Intimate Enemies

Intimate Enemies : Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land

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As Israelis and Palestinians negotiate separation and division of their land, Meron Benvenisti, former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, maintains that any expectations for 'peaceful partition' are doomed. In his brave and controversial new book, he raises the possibility of a confederation of Israel/Palestine, the only solution that he feels will bring lasting peace. The seven million people in the territory between Jordan and the Mediterranean are mutually dependent regarding employment, water, land use, ecology, transportation, and all other spheres of human activity. Each side, Benvenisti says, must accept the reality that two national entities are living within one geopolitical entity - their conflict is inter communal and will not be resolved by population transfers or land partition. A geographer and historian by training, a man passionately rooted in his homeland, Benvenisti skillfully conveys the perspective of both Israeli and Palestinian communities.
He recognizes the great political and ideological resistance to a confederation, but argues that there are Israeli Jews and Palestinians who can envision an undivided land, where attachment to a common homeland is stronger than militant tribalism and segregation in national ghettos. Acknowledging that equal coexistence between Israeli and Palestinian may yet be an impossible dream, he insists that such a dream deserves a place in the current negotiations. 'Meron Benvenisti is the Middle East expert to whom Middle East experts go for advice...the most oft-quoted and oft-damned analyst in Israel' - from the Foreword by Thomas L. Friedman.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 250 pages
  • 147.57 x 215.14 x 27.94mm | 544g
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • Subsequent
  • 0520085671
  • 9780520085671

Flap copy

"Few Americans can appreciate the intensity, substance, and complexity of the struggles in Israel without reading this book."--Ian Lustick, president of the Association for Israel Studies

"Honest to a fault, possessed of no illusions, with no ax to grind, Benvenisti has insisted that Israeli and Palestinian should acknowledge the facts of their world. Controversial, a hawk to the Israeli doves, a dove to the hawks, he has gone his own way."--Fouad Ajami, author of The Arab Predicament
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Back cover copy

One hundred years of life-and-death struggle between Jew and Arab over exclusive possession of Jerusalem and the Holy Land culminated in terrible blood baths and supreme acts of reconciliation, occurring during a short span of time: October 1990 to September 1993. Meron Benvenisti begins his excavation of this primordial struggle with the massacre on the Temple Mount in October 1990. Through this tragic lens, he brilliantly analyzes the entangled status of Jerusalem. He ends his book with the handshake of the Peace Accord in September 1993, a symbol of the promised peace. These are the two images of the intimate enmity between Israelis and Palestinians. Which image, he asks, represents the true nature of the conflict? Will a century of bloodshed prevent peace or will the future forgive the past? Is the conflict really over or have the rules of engagement simply shifted?
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Review quote

"Insightful study of the political, economic, and psychological dynamics between Israeli Jews and Palestinian and Israeli Arabs. . . . It's clear how knowledgeable and passionately engaged he is in his subject."--"Kirkus Reviews
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About Meron Benvenisti

Meron Benvenisti was Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem under Teddy Kollek from 1971 to 1978 and administered largely Arab East Jerusalem. In 1982 he established the West Bank Database Project. Currently a columnist for Haaretz, Israel's largest newspaper, he is the author of numerous books, including Conflicts and Contradictions (1986). Thomas L. Friedman has won two Pulitzer Prizes (1983, 1988) for his reporting from the Middle East. He is the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989), which received the National Book Award for nonfiction.
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