Wednesday, May 2, 2012
12:00 pm – 1:30pm
0142 Holzapfel Hall
Jewish Studies Seminar Room
University of Maryland

Efraim Karsh argues, contrary to the received wisdom, that there was nothing inevitable about the Palestinian-Jewish confrontation. Throughout the Mandate era (1920-48), he contends, the periods of peaceful coexistence far exceeded those of violent eruptions and the latter were the work of a small fraction of Palestinian Arabs, most of whom would rather coexist with their Jewish neighbors. The breakdown of this coexistence was the result of a triple betrayal of Palestinian Arabs (and Jews): by the Palestinian-Arab leadership, by the Arab states, and by the British mandatory authorities. A similar betrayal would take place some five decades later when Yasser Arafat and his PLO colleagues would use the Oslo Process as a platform for implementing their “phased strategy” for Israel’s destruction, rather than leading their people to the two-state solution, as many in the West Bank and Gaza would have preferred.

Efraim Karsh is Research Professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London, Director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia), and editor of the Middle East Quarterly, the Forum's flagship publication.

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