Gaza: A History

Jean-Pierre Filiu. Oxford Univ, $29.95 (408p) ISBN 978-0-190-20189-0
French historian Filiu (The Arab Revolution) presents a straightforward, chronological history of one of the most politically important and controversial places in the world, the city of Gaza and its surrounding territory. Filiu asserts that it is impossible to understand the essence of the current situation in Palestine without understanding the history of Gaza. Relying mostly on Arabic archival materials and interviews with prominent individuals, Filiu makes the case that Gaza and its history are uniquely Arabic, unlike much of Palestine, and therefore central to the eventual creation of an Palestinian Arab state. He traces the history of the city from its ancient establishment through 2011, with an emphasis on the post-WWII conflict between native Arabs and the new state of Israel. Filiu divides Gaza’s modern history into three periods: the time of mourning after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War; the time of submission after the Israeli occupation in 1967; and the time of the intifada that began in the mid-1980s. The book ends with an analysis of the current competition between Palestinian Nationalists and Islamists for control of Gaza. Superbly researched and well written, Filiu’s work is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand contemporary affairs in the Middle East and the relationship between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/16/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
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Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-84904-401-1
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