The Origins and Evolution of the Arab-Zionist Conflict

Michael Joseph Cohen, Author University of California Press $0 (183p) ISBN 978-0-520-05821-7
A basic survey of British-Arab-Zionist relations, this useful study is intended as a nonspecialist's guide to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Cohen examines Sir Henry McMahon's 1915 letter to Sharif Husayn, in which the British high commissioner indicated (albeit ambiguously) that his government would recognize Arab independence. Analyzing this seminal document for its motives and intentions, the author suggests that the monumental dispute still raging 72 years later had its roots in a sloppy translation, concluding that the letter itself was ""little more than a cynical emergency measure, taken to lure the Arabs out of the Turkish camp.'' Applying a scholarly microscope to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the British came out in favor of Zionist aspirations for a Jewish homeland, he focuses on the fundamental contradiction: the British promised Palestine first to the Arabs and then to the Jews. Many of the basic policy documents are presented in an appendix. Cohen is a history professor at the University of British Columbia. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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