Cover image for One Palestine, complete : Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate
One Palestine, complete : Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate
Segev, Tom, 1945-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Yeme ha-kalaniyot. English
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Metropolitan Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
viii, 612 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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DS126 .S38513 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
DS126 .S38513 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A panoramic and provocative history of life in Palestine during the three strife-torn but romantic decades when Britain ruled and the seeds of today's conflicts were sown

Tom Segev's acclaimed works, 1949 and The Seventh Million , overturned accepted views of the history of Israel. Now Segev explores the dramatic period before the creation of the state, when Britain ruled over "one Palestine, complete" (as noted in the receipt signed by the High Commissioner) and when its promise to both Jews and Arabs that they would inherit the land set in motion the conflict that haunts the region to this day.

Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival materials, Segev reconstructs a tumultuous era (1917 to 1948) of limitless possibilities and tragic missteps. He introduces the legendary figures--General Allenby, Lawrence of Arabia, David Ben-Gurion--as well as an array of pioneers, secret agents, diplomats, and fanatics. He tracks the steady advance of Jews and Arabs toward confrontation and with his hallmark originality puts forward a radical new argument: that the British, far from being pro-Arab, as commonly thought, consistently favored the Zionist position, and did so out of the mistaken--and anti-Semitic belief that Jews turned the wheels of history.

Rich in unforgettable characters, sensitive to all perspectives, One Palestine, Complete brilliantly depicts the decline of an empire, the birth of one nation, and the tragedy of another.

Author Notes

Tom Segev is a columnist for "Ha'aretz," Israel's leading newspaper, & the author of "One Palestine, Complete" & "1949: The First Israelis." His book, "The Seventh Million," has also been made into a documentary film. He lives in Jerusalem.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The recent failure of the latest round of peace talks between Jews and Palestinians will provide added interest in and immediacy to this fascinating book. Israeli Segev, author of the acclaimed 1949 and The Seventh Million, looks at the period from 1917 to 1948, "an era of terror and promise," when Britain ruled over Palestine and the current conflicts of the area were germinating. Using archival records, diaries, and letters, Segev provides an incredibly detailed account of the historical roots of the animosity between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine. More than 700 years of Muslim rule ended when the British push into the Middle East in the early 1900s, bringing Palestine under its control. The region was promised to both Arabs and Jews, but British policy tended to favor the Jews following the Balfour Declaration. Eventually, aggressive Zionist efforts opened the country to Jewish immigration, providing shelter for Jews fleeing the Holocaust and setting up conditions for the inevitable conflict that followed and continues. Segev profiles the legions of famous and obscure players in the drama that unfolded with the creation of Israel. He recounts the violent struggles between Arabs and Jews to gain the upper hand with the British, who were torn between an ebbing history of imperialism, indebtedness to the Arabs for their support against the Turks, and exaggerated fears of international Jewish influence. "The Palestine conflict was more than a struggle for land; it was also a battle for myths, religious faith, national honor, and history." Both sides fought with "primal fervor" that inevitably led to a blurring of distinctions between reality and symbolism, with the British helpless and ineffective in the middle. This is a stunning, absorbing work. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

"The British entered Palestine to defeat the Turks; they stayed there to keep it from the French; then they gave it to the Zionists because they loved `the Jews' even as they loathed them, at once admired and despised them, and above all feared them. They were not guided by strategic considerations, and there was no orderly decision-making process," claims Segev in revealing the thrust of his argument that the contemporary problems between the Arabs and the Jews over the issue of a promised homeland were exacerbated by the interventions of the British empire between the two world wars. Segev, author of the well-known and highly controversial books 1949 and The Seventh Million, is one of the "new historians" who have revised and demythologized the history of modern Israel. The reason the British feared the Zionists, Segev maintains, was that they believed that the Jews had inordinate political power around the world. Moreover, he suggests that the Arab rebellions of the late 1930s were instrumental in convincing the British to leave the reins to the Jewish Agency and even hypothesizes about how the British would have reacted if the Arabs had had a political infrastructure in place similar to that of the Jews. Although his argument would be more convincing had he given greater credence to the Palestinian perspective, Segev is an excellent historical writer who presents a compelling and timely discussion of a well-trodden subjectDeven if it does not stir as much controversy as his earlier work. (Nov. 14) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the past 50 years, Arab-Israeli relations have been marked by several wars and internecine conflicts. Understanding the events in Palestine during the first half of the 20th century, which shaped the future of this conflict, is critical to understanding the contemporary obstacles confronting the Middle East peace process. Israeli journalist Segev (1949: The First Israelis) has written a detailed, evenhanded account of these events, which led to the establishment of the state of Israel and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. By relying on a wealth of archival material, the author demonstrates how and why the British ultimately favored the Zionist forces over the Arabs and how they helped the nascent Zionist movement defeat the Palestinians and other Arabs. Highly recommended for both academic and large public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/00.]DNader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Until We Meet Againp. 1
Part I Illusion (1917-27)
1. Khalil al-Sakakini Receives a Visitorp. 13
2. "A Contract with Jewry"p. 33
3. Self-Servicep. 57
4. Ego Versus Egop. 85
5. Between Mohammed and Mr. Cohenp. 102
6. Nebi Musa, 1920p. 127
7. A Steady Gaze and a Firm Jawp. 145
8. Jaffa, 1921p. 173
9. Culture Warsp. 202
10. Yefim Gordin Comes to Palestinep. 224
11. A New Manp. 249
12. Negotiations with Friendsp. 270
Part II Terror (1928-38)
13. The Nerves of Jerusalemp. 295
14. Hebron, 1929p. 314
15. Breakfast at Chequersp. 328
16. Hamlet in Bir Zeitp. 342
17. Khalil al-Sakakini Builds a Homep. 360
18. Made in Palestinep. 375
19. The Story of a Donkeyp. 397
20. Ireland in Palestinep. 415
Part III Resolution (1939-48)
21. Hunting Seasonp. 447
22. "Give Me a Country Without Wars"p. 468
23. The Last Salutep. 487
Notesp. 521
Acknowledgmentsp. 600
Indexp. 603