Cover image for The other side of despair : Jews and Arabs in the promised land
The other side of despair : Jews and Arabs in the promised land
Gavron, Daniel.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, MD. : Rowman & Littlefireld, [2004]

Physical Description:
251 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


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DS119.7 .G3825 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
DS119.7 .G3825 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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This compelling book takes the reader behind the headlines of the confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, examining its human dimension and setting it in a balanced historical context. In the last decade of the millennium, the century-long conflict came within a hair's breadth of a solution through the Oslo Accords, only to explode in violence, hatred, and mutual recrimination, following the failed summit at Camp David in the summer of 2000. In his search for understanding, Daniel Gavron talks to Israelis and Palestinians of all backgrounds and shades of opinion. Politicians and economists, entrepreneurs and writers, psychologists and teachers, men and women, veterans and youngsters, fervent militants and pragmatic realists all speak in these pages. We hear the Palestinian fighter and the Israeli soldier, the Jewish settler and the Arab Israeli, the negotiators from the opposite sides of the table, the bereaved parents. These Israeli and Palestinian voices reflect the excruciating agony of both societies, conveying a searing reality that, although seemingly hopeless, emphasizes the basic humanity of both peoples. In a startling final section, the author proposes a daring old-new idea to lead the region out of its tragic morass.

Author Notes

Born in London in 1935, Daniel Gavron emigrated to Israel in 1961. A long-time journalist, he has been a reporter for the Israel National Radio and the Jerusalem Post. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Commentary, the Wall Street Journal, and Ariel. His broadcasts have been aired on NBC and National Public Radio. He was a member of the team that founded Palestine-Israel Journal and the author of Walking Through Israel (Houghton Mifflin), Israel After Begin (Houghton Mifflin), and The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia (Rowman & Littlefield).

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a part of the world where extremists seem to be driving political affairs, veteran Israeli journalist Gavron focuses on more moderate voices in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In doing so, he has created a moving, if somewhat uneven, book. Gavron (Israel After Begin) presents brief profiles of 15 Israelis and Palestinians: old-time leftists, young fighters, bereaved parents. The result is a humanized portrait of individuals trapped in the "cycle of violence" and unable to see their way out. "It isn't true we want to throw the Jews into the sea," a Fatah militia leader says; a few pages later, an Israeli reserve soldier says that Israel "must get out of the territories." Activists on both sides may protest the implied moral relativism that is part of the book's structure-Gavron is fairly even-handed in apportioning blame for today's ongoing violence-but most readers will appreciate the honest, behind-the-scenes look at how ordinary people suffer from everyday violence and try to make sense of it. In the final two chapters, Gavron shifts gears and resuscitates an old idea: instead of a two-state solution, he proposes creating a single, binational state, shared by the Israelis and Palestinians. The idea has little currency in today's Middle East, but it's a measure of the failure of the two-state solution that, when Gavron points out the extent to which Israel and the territories are already enmeshed, the plan doesn't seem so ridiculous. But it deserves a fuller treatment than Gavron gives it here. B&w photos, maps. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Gavron was born in London in 1935 and moved to Israel in 1961, worked as a reporter for Israel Radio, and authored a number of books, including Israel after Begin (1984) and The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia (2000). Beginning with a remarkably balanced, 40-page overview of the historical evolution and contemporary situation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Gavron then profiles 16 Palestinians and Israelis to bring a human dimension to different perspectives of the struggle. He carefully explains such categories as "Palestinian patrician" (Nasser Eddin Nashashibi), "Israeli pioneer" (Lova Eliav), "reluctant warrior" (Adi Eilat), "non-violent militant" (Jonathan Kuttab), "bereaved parent" (Yitzhak Frankenthal), and "second generation settler" (Meira Dolev). Gavron perceives the problem as simple in that two peoples claim the same land, but complex in terms of resolving the tension and sharing the land. He favors a multicultural, democratic, single-state solution. For readers interested in different points of view on the Palestinian-Israeli dilemma. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate collections. B. Harris Jr. Occidental College