“O Jerusalem” is a classic.
By focusing on one narrow yet vitally important aspect of the Arab-Jewish conflict surrounding the birth of Israel between WWII and 1948, the authors bring to life all the characters, good bad and neutral who played a role in the saga of Jerusalem. As readers of the book will discover, prior to 1948, Jerusalem was a city with a mixed Jewish-Arab population.
The Arabs and Jews lived in relative harmony, sometimes in mixed neighborhoods. Under British rule, all religious groups had access to their own holy sights. The authors demonstrate how villaims like Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, a rabid anti-semite who spent WWII hiding from the British in Berlin, brought ruin to the Arabs of Jerusalem. Indeed, the Arabs come across as the ultimate victims, which they were. Their victimizers were not the Jews, however, but their fellow Arabs.
Ultimately, war comes in 1948 and the Jews are victorious in establishing the state of Israel. Many Arab residents of Jerusalem are forced from their homes either by the Israeli Defense Force, fellow Arabs or their own fears. Most wind up in the part of the city that has come to be known as “East Jerusalem”. The old city, including the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall is captured by Jordan and ALL Jews are expelled.
The book describes in great detail, the tragic consequences of this conflict which was not wanted by the Jews, not wanted by their Arab neighbors but spurred on by interlopers like the Mufti, the British and many bad players fromt he Arab world like King Abdullah.
It is a fair analysis. It does not make the Jews out to be saints nor does it portray all the Arabs as blood thirsty monsters. It lays blame where it belongs. Those pre-disposed to a revisionist view of Israel’s birth will not appreciate this book because its fair analysis does not meet with revisionist ideology. But for anyone who wants to learn the truth about this conflict, this book is a must read.
For further NOTES See also the BACK COVER of the book!
|Author:||Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre|