is his most
accomplished effort to date . . . Magisterial in scope, meticulous in its attention
to detail, and decidedly dispassionate in its analysis, The Iron Cage is destined
to be a benchmark of its genre.”
—Joel Schalit, Tikkun
“Rashid Khalidi’s Iron Cage is a must-read historical and political study of the
national Palestinian movement . . . Supporters of the Palestinians and of Israel
will read this book in different ways and with different eyes, but both will find
Khalidi’s presentation richly illuminating.”
—Neil Caplan, Middle East Journal
“A work of forceful historical analysis written in a spirit of self-examination . . .
The Iron Cage compels us to reflect more deeply on the problems that continue
to bedevil the Palestinian movement.”
—Bashir Abu-Manneh, The Nation
Also by Rashid Khalidi
British Policy towards Syria and Palestine, 1906–1914
Palestine and the Gulf (coeditor)
Under Siege: PLO Decision-Making during the 1982 War
The Origins of Arab Nationalism (coeditor)
Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National
Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path
in the Middle East
The Iron Cage
The Story of the
Palestinian Struggle
for Statehood
Rashid Khalidi
A Oneworld book
First published in USA by Beacon Press
First published in Great Britain by Oneworld Publications, 2007
Copyright © Rashid Khalidi, 2006
All rights reserved
Copyright under Berne Convention
A CIP record for this title is available
from the British Library
Typeset by Wilsted & Taylor Publishing Services
Cover design by D.R. Ink
Printed and bound by TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall
Arabic words have been transliterated in keeping with a modified version of the system
used by the International Journal of Middle East Studies (the only diacritics represented
being the ain and the hamza), with exceptions for common nouns, individual names where
there is a common spelling, and words within quotations. All translations from Arabic and
French are the author’s own.
Oneworld Publications
185 Banbury Road
Oxford OX2 7AR
Learn more about Oneworld. Join our mailing list to
find out about our latest titles and special offers at:
Introduction: Writing Middle Eastern History
in a Time of Historical Amnesia 
1. Arab Society in Mandatory Palestine 
2. The Palestinians and the British Mandate 
3. A Failure of Leadership 
4. The Revolt, 1948, and Afterward 
5. Fateh, the PLO, and the PA:
The Palestinian Para-State 
6. Stateless in Palestine 
Notes 
Acknowledgments 
Index 
Writing Middle Eastern History
in a Time of Historical Amnesia
This book examines the failure of the Palestinians to establish an independent state before 1948, the year of Israel’s founding and of the
dissolution of Arab Palestine, and the impact of that failure in the
years thereafter. Such a topic provokes a sequence of questions that
relate to the present as much as to the past: What purpose is served
by such a study when, nearly six decades after 1948, an independent
Palestinian state—in any real sense of the word “independent”—
still does not exist, and when its establishment continues to face
formidable obstacles?
The obstacles to independent Palestinian statehood only appeared to grow as violence escalated in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon
during the summer of 2006. As these lines are written, in late July,
Lebanon is the scene of hundreds of civilian deaths, enormous destruction, and fierce ground combat. Almost forgotten as a result
of the carnage visited on Lebanon by Israel, and of Hizballah’s repeated rocket barrages against northern Israeli cities and towns, has
been the suƒering in Gaza caused by months of Israeli siege and
bombardment. It is also forgotten that all of this started with Palestinian eƒorts to create a democratic structure of governance while
still under Israeli occupation.
Specifically, this latest escalation began with response by Israel
and the United States to the elections for the Legislative Council of
the Palestinian Authority (PA) in January 2006, which brought to
power a Hamas-led government. Their campaign quickly moved
from a crippling financial siege of the PA, with the aim of bringing down that government, to an escalation of Israeli assassinations
of Palestinian militants, and to artillery and air attacks in Gaza that
 introduction
killed and wounded scores of civilians. Hamas had for eighteen
months observed a cease-fire in the face of these and earlier provocations (other factions were not so restrained, firing rockets into Israel). However, after a major spike in Palestinian civilian deaths and
the particularly provocative Israeli assassination of militant leader
Jamal Abu Samhadana, whom the PA government had just named
to a security post, Hamas finally took the bait and responded with
the capture of one Israeli soldier and the killing of others. The predictably ferocious Israeli response—even more killings of civilians,
more assassinations, and ground incursions in Gaza—finally provoked Hizballah (or perhaps gave Hizballah and its allies, Iran and
Syria, the preemptive opportunity they had been searching for).
The rest of this tragic scenario then unfolded with the grim, bloody,
unthinking precision we have seen so many times before in the
conflict between Israel and the Arabs.
This book is not about that conflict but about its Palestinian
component, specifically the eƒort of the Palestinians to achieve independence in their homeland. The ongoing war in Gaza and Lebanon illustrates once again how intimately this eƒort is intertwined
with regional and international factors. It illustrates also the crucial
importance of a careful reading of recent Palestinian history to attain an understanding of the Middle East conflict. The one-dimensional and ahistorical approach to the conflict through the prism of
terrorism that is prevalent in the United States obscures thoroughly
the specificity of Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, and other regional actors, like Syria and Iran, and how these relate to one another. The
Palestinian quest for independence is only one of many elements
that must be grasped in order to understand the causes of conflict
in the Middle East. But because for nearly a century this quest has
been so central to events there, willfully ignoring it leads to the kind
of reductive, partial, and misguided American o‰cial thinking that
has helped produce the profound problems that a~ict the region.
This book raises other questions as well: Is a historical study of why
something occurred—or in this case did not occur—justified be-
cause it sheds light on apparent similarities with events that are currently taking place? Or are these two failures in state building—one
in the past and the other ongoing—completely unrelated, and is
any attempt to examine them in relation to one another an historical error, not to say an abuse of history?1
It might be asked why I describe this failure to achieve independent statehood as a Palestinian failure. Specifically, why should the
focus be on the role of the Palestinians in their past defeats, when
they were the weakest of all the parties engaged in the prolonged
struggle to determine the fate of Palestine, which culminated in
1948? These parties include the British Empire, until World War II
the greatest power of its day, which actively opposed Palestinian aspirations for statehood and independence, and other major states,
among them the United States, the Soviet Union, and France, all of
which supported Zionism and the partition of Palestine into an
Arab and a Jewish state, but did nothing to prevent the abortion of
the embryonic Arab state of Palestine in 1947–48. They include as
well the Zionist movement, composed of a worldwide network
of institutions capable of mobilizing extensive diplomatic, propaganda, and financial resources, and the highly motivated and wellorganized yishuv (the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine).
Both Britain and the Zionist movement always treated the prospect
of an independent Arab state in Palestine as a grave threat. The
Zionist movement saw such a prospect as a particular challenge to
the Jews’ aspirations to exclusive sovereignty over what they considered Eretz Israel (the land of Israel). Finally, there were the seven
newly independent Arab states, all of them relatively weak and
heavily influenced by the Western powers; these states acted in ways
that frequently excluded the interests of the Palestinians, and sometimes contradicted them.
To rephrase the question in light of these facts, why concentrate
on the failures or incapacities of the Palestinians to achieve independence before 1948, when the constellation of forces arrayed
against them was so powerful, and in the end proved overwhelming?
 introduction
Why not focus on the external forces that played a predominant role
in preventing the Palestinians from achieving self-determination?
Others have countered that the Palestinians, or their leaders, should
bear responsibility for their own failures, some going so far as to
blame the victim entirely for the tragic history of the Palestinian
people in the twentieth century and after.2 The benefits of blaming
the victim, in light of the heavy responsibilities of various other parties in this story, are obvious, explaining the continuing vitality of
this school of thought, although most of its core claims have long
since been discredited. Others have argued that even if the Palestinians cannot be fully blamed for their own misfortunes, and even
if the overwhelming balance of forces ranged against them must be
taken into account, they nonetheless are accountable for their actions and decisions. Similar arguments can be heard today regarding
Palestinian responsibility for the dire situation faced by the Palestinians after the collapse of the Oslo peace process of 1991–2000, the
full reoccupation of the West Bank by Israel in 2001–6, and the election in January 2006 of a Palestinian Authority (PA) government
headed by the radical Hamas movement.
Needless to say, all of these questions will be colored by the
recognition that to this day the Palestinians remain considerably
less powerful by any measure than the forces that stand in the way
of their achieving independent statehood. It seems clear that in the
decades since 1948 the Palestinians have been plagued by some of
the same problems that a~icted them before that date. It is an open
question whether examining past failures might help to prevent future ones, on the theory that there is a link between those structures
and forces, internal and external, that operated in the past to hinder
Palestinian self-determination, and those at work today. Either way
—whether external forces or internal Palestinian weaknesses (or a
combination of both) have prevented the establishment of an independent Palestinian state—a final question remains: Is statehood
the destined outcome for a people who, since the early part of the
twentieth century had a clearly defined national identity but who
have been unable to develop lasting, viable structural forms for it,
or to control a national territory in which it can be exercised? Is it
not possible that the Palestinian people will continue to exist indefinitely into the future, as they have since Ottoman hegemony
ended in 1918, in a stateless limbo? Are we perhaps too obsessed with
the very idea of the state, demonstrating the bias in favor of the state
that Hegel found in historical discourse, in our attempts to place
the state at the center of the historical narrative?3
These are questions that perplexed me for several years after
I finished an examination of Palestinian identity published in 1997.4
I had planned to devote a sabbatical leave beginning in September
2001 to completing my research and writing about why the Palestinians had not achieved statehood. After the attacks of September
11, 2001, however, a diƒerent set of questions diverted my attention
from this task. With the United States at war in Afghanistan and
about to invade Iraq, there seemed to be more pressing inquiries
concerning the Middle East than the issue of Palestinian statelessness. Moreover, the spectacular events of September 11 and its aftermath had rendered every aspect of the Middle East once again a
subject of intense interest, a subject that was di‰cult to deal with
objectively, in view of the powerful emotions these events had unleashed.
At the time, given the background of the assailants of September 11, given the reverberations of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan
and of a war with Iraq that already appeared inevitable in 2001–2, it
seemed to me that Middle East experts had a responsibility to illuminate the fraught history of the region’s relations with Western
powers, against which any intervention in Iraq would necessarily be
judged. Admittedly, even in the best of times, it is di‰cult to engage
Americans in an objective discussion of Middle Eastern history;
Americans often come to such discussions with a dearth of knowledge about the region (and the world), and they are often oblivious
 introduction
to their country’s massive impact on, and complex role in, the
world generally, and the Middle East in particular. However, this
was the worst of times.
Partly in response to these concerns, in 2002–3 I therefore
stopped working on the topic of Palestinian statelessness, and instead wrote Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s
Perilous Path in the Middle East.5 In so doing I was trying to elucidate for Americans who would have to live with the consequences
of their government’s actions some of the key historical issues that
were obscured, largely deliberately, as the United States rushed into
an invasion of Iraq that, even before its inception, promised to be
disastrous to those acquainted with the region’s history.
Having completed that book, I realized that I had largely failed
to address an issue generally ignored in American public discourse
about the Middle East. This is the long, involved, and often close
relationship of the U.S. government with some of the villains of
the tragedy of 9/11, a relationship far more complex than Americans
have generally been led to believe. Delineating these ties would of
course in no way mitigate the full and terrible responsibility of
those who had planned and perpetrated the atrocious murders
of thousands of innocent Americans. Nevertheless, it would show
that these individuals did not materialize out of a vacuum, and that
they were not in fact as utterly alien as they appeared to be, or were
made to appear by the government, the media, and assorted selfproclaimed experts. To show this, it would be necessary to explain
how for many decades the United States fostered or allied itself with
some of the reactionary, obscurantist, and illiberal Islamic tendencies that, metastasizing over many years, engendered the individuals and groups who carried out the attacks of September 11. It would
also be necessary to explain to Americans—many of whom hold the
belief that their country acts only for good in the world—that various actions of their government over several decades have had disastrous consequences in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and elsewhere
in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
In the wake of September 11, some commentators have argued
that to refer even obliquely to such matters was tantamount to acting as an apologist for the assailants, and for terrorism generally. Irrespective of the sometimes sordid reality of American involvement
in the Middle East for well over a half century, those who made such
references were described as “blame America firsters.” Here is a clear
case of how a traumatic atrocity can be cynically exploited to suppress historical truths. The result was a rejection of any attempt to
explain the historical context for the events of 9/11 and other gratuitous acts of terrorism against Americans, and the preponderance of
grotesque and thoroughly ignorant caricatures as conveyed in such
statements as, “They hate our freedom,” “They resent our culture,”
and “Their religion preaches hatred.”
This avoidance of the hard realities of the Middle East in some
quarters in the United States is not a new phenomenon. In particular, there has been a traditional aversion on the part of many Americans to hearing any serious analysis, let alone criticism, of their
country’s Middle East policies, or of those of U.S. allies in the region. This is true even though the veil that had generally been maintained in public discourse over the undemocratic domestic policies
of the Saudi Arabian and Egyptian regimes has slipped considerably
since September 11, 2001. In consequence, both governments are
now subject to more congressional and media criticism, especially
Saudi Arabia.6 Beyond this, Israeli excesses have occasionally forced
the media to show some measure of objectivity. This happened in
1982 during the ten-week siege and bombardment of Beirut and the
subsequent Sabra and Shatila massacres,7 and at times during the
first Palestinian intifada, from 1987–91. In recent years, however, especially since the second intifada began in late 2000, the resis…
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