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Gaza: A History (Comparative Politics and…

Gaza: A History (Comparative Politics and International Studies)

by Jean-Pierre Filiu

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Comparative Politics and International Studies

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Great history books put events in context, bring the historical figures to life, and let you know why those events and figures are important. The worst history books are rote recitals of names, dates and events.

I picked up an advance review copy of Gaza, by Jean-Pierre Filiu, hoping it would give me some insight into how we got to the current cycle of violence in the region. It does provide some of that.

Gaza sits at the intersection of Egypt and the Levant. Armies and empires crossed back and forth across the region for millennia. The current plight came during the creation of Israel. Palestinian refugees piled into the area around Gaza City and Israel herded the mass of those expelled in 1948. As Egypt and Israel fought in the area, the Gaza Strip was left relatively untouched.

The Gaza problem could have been prevented in 1949, Ben Gurion’s offer to annex the Gaza Strip as part of Israel was rejected by Egypt at the Lusanne conference. Instead, we have seen three generation of terrorism and oppression.

Unfortunately, Gaza is not a great history book. It falls closer to the other end of the spectrum. The recital of events gets particularly tiresome as the book approaches the last twenty years. The cycle of attacks from Gaza and escalating reprisals from Israel are repetitive. It could be twenty years ago or last month, similar events continue. ( )
  dougcornelius | Sep 12, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jean-Pierre Filiuprimary authorall editionscalculated
King, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0190201894, Hardcover)

Gaza has become synonymous with conflict and dispute. Though only slightly larger than Omaha, Nebraska at 140 square miles, the small territory of Gaza has been a hot spot for bitter disputes between sparring powers for millennia, from the Ancient Egyptians up until the British Empire and even today.

Wedged between the Negev and Sinai deserts on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, Gaza was contested by the Pharaohs, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Fatimids, Mamluks, Crusaders, and Ottomans. Then in 1948, 200,000 people sought refuge in Gaza-a marginal area neither Israel nor Egypt wanted. It is here that Palestinian nationalism grew and sprouted into a dream of statehood, a journey much filled with strife.

Though small in size, Gaza's history is nothing short of monumental. Jean-Pierre Filiu's Gaza is the first complete history of the territory in any language. Beginning with the Hyksos in 18th century BC, Filiu takes readers through modern times and the ongoing disputes of the region, ending with what may be in store for the future.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:40 -0400)

"Through its millennium-long existence, Gaza has often been bitterly disputed while simultaneously and paradoxically enduring prolonged neglect. Squeezed between the Negev and Sinai desert on the one hand and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, Gaza was contested by the Pharaohs, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Fatimids, the Mamluks, the Crusaders, and the Ottomans. Napoleon had to secure it in 1799 to launch his failed campaign on Palestine. In 1917, the British Empire fought for months to conquer Gaza, before establishing its mandate on Palestine. In 1948, 20,000 Palestinians sought refuge in Gaza, a marginal area that neither Israel nor Egypt wanted. Palestinian nationalism grew there, and Gaza has since found itself at the heart of Palestinian history. ." --Publisher's website.… (more)

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