Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993

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9780198296430: Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993
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Armed Struggle and The Search for State spans an entire epoch in the history of the contemporary Palestinian national movement, from the establishment of Israel in 1948, to the PLO-Israel accord of 1993. Contrary to the conventional view that national liberation movements proceed with state-building only after attaining independence, the case of the PLO shows that state-building may shape political institutionalisation, even in the absence of an autonomous territorial, economic, and social base.

This insightful study traces the political, ideological, and organisational evolution of the PLO and its constituent of guerrilla groups. Taking the much-vaunted 'armed struggle' as its connecting there, it shows how conflict was used to mobilise the mass constituency, assert particular discourses of revolution and nationalism, construct statist institutions, and establish legitimacy of a new political class and bureaucratic elite.

The book draws extensively on PLO archives, official publications and internal documents of the various guerrilla groups, and over 400 interviews conducted by the author with he PLO rank-and-file. Its span, primary sources and conceptual framework make this the definitive work on the subject.

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Review:

comprehensive and complete, and may, indeed be unique in terms of its combination of careful scholarship and an inside perspective (Rashid Khalidi, Middle East Journal, Vol 53, No 4, Autumn 1999)

This book is likely to be the last word on the topic of Palestinian armed struggle, both because there is little to say beyond Yezid Sayigh's extensive chronicle and analysis, and because it examines a phase of Palestinian history that has definitively ended ... This work is monumental for reasons which go far beyond its hefty size, because of the intensive research involved ... Few authors could have brought to this task the necessary expertise and personal experience, combined with a critical faculty and apparently inexhaustible patience ... all serious students of the subject will appreciate this book's comprehensive analysis of the Palestinian national movement. (Rashid Khalidi, Middle East Journal, Vol 53, No 4, Autumn 1999)

With 692 pages of text and 148 pages of notes, this massive work may well be used more as a reference than a book to be read cover to cover. The 68 page bibliography alone offers a treasure trove for scholars. Sayigh presents rich detail bur always keeps a clear focus on the many individuals, groups and ideologies that shape the PLO.-L.C. Brown. Foreign Affairs Vol.77 No. 6.

This is the best book on the Palestinian nationalist movement. It is based on rich and original sources and accompanied by an unprecedented number of oral interviews with most of the major figures of the nationalist movement. All major libraries and anyone interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict will want to read this book. R.W. Olson. CHOICE. December 1998.

'...although I have been trying to understand the subject myself for many decades, I learned a huge amount that was new or that allowed me to see matters from quite a different perspective. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who takes a series interest in the 20th century Middle East and it would immediately enter my list of the best ten books written about the modern history of the region. - Roger Owen, Harvard University

The 900 page volume ...stands as one of the most significant contributions to the history of Palestinian nationalism and the assessment of armed struggle of our times. - International Affairs

It is probably true that only a Palestinian with extraordinary access and skills could have written an intimate and comprehensive history of the PNM... Sayigh put more than 15 years of work and a blend of empathy, experience, scholarship and dispassionate analysis into this book... it is a monumental achievement, superseding all previous work on the subject. - Times Literary Supplement

It is an immensely learned work...it is also well-written and exciting reading, as a result of the profound commitment of the author to the Palestinian cause which, much to his credit, never stands in the way of scholarly analysis and detachment. - International Research Newsletter.

"...stimulating and meticulous study..." "As well as providing a detailed historical account of the background to these developments, Sayigh has also succeeded in providing a satisfying intellectual framework for understanding the processes which have carried forward the narrative of Palestinian identity and state formation during the years of dispersal." C. Tripp, Middle Eastern Studies, 2000

"This book is likely to be the last word on the topic of Paletinian armed struggle..." "The product of [Sayigh's] prodigious effort is comprehensive and complete, and may indeed be unique in terms of its combination of careful scholarship and an inside perspective." Rashid Khalidi, Middle East Journal, 2000

About the Author:

Yezid Sayigh is Assistant Director of Studies at the Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge

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9780198292654: Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993: Palestinian National Movement, 1949-93

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ISBN 10:  0198292651 ISBN 13:  9780198292654
Publisher: Clarendon Press, 1997
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