Review: Palestine Inside Out–An Everyday Occupation

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Country/Regional

Palestine Inside OutAbsolutely Vital, June 8, 2008

Saree Makdisi

FINAL REVIEW of 15 June 2008

I was moved and outraged by the cancellation of the author's appearance at the Politics & Prose bookstore, which shall never–in consequence–receive my custom. However, the benefit is that the author received space in the Washington Post, and the idiocyof the Politics & Prose management may well have done more good than bad as a result.

I have one word that summarizes my feelings after reading this book:


The other word, now in vogue in Egypt, is


The author, an American with both Lebanese and Palestinian heritages, is a scholar of English literature. His book is NOT a polemic. His book is an elegant essay on reality, perhaps the finest work I have ever been privileged to read on this topic, with notes, maps, and statistics of the first order.

The author does NOT seek to damn the Israelis, only to demonstrate, in calm reasoned well-documented language, that the Israelis have become the Nazis of our era, and that their ghettoization of Palestine, with gates, roadblocks, checkpoints, and walls, has become the atrocity of all atrocities in our time.

The opening insight grabs me: like Gandhi, the author sees that Palestine and Israel are one in spirit. He nails the Israeli objective: to occupy as much sacred land as possible, without regard to other peoples, religions, historic rights, or common perceptions of justice.

Gandhi had it right in the first place: the English were idiots to divide India. Similarly, Palestine is a Holy Land for all of us, and if the Israeli's cannot accept Gandhi's vision, then it is time we imposed it on them–there could be no better expenditure of $250 billion a year than in occupying Palestine, knocking down the fascist walls, and restoring the nature of that land to green and goodness, while making Jerusalem an international city similar to the Vatican, but open to all faiths.

I am completely fed up with ideological zealots, both left and right. Israel is clearly the enemy of peace in the Middle East, and an obstacle to progress there. I support the author's view, that a single holy state is needed, one that does not allow the Israelis to be the Gestapo of our time. More to the point, I agree with the author with respect to the inhumanity, immorality, indignity, and fiscally fatal inconvenience being imposed by the Israelis on the Palestinians.

This is where the book shines brightly: it is a meticulou8sly documented, ably presented catalogue of the day to day atrocities committed by the Israeli “police state” against individual Palestinians, families, and small businesses. Kafka could not have done better, but in this case, the author is not making it up. It is real, and it is a genocidal crime against humanity, day after day after day.

I have read many books, and a number on the Middle East, and I can only conclude that this book is totally extraordinary for the following reasons:

1) Multicultural perspective
2) Pragmatic review of the consequences of Israeli Gestapo tactics
3) Fullsome use of statistics to demonstrate Israeli atrocities against “day to day” Palestinian life and families
4) Timely–the era of state terror is over. It is time for We the People, including Palestinians and Jews, to rise up and dismember governments that cheat us, steal from us, and misrepresent us.

For perspectives that completely support the author's views as described in his article (I have posted a summary review of each):

A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)
Web of Deceit: The History of Western complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (American Empire Project)
Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State

I have also published (free online, in superb low-cost hardback on Amazon), COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, the first in a series from Earth Intelligence Network.

The bottom line of all of the above books is that governments are dysfunctional, corrupt, and cannot deal with complexity and adversity. We the People need to revitalize participatory democracy and stop waging war. Peace and prosperity for all seven billion can be achieved for one third the price we pay now for war. A strategy of peace is a strategy that will create infinite wealth.

It's time for America the Beautiful to be honest and open again. I totally embrace the idea of an international occupation of the Holy Land, with Jerusalem as an international city, the Israeli's stuffed back in their box, and a 50-year occupation that fully integrates Palestine and Israel and Lebanon, while providing both an international and a regional guarantee of dignity and justice for all in this sacred land.

The Israelis have dishonored God, dishonored man, and dishonored faith. They have become a modern holocaust unto themselves. For this they are damned by this author's bearing witness, as a people, absent a public uprising or international intervention.

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