Cover of The Hundred Years' War on Palestine

In The Hundred Years' War on Palestine Rashid Khalidi takes us through six turning points of modern Palestinian history woven with family and personal history, including his frontline experience escaping Beirut during the 1982 Lebanon War. Khalidi has a long history as an advocate and an academic and writes a highly detailed account with an insider view. He covers the early Zionist movement, the Nakba of 1948, the Six Day War of 1967, the Lebanon War, the Intifadas and the rise of Hamas, giving context throughout as to who the geostrategic players are and how they change.

The book ends in 2017, with Trump making promises for a new deal for peace. Things don’t look good for the Palestinians. Khalidi offers some ideas on how to proceed in a constructive manner, from first principles of equality for both Palestinians and Israelis. There is a lot in the book about crafting a more favourable public opinion of Palestinians around the world, from a few different angles. It certainly presented perspectives new to me. One key argument is that the world cannot afford to have the US continue as sole, self-selected guarantor of the peace process. That is borne not just of the evidence presented in the book, but of what we have seen in the past couple of months.

I listened to an interview with Khalidi on a podcast or on YouTube somewhere right after October 7th. Many people were giving this book plaudits, and since he was so well spoken I thought I would give it a try. I am no specialist, so I cannot recommend this book with any real authority. But I found it very readable, appreciated the occasional personal history elements sprinkled throughout, and came away with some new frames for thinking about the problem. But I didn’t have to read this detailed and complex book to know that they need to STOP.