Older books – Current Affairs/Politics
This page contains details of books previously listed on the Most Recently Published Books page. Books are listed in alphabetical order of the author. All the books were published in 2011 or later.
Nadia Abu-Zahra and Adah Kay: Unfree in Palestine: Registration, documentation and movement restriction (2012)
David Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt (eds.): The battle for public opinion in Europe (2012)
Emanuel Adler (Ed.): Israel in the World: legitimacy and exceptionalism (2012)
Udi Aloni, Slavoj Zizek, A.Badiou & Judith Butler: What Does a Jew Want?: On Binationalism and Other Specters (2011)
Ariella Azoulay & Adi Ophir: The One-State condition: Occupation and democracy in Israel/Palestine (2012)
Abeer Baker & Anat Matar: Threat: Palestinian political prisoners in Israel (2011)
Omar Barghouti: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (2011)
Dan Bavly & As’ad Ghanem: One state two peoples: Restoring hope for Palestinian-Israeli peace (2013)
Peter Beinart: The crisis of Zionism (2012)
Greta Berlin & William Dienst (Eds.): Freedom sailors: The maiden voyage of the Free Gaza movement and how we succeeded in spite of ourselves (2012)
Amahl Bishara: Back stories: U.S. news production and Palestinian politics (2012)
Michael Bröning: The politics of change in Palestine (2011)
Rex Brynen & Roula El-Riafi (Eds.): Compensation to Palestinian refugees and the search for Palestinian-Israeli peace (2013)
Judith Butler: Parting ways: Jewishness and the critique of Zionism (2012)
Julia Chaitin: Peace-building in Israel and Palestine: Social psychology and grassroots initiatives (2011)
Noam Chomsky & Illan Pappe: Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s war against the Palestinians (2011)
Dan Cohen-Sherbok: The Palestinian state (2012)
John Collins: Global Palestine (2011)
Yuval Elizur & Lawrence Malkin: The war within: Israel’s ulta-orthodox threat to democracy and the nation (2013)
Hani Faris: The failure of the two-state solution; The prospects of one state in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (2013)
Norman Finkelstein: Knowing too much (2012)
Michelle Gawerc: Prefiguring peace: Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding partnerships (2012)
David Goldberg: This is not the way: Jews, Judaism and Israel (2012)
Hirsh Goodman: Anatomy of Israel’s survival (2011)
Erella Grassiani: Soldiering under occupation: Processes of numbing among Israeli soldiers in the Al-Aqsa intifada (2013)
Toby Greene: Blair, Labour and Palestine: Conflicting views on Middle East peace (2013)
Lev Luis Grinberg: Politics and violence in Israel/Palestine: democracy versus military rule (2011)
David Guinn: Protecting Jerusalem’s Holy Sites: A Strategy for Negotiating a Sacred Peace (2011)
Rumy Hasan: Dangerous liaisons: The clash between Islamism and Zionism (New Generation Publishing, 2013, paperback, £9.99)
Reece Jones: Border walls: security and the war on terror in the United States, India and Israel (2012)
Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta: Refusing to be enemies: Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation (2011)
Naomi Klein & Roane Carey (Eds.): The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (2011)
Daniel Kurtzer: Pathways to peace: America and the Arab-Israeli conflict (2012)
Michael Lerner: Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East (2011)
Audrea Lim (Ed.): The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (2012)
Antony Loewenstein & Ahmed Moor (Eds.): After Zionism: One state for Israel and Palestine (2012)
Moshe Machover: Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and resolution (2012)
Saree Makdisi: Palestine inside out (2011)
Elizabeth Matthews (ed.): The Israel- Palestine conflict: Parallel discourses (2011)
Sari Nusseibeh: What Is a Palestinian State Worth? (2011)
Atalia Omer: When peace is not enough: How the Israeli peace camp thinks about religion, nationalism and justice (2013)
Nurit Peled-Elhanan: Palestine in Israeli school books: Ideology and propaganda in education (2011)
Amos Oz: How to cure a fanatic (2012)
Ilan Peleg & Dov Waxman: Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within (2011)
Diana Pinto: Israel has moved (2013)
Michael Riordon: Our way to fight: Peace-Work under siege in Israel-Palestine (2011)
Sara Roy: Hamas and civil society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist social sector (2011)
Josh Ruebner: Shattered hopes: Obama’s failure to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace (2013)
Paul Scham, Benjamin Pogrund & As’ad Ghanem (eds.): Shared Narratives—A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue (2013)
Yehouda Shenhav: Beyond the Two–State solution (2012)
Ben White: Palestinans in Israel: Segregation, discrimination and democracy (2011)
Asa Winstanley & Frank Barat: Corporate complicity in Israel’s occupation: Evidence from the London session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (2011)
Rich Wiles (Ed.): Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (2013)
Elia Zureik et al. (Eds.): Surveillance and control in Israel/Palestine: Population, territory and power (2013)
Publisher’s description: Based on first-hand accounts and extensive fieldwork, Unfree in Palestine reveals the role played by identity documents in Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians, from the red passes of the 1950s to the orange, green and blue passes of today. The authors chronicle how millions of Palestinians have been denationalised through the bureaucratic tools of census, population registration, blacklisting and a discriminatory legal framework. They show how identity documents are used by Israel as a means of coercion, extortion, humiliation and informant recruitment. Movement restrictions tied to IDs and population registers threaten Palestinian livelihoods, freedom of movement and access to basic services such as health and education. Unfree in Palestine is a masterful expose of the web of bureaucracy used by Israel to deprive the Palestinians of basic rights and freedoms, and calls for international justice and inclusive security in place of discrimination and division.
Publisher’s description: Mainstream media in European countries commonly espouse Israeli government propaganda when reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict often reflecting the attitudes of their respective governments, and betraying an imbalance of support for Israeli interests over those of Palestinians. This in turn conveys a rather unbalanced and obscured version of events and issues to the European media consumer. Nevertheless, recent events like the Gaza War (2008/9) have enabled increasing numbers of Europeans to see through the smoke screen. In 2011 the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) in collaboration with Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) and the European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC) at Exeter University commissioned a pioneering study to gauge European public perceptions on the conflict. The study, carried out by one of Europe’s most reputable polling and research institutions, surveyed over 7,000 adults from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain. This collection of essays is the compelling and timely analyses of that study. (…) Chapters cover such topics as the broadcasters’ false portrayal of the conflict; the rise of the Israel lobby in Europe; questions of the inclusion and exclusion of Hamas; extremist nationalism in Europe and support for Israel; and changing perceptions relating to the conflict. The book further addresses the consequences that these changes in public perception might be expected to have on European policy-making.
Reviews: Middle East Monitor
Publisher’s description: Since independence, Israel has lived with a paradox, needing and seeking legitimacy, understanding, and empathy from the world community while simultaneously also discounting the world. This volume reflects upon Israel’s troubled attempts to balance its desire to be different from a world that it simultaneously genuinely needs and that it also wants to be a legitimate member of. Gathering distinguished scholars and public figures, this timely book discusses the causes and consequences of Israel’s unsettled relations with the world. With essays ranging from an account of Israel’s exile mentality and the cosmopolitanism of suffering to a fragmenting international legal order and whether an authentic religious process can transform religion into a powerful lever for peace, the book’s innovative analysis will spark both academic and public debate.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: In the hopes of promoting justice, peace, and solidarity for and with the Palestinian people, Udi Aloni joins with Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler to confront the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their bold question: Will a new generation of Israelis and Palestinians dare to walk together toward a joint Israel-Palestine? Through a collage of meditation, interview, diary, and essay, Aloni and his interlocutors present a personal, intellectual, and altogether provocative account rich with the insights of philosophy and critical theory. They ultimately foresee the emergence of a binational Israeli-Palestinian state, incorporating the work of Walter Benjamin, Edward Said, and Jewish theology to recast the conflict in secular theological terms.
Reviews: Menorah Review
Publisher’s description: Since the start of the occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel’s domination of the Palestinians has deprived an entire population of any political status or protection. But even decades on, most people speak of this rule (…) as temporary, as a state of affairs incidental and external to the Israeli regime. In The One-State Condition, Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir directly challenge this belief. Looking closely at the history and contemporary formation of the ruling apparatus—the technologies and operations of the Israeli army, the General Security Services, and the legal system imposed in the Occupied Territories—Azoulay and Ophir outline the one-state condition of Israel/Palestine: the grounding principle of Israeli governance is the perpetuation of differential rule over populations of differing status. Israeli citizenship is shaped through the active denial of Palestinian citizenship and civil rights. Though many Israelis, on both political right and left, agree that the occupation constitutes a problem for Israeli democracy, few ultimately admit that Israel is no democracy or question the very structure of the Israeli regime itself. Too frequently ignored are the lasting effects of the deceptive denial of the events of 1948 and 1967, and the ways in which the resulting occupation has reinforced the sweeping militarization and recent racialization of Israeli society. Azoulay and Ophir show that acknowledgment of the one-state condition is not only a prerequisite for considering a one- or two-state solution; it is a prerequisite for advancing new ideas to move beyond the trap of this false dilemma.
Publisher’s description: Palestinian prisoners charged with security-related offences are immediately taken as a threat to Israel’s security. They are seen as potential, if not actual, suicide bombers. This stereotype ignores the political nature of the Palestinian prisoners’ actions and their desire for liberty.
By highlighting the various images of Palestinian prisoners in the Israel-Palestine conflict, Abeer Baker and Anat Matar chart their changing fortunes. Essays written by prisoners, ex-prisoners, Human rights defenders, lawyers and academic researchers analyse the political nature of imprisonment and Israeli attitudes towards Palestinian prisoners. These contributions deal with the prisoners’ status within Palestinian society, the conditions of their imprisonment and various legal procedures used by the Israeli military courts in order to criminalise and de-politicise them. Also addressed are Israel’s breaches of international treaties in its treatment of the Palestinian prisoners, practices of torture and solitary confinement, exchange deals and prospects for release.
Publisher’s description: International boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts helped topple South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime. In this urgent book, Omar Barghouti makes the case for a rights-based BDS campaign to stop Israel’s rapacious occupation, colonization, and apartheid against the Palestinian people. This considered, convincing collection contributes to the growing debate on Israel’s violations of international law and points the way forward to a united global civil society movement for freedom, justice, self-determination, and equality for all.
Publisher’s description: The last decade has witnessed the most hostile confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis in their century-long conflict. Most of the recently proposed peace plans have assumed that partitioning the territory of Mandatory Palestine into two separate states would be the ideal solution. Given the demographic changes and the established settlements that have taken hold during the past generation, that flawed presumption has led to a stalemate and to despair for both parties. One State, Two Peoples argues that any border drawn to divide the country would be artificial and leave dissatisfied militant elements on both sides. Partition would leave more than a million Palestinians under Israeli sovereignty and citizenship, and hundreds of thousands Israeli citizens living in the Palestinian territory. On a practical level, commonsense asserts that managing water, economic, transportation, communications, and many other issues needs a centralized and highly coordinated approach. Two separate states and administrations would not be able to address these essential matters effectively. Dan Bavly and As’ad Ghanem demonstrate that the only way to break the impasse is to work toward integration with full equality and parity.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: Israel’s next great crisis may come not with the Palestinians or Iran but with young American Jews. A dramatic shift is taking place in Israel and America. In Israel, the deepening occupation of the West Bank is putting Israeli democracy at risk. In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organizations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself. In the next generation, the liberal Zionist dream—the dream of a state that safeguards the Jewish people and cherishes democratic ideals—may die. In The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart lays out in chilling detail the looming danger to Israeli democracy and the American Jewish establishment’s refusal to confront it. And he offers a fascinating, groundbreaking portrait of the two leaders at the center of the crisis: Barack Obama, America’s first “Jewish president,” a man steeped in the liberalism he learned from his many Jewish friends and mentors in Chicago; and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister who considers liberalism the Jewish people’s special curse. These two men embody fundamentally different visions not just of American and Israeli national interests but of the mission of the Jewish people itself. Beinart concludes with provocative proposals for how the relationship between American Jews and Israel must change, and with an eloquent and moving appeal for American Jews to defend the dream of a democratic Jewish state before it is too late.
Publisher’s description: Freedom Sailors is an account of how a small group of ordinary people conceived and executed what seemed like a grandiose plan to break Israel’s illegal military blockade of the Gaza Strip, a blockade that keeps more than 1.5 million people in an open-air prison. In August 2008, our two ramshackle boats, Free Gaza and Liberty, were hiding out somewhere in the Mediterranean, battling mechanical problems and bad weather as they slowly and furtively made their way to Cyprus. This book is an account from those of us on the boats and those Palestinians waiting for us in Gaza, a story of determination in the face of overwhelming odds.
Publisher’s description: Contrary to public perception, new political trends in the Palestinian Territories bolster prospects for the realisation of Palestinian national aspirations. Michael Bröning identifies key indicators which fundamentally question dominant Israeli narratives and pose an unprecedented strategic challenge to the Israeli leadership. These include the re-invention of Hamas, the reform of the Fatah movement, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s state-building efforts and the surge of non-violent resistance against Israel.
Publisher’s description: Studying how journalists work in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus, and on the tense roads that connect these cities, Amahl Bishara demonstrates how the production of U.S. news about Palestinians depends on multifaceted collaborations, typically invisible to Western readers. She focuses on the work that Palestinian journalists do behind the scenes and below the bylines—as fixers, photojournalists, camerapeople, reporters, and producers—to provide the news that Americans read, see, and hear every day. Ultimately, this book demonstrates how Palestinians play integral roles in producing U.S. news and how U.S. journalism in turn shapes Palestinian politics. U.S. objectivity is in Palestinian journalists’ hands, and Palestinian self-determination cannot be fully understood without attention to the journalist standing off to the side, quietly taking notes. Back Stories examines news stories big and small—Yassir Arafat’s funeral, female suicide bombers, protests against the separation barrier, an all-but-unnoticed killing of a mentally disabled man—to investigate urgent questions about objectivity, violence, the state, and the production of knowledge in today’s news.
Rex Brynen & Roula El-Rifai (Eds.): Compensation to Palestinian refugees and the search for Palestinian-Israeli peace (Pluto Press, 2013, paperback, £22.50)
Publisher’s description: One of the core aspects of the Palestinian refugee question is that of compensation or reparations for Palestinian refugees forcibly displaced by the establishment of Israel. Despite the importance of the issue, many of the complex technical issues compensation would entail have not received adequate attention. In this volume, a rich variety of contributors (…) examine the topic from an array of legal, economic, and political perspectives. In doing so, they cast new and important light on the way the issue has been approached in past negotiations, the structure of possible compensation regimes and potential challenges and obstacles to implementation.
Reviews: Middle East Monitor
Publisher’s description: Judith Butler follows Edward Said’s late suggestion that through a consideration of Palestinian dispossession in relation to Jewish diasporic traditions a new ethos can be forged for a one-state solution. Butler engages Jewish philosophical positions to articulate a critique of political Zionism and its practices of illegitimate state violence, nationalism, and state-sponsored racism. At the same time, she moves beyond communitarian frameworks, including Jewish ones, that fail to arrive at a radical democratic notion of political cohabitation. (…) In her view, it is as important to dispute Israel’s claim to represent the Jewish people as it is to show that a narrowly Jewish framework cannot suffice as a basis for an ultimate critique of Zionism. She promotes an ethical position in which the obligations of cohabitation do not derive from cultural sameness but from the unchosen character of social plurality. Recovering the arguments of Jewish thinkers who offered criticisms of Zionism or whose work could be used for such a purpose, Butler disputes the specific charge of anti-Semitic self-hatred often leveled against Jewish critiques of Israel. Her political ethic relies on a vision of cohabitation that thinks anew about binationalism and exposes the limits of a communitarian framework to overcome the colonial legacy of Zionism. (…) Butler considers the rights of the dispossessed, the necessity of plural cohabitation, and the dangers of arbitrary state violence, showing how they can be extended to a critique of Zionism, even when that is not their explicit aim. She revisits and affirms Edward Said’s late proposals for a one-state solution within the ethos of binationalism. Butler’s startling suggestion: Jewish ethics not only demand a critique of Zionism, but must transcend its exclusive Jewishness in order to realize the ethical and political ideals of living together in radical democracy.
Publisher’s description: This book brings together social psychology understandings with grassroots peace-building initiatives in the Israeli-Palestinian context. For 40 years, researchers have explored the reasons for the conflict and its impacts, while Israeli and Palestinian civil society actors have undertaken joint peace-building activities. Peace-Building in Israel and Palestine offers an in-depth look at psycho-social research on the conflict and presents and analyzes diverse grassroots activities: joint research, women’s social-economic empowerment, dialogue groups, political tourism, and peace-building efforts between Israelis and Palestinians from Gaza. The book offers new conceptualizations concerning the co-creation of a socially just Israeli-Palestinian grassroots peace process.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: From the targeting of schools and hospitals, to the indiscriminate use of white phosphorus, Israel’s conduct in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ has rattled even some of its most strident supporters.In this book, Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé survey the fallout from that devastation, and place the massacre in Gaza in the context of Israel’s long-standing war against the Palestinians.
Publisher’s description: The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is a constant theme on television and in newspapers. The images of heavily armed soldiers facing young Palestinians–like Goliath confronting David–have evoked dismay and consternation. At present the Palestinian people are calling upon the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian statehood. This volume, written by a Reform rabbi and Professor of Judaism, draws on the moral treasures of the Jewish faith in making a case for the creation of a Palestinian state. After nearly a century of bloodshed it is time, he writes, for the empowered to empower those who seek national identity.
Publisher’s description: Global Palestine offers a unique perspective on one of the world’s most enduring political controversies by exploring a deceptively simple question: what does Palestine mean for the globe? The book begins from three overlapping premises. First, contemporary Palestine is the site of an ongoing project of settler colonisation. Second, as a growing movement of international solidarity indicates, Palestine’s global importance seems to be increasing in inverse proportion to the amount of territory actually controlled by Palestinians. Third, understanding why and how Palestine matters globally requires situating the ‘local’ struggle over Palestine in relation to a series of global processes that shape the conditions within which all of us live our lives, including the four processes that underpin this book: colonisation, securitisation, acceleration, and occupation. Far from simply being influenced by these processes, Palestine has served as a laboratory for many of them, pushing them forward in profound ways, and Collins’ analysis reveals clues to a series of emerging global conditions
Publisher’s description: In recent years there has been a war raging in Israel, not only the intractable conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. For many Israelis, it is the internecine conflict with the ultra-orthodox Haredim that impacts their lives the most. Because of the current administration’s policies, a sizable and influential swath of the Israeli population is wholly dependent on government largesse, even while their leaders continually under-mine and renounce the state that makes their way of life possible. The first book on a long-neglected issue that is quickly crystallizing into a national debate and featuring a new afterword exploring the changes in Israel in 2013, The War Within is a lively and trenchant exploration of the battle between church and state.
Hani Faris: The failure of the two-state solution: The prospects of one state in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (I.B.Tauris, 2013 £65)
Publisher’s description: Diplomats, politicians and activists alike have long laboured under the assumption that a two-state solution is the only path to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But as this goal has not come to fruition, and the ever-elusive scepter of peace slips further from reach, violence and instability deepen.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: Traditionally, American Jews have been broadly liberal in their political outlook; indeed African-Americans are the only ethnic group more likely to vote Democratic in US elections. Over the past half century, however, attitudes on one topic have stood in sharp contrast to this group’s generally progressive stance: support for Israel. Despite Israel’s record of militarism, illegal settlements and human rights violations, American Jews have, stretching back to the 1960s, remained largely steadfast supporters of the Jewish “homeland.” But, as Norman Finkelstein explains in an elegantly-argued and richly-textured new book, this is now beginning to change. Reports by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations, and books by commentators as prominent as President Jimmy Carter and as well-respected in the scholarly community as Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer and Peter Beinart, have increasingly pinpointed the fundamental illiberalism of the Israeli state. In the light of these exposes, the support of America Jews for Israel has begun to fray. (…) In successive chapters that combine Finkelstein’s customary meticulous research with polemical brio, Knowing Too Much sets the work of defenders of Israel such as Jeffrey Goldberg, Michael Oren, Dennis Ross and Benny Morris against the historical record, showing their claims to be increasingly tendentious..
Publisher’s description: Prefiguring Peace: Israeli-Palestinian Peacebuilding Partnerships, a longitudinal study of more than ten years (1993–2008), focuses on the major peacebuilding initiatives with an educational encounter-based approach in Israel and Palestine. It examines how non-governmental peacebuilding initiatives adapt to radically changing environments, the challenges they face, and why some are able to adapt and survive while others do not. Gawerc explores two aspects of adaptation—the ability to maintain resources and legitimacy with critical constituencies outside the organization, and the ability to continue to function effectively as an organization. Her study shows that when the environment became more tumultuous and hostile, the effectiveness and even survival of these organizations depended to a significant degree on their ability to manage the power asymmetry between the two sides and work as equally as possible. Indeed, it became critical for building and maintaining trust and respect in the partnership; for preserving legitimacy with one’s partner; for maintaining staff and active participant commitment; for managing internal conflict; and even for managing resources. Organizations that failed to deal effectively with matters of equality, and the needs and desires of both sides, ended up struggling to maintain commitment or were doused in conflict that could have been tempered if they strived for more equality.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: Few subjects invoke more controversy than the past history and current influence of Diaspora Jews in Western societies and the nature of their relationship with the state of Israel. David Goldberg discusses these issues with authority, wisdom and humour: the role of Israel in Jewish life, the question of Jewish identity in an increasingly multicultural world and the minimal hold of religious belief on what nowadays is an overwhelmingly secular people. Goldberg argues that many of the shibboleths of the Jewish establishment, especially in the USA, are exaggerated or false. It is wrong automatically to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism: one can be a trenchant critic of Israeli policies without being hostile to all Jews: ‘Zionism as an ideology should no more be protected from critical analysis than capitalism, socialism, colonialism or Islamism.’ Israel is often treated too indulgently, he argues, by the Diaspora. It is becoming an alien place for secular or religiously liberal Jews who find its aggressive nationalism and assertive fundamentalism increasingly difficult to take. And the axiomatic identification of Israel with the Holocaust – always using the enormity of the latter to justify the actions of the former – has had baneful results for both. His discussion of the perennial ‘Who is a Jew?’ question is equally trenchant. He rejects all previous rabbinic criteria for defining Jewish status, proposing that a Jew is simply anyone who insists that he or she is one, because ultimately what can be truer than self-definition?
Publisher’s description: The question “Can Israel survive?” has echoed loud for Israelis—and Jews, their supporters and adversaries worldwide—since the Holocaust. The recent upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond have raised it anew. Israeli journalist and security analyst Hirsh Goodman set out to answer it, through rigorous factual assessment of each of the challenges his country faces, and by consulting experts and participants on all sides of every complex issue. But what he learned was that this once ‘essential question’ has become a dangerous distraction. In this provocative and deeply informed book, Goodman shares his clarifying analyses both of recent political events and of Israel’s strategic position. He shows how the country’s obsession with dangers posed by outside forces has obscured the harder issues facing it from within ever since its leaders disregarded Ben Gurion’s advice to leave the territories captured during the Six Day War. By yoking itself to the demographic timebomb of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel propelled itself towards an invidious choice: democracy or Jewish identity. Now, Goodman argues, Israel’s survival is jeopardized more by the competence of its leaders and fissures in its social and political system than by any outside threat—even the apocalyptic-sounding ones from Iran.
Erella Grassiani: Soldiering under occupation: Processes of numbing among Israeli soldiers in the Al-Aqsa intifada (Berghahn Books, 2013, paperback, £19.50)
Publisher’s description: Often, violent behavior or harassment from a soldier is dismissed by the military as unacceptable acts by individuals termed, “rotten apples.” In this study, the author argues that this dismissal is unsatisfactory and that there is an urgent need to look at the (mis)behavior of soldiers from a structural point of view. When soldiers serve as an occupational force, they find themselves in a particular situation influenced by structural circumstances that heavily influence their behavior and moral decision-making. This study focuses on young Israeli men and their experiences as combat soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), particularly those who served in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (OPT) during the “Al Aqsa Intifada,” which broke out in 2000. In describing the soldiers’ circumstances, especially focusing on space, the study shows how processes of numbing on different levels influence the (moral) behavior of these soldiers.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Toby Greene: Blair, Labour and Palestine: Conflicting views on Middle East peace (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013, £70)
Publisher’s description: Many of Tony Blair’s policy decisions in the Israeli-Palestinian arena were controversial and politically costly. Blair, Labour and Palestine argues that gaps between him and much of his party were rooted in different world views. A positive attitude towards Israel came to be seen as a defining mark of New Labour loyalists. However, contrasting views among left-leaning strands in the party reflected a broader set of ideological rifts. Such differences became increasingly significant in the wake of 9/11 as British policymakers sought to understand and respond to Islamic anger against the West. Based on interviews conducted by the author and on previously unseen documents, this unique case study shows how the distinctive world view of a political leader defined foreign policy, by shaping Britain’s response to Islamist violence and its interconnected approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Author Toby Greene also examines the extent to which ministers and officials considered shifting foreign policy in response to fears of Islamist radicalisation in the UK, and Blair’s role in stopping this trend, especially after the 7/7 bombings.
Publisher’s description: The Israeli regime is a paradox. Considered a democracy, it has no recognized borders and controls the majority of Palestinians by military rule, while the resistance of non-citizen Palestinians exerts major influence over politics and policies. Drawing on detailed academic research and a broad knowledge of Israeli politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this book narrates and analyzes the political developments of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the conflict with Hezbollah and Hamas, explaining the dangers to future negotiations and how hopes for a settlement have been dashed by the ongoing violence. The author explores the internal Israel and Palestinian politics, showing how they influence the conflict and explaining the central role of military organizations in shaping the relations towards the other nation. With particular relevance to current events, he analyzes the Unilateral Disengagement from Gaza and the second Lebanon War, which account for the deterioration into the present violence and political crisis, explaining the need for international mediation in order to reach a peace agreement and suggesting a new innovative model for future Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Publisher’s description: The holy sites in Jerusalem exist as objects of international veneration and sites of nationalist contest. They stand at the heart of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, yet surprisingly, the many efforts to promote peace, mostly by those outside the Middle East, have ignored the problem. This 2006 book seeks to address this omission by focusing upon proposals of development of a legal regime to protect the holy sites separable from the final peace negotiations to not only protect the holy sites but promote peace by removing these particularly volatile icons from the field of conflict. Peace and the protection of the holy sites cannot occur without the consent and co-operation of those on the ground. This book supports local involvement by developing a comprehensive plan for how to negotiate: outlining the relevant history, highlighting issues of import, and identifying effective strategies for promoting negotiation.
Reviews: none yet available
Rumy Hasan: Dangerous liaisons: The clash between Islamism and Zionism (New Generation Publishing, 2013, paperback, £9.99)
Publisher’s description: In this follow up to the acclaimed Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths Rumy Hasan examines a little explored but extremely important issue that has profound global implications A fresh look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as it is shaped to become the iconic clash between a colonizing, aggressive Zionism and the Islamic states and cultures which surround it – a timely, broad-based and rich analysis of the civilizational conflict affecting people the world over, from the ‘War on Terror’ to the complications of a multicultural Europe.
Reviews: Amazon (review by JfJfP signatory)
Publisher’s description: Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, why are leading democracies like the United States, India, and Israel building massive walls and fences on their borders? Despite predictions of a borderless world through globalization, these three countries alone have built an astonishing total of 5,700 kilometers of security barriers. In this groundbreaking work, Reece Jones analyzes how these controversial border security projects were justified in their respective countries, what consequences these physical barriers have on the lives of those living in these newly securitized spaces, and what long-term effects the hardening of political borders will have in these societies and globally. Border Walls is a bold, important intervention that demonstrates that the exclusion and violence necessary to secure the borders of the modern state often undermine the very ideals of freedom and democracy the barriers are meant to protect.
Reviews: e-International Relations
Publisher’s description: Presents the voices of over 100 practitioners and theorists of nonviolence, the vast majority either Palestinian or Israeli, as they reflect on their own involvement in nonviolent resistance and speak about the nonviolent strategies and tactics employed by Palestinian and Israeli organizations, both separately and in joint initiatives. From examples of effective nonviolent campaigns to consideration of obstacles encountered by nonviolent organizations and the special challenges of joint struggle, the book explores ways in which a more effective nonviolent movement may be built. In their own words, activists share their hopes and visions for the future and discuss the internal and external changes needed for their organizations, and the nonviolent movement as a whole, to successfully pursue their goal of a just peace in the region.
Publisher’s description: Israel’s murderous assault on the peace flotilla, and the continuing blockade of Gaza, has led many to despair of the official Middle East ‘peace process’ -if it ever had been pursued in earnest, it lies in tatters after the Second Lebanon War, the Gaza War, and the continuing expansion of illegal settlements. Despite the Goldstone Report and numerous UN resolutions, the US and EU offer only the mildest rebukes in response to IDF actions, and they refuse to dampen the flow of economic and military aid to Israel. As a result of this ongoing bloodshed and diplomatic deadlock, the movement for a boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) campaign has been building in strength within Israel and Palestine, and is now spreading to Europe and the US. This essential intervention considers all sides of the argument-including detailed comparisons with the South African experience-and has contributions from both sides of the Separation Wall, along with a stellar list of international commentators.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: The recent upheavals in the Middle East are challenging long-held assumptions about the dynamics between the United States, the Arab world, and Israel. In Pathways to Peace, today’s leading experts explain these changes in the region and their positive implications for the prospect of a sustained peace between Israel and the Arab World. These distinguished politicians, diplomats, and specialists – including former Secretary of State James A. Baker III; President Clinton’s National Security Adviser, Samuel Berger; and American, Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian peace negotiators – offer uniquely informed views on how to advance the peace process. They cover topics as diverse as governance, security, internal public relations, and strategy and tactics.
Publisher’s description: A major modern conundrum is how the Arab/Israel conflict remains unresolved and, seemingly, unresolvable. In this inspirational book, Rabbi Michael Lerner suggests that a change in consciousness is crucial. With clarity and honesty, he examines how the mutual demonization and discounting of each sides’ legitimate needs drive the debate, and he points to new ways of thinking that can lead to a solution. Lerner emphasizes that this new approach to the issue requires giving primacy to love, kindness, and generosity. It calls for challenging the master narratives in both Israel and Palestine as well as the false idea that “homeland security” can be achieved through military, political, economic, or media domination. Lerner makes the case that a lasting peace must prioritize helping people on all sides (including Europe and the U.S.) and that real security is best achieved through an ethos of caring and generosity toward “the other.”
Publisher’s description: In July 2011, Israel passed legislation outlawing the public support of boycott activities against the state, corporations, and settlements, adding a crackdown on free speech to its continuing blockade of Gaza and the expansion of illegal settlements. Nonetheless, the campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) continues to grow in strength within Israel and Palestine, as well as in Europe and the US. This essential intervention considers all sides of the movement—including detailed comparisons with the South African experience—and contains contributions from both sides of the separation wall, along with a stellar list of international commentators. With contributions by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, Merav Amir, Hind Awwad, Mustafa Barghouthi, Omar Barghouti, Dalit Baum, Joel Beinin, John Berger, Angela Davis, Nada Elia, Marc Ellis, Noura Erakat, Neve Gordon, Ran Greenstein, Ronald Kasrils, Jamal Khader, Naomi Klein, Paul Laverty, Mark LeVine, David Lloyd, Ken Loach, Haneen Maikey, Rebecca O’Brien, Ilan Pappe, Jonathan Pollak, Laura Pulido, Lisa Taraki, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Michael Warschawski, and Slavoj Žižek
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Publisher’s description: After Zionism brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Diana Buttu, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
Publisher’s description: These essays, written between 1966 and 2010 by an Israeli activist, cover diverse aspects of Israeli society and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Comprising analysis and polemics, they address both Zionist ideology and its results. Two inter-related themes run throughout: the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in a regional context, and the connection between Palestinian liberation and the struggle for socialism throughout the region.
Publisher’s description: Tending one’s fields, visiting a relative, going to the hospital: for ordinary Palestinians, such activities require negotiating permits and passes, curfews and closures, “sterile roads” and “seam zones”—bureaucratic hurdles ultimately as deadly as outright military incursion. In Palestine Inside Out, Saree Makdisi draws on eye-opening statistics, academic histories, UN reports, and contemporary journalism to reveal how the “peace process” institutionalized Palestinians’ loss of control over their inner and outer lives—and argues powerfully and convincingly for a one-state solution.
Publisher’s description: This unique text brings together Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints on a number of key issues and topics, making clear the points of agreement as well as the views that divide. The chapters deal first with three issues that require compromise and resolution for a peace treaty to be realized – water, refugees, and borders, territory and settlements – and then with three important concepts that can either impede or promote peace: democracy, human rights, and peace culture and education. Thus, the book provides an invaluable opportunity to understand, at least in part, the divergent and even convergent interests and understandings of Israelis and Palestinians on issues and concepts important to the peace process.
Publisher’s description: Can a devout Jew be a devout Jew and drop the belief in the rebuilding of the Temple? Can a devout Muslim be a devout Muslim and drop the belief in the sacredness of the Rock? Can one right (the right of return) be given up for another (the right to live in peace)? Can one claim Palestinian identity and still retain Israeli citizenship? What is a Palestinian state worth? (…) It is with this simple, but powerful idea, the idea of asking the basic questions anew, that the renowned Palestinian philosopher and activist Sari Nusseibeh begins his book. What Is a Palestinian State Worth? poses questions about the history, meaning, future, and resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Deeply informed by political philosophy and based on decades of personal involvement with politics and social activism, Nusseibeh’s moderate voice (…) points us toward a future which, as George Lamming once put it, is colonized by our acts in this moment, but which must always remain open.
Publisher’s description: The state of Israel is often spoken of as a haven for the Jewish people, a place rooted in the story of a nation dispersed, wandering the earth in search of their homeland. Born in adversity but purportedly nurtured by liberal ideals, Israel has never known peace, experiencing instead a state of constant war that has divided its population along the stark and seemingly unbreachable lines of dissent around the relationship between unrestricted citizenship and Jewish identity. By focusing on the perceptions and histories of Israel’s most marginalized stakeholders—Palestinian Israelis, Arab Jews, and non-Israeli Jews—Atalia Omer cuts to the heart of the Israeli-Arab conflict, demonstrating how these voices provide urgently needed resources for conflict analysis and peacebuilding. Navigating a complex set of arguments about ethnicity, boundaries, and peace, and offering a different approach to the renegotiation and reimagination of national identity and citizenship, Omer pushes the conversation beyond the bounds of the single narrative and toward a new and dynamic concept of justice—one that offers the prospect of building a lasting peace.
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Publisher’s description: In ‘How To Cure a Fanatic’ Amos Oz analyses the historical roots of violence and confronts truths about the extremism nurtured throughout society. By bringing us face to face with fanaticism he suggests ways in which we can all respond. In ‘Help Us to Divorce’ he convinces irrefutably that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is primarily a dispute over ‘whose house this is’. In his characteristically lucid, intelligent and inspiring prose Amos Os is unafraid to advocate solutions to the dispute and to espouse his belief that there will, one day, be a resolution to the conflict.’I'm no longer a European in any sense, except through the pain of my parents and my ancestors, who left forever in my genes a sense of unrequited love for Europe… But if I were a European, I’d be careful not to point the finger at anyone. Instead of calling the Israelis this name or the Palestinians that name, I would do anything I could to help both sides, because both of them are on the verge of making the most painful decision of their history… You no longer have to choose between being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, you have to be pro-peace.’
Publisher’s description: Each year, Israel’s young men and women are drafted into compulsory military service and are required to engage directly in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict is by its nature intensely complex and is played out under the full glare of international security. So, how does Israel’s education system prepare its young people for this? How is Palestine, and the Palestinians against whom these young Israelis will potentially be required to use force, portrayed in the school system? Nurit Peled-Elhanan argues that the textbooks used in the school system are laced with a pro-Israel ideology, and that they play a part in priming Israeli children for military service. She analyzes the presentation of images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbooks, and reveals how the books might be seen to marginalize Palestinians, legitimize Israeli military action and reinforce Jewish-Israeli territorial identity.
Publisher’s description: Arguing that a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depends on a resolution of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict within Israel as much as it does on resolving the conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, this timely book explores the causes and consequences of the growing conflict between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Palestinian-Arab minority. It warns that if Jewish-Arab relations in Israel continue to deteriorate, this will pose a serious threat to the stability of Israel, to the quality of Israeli democracy, and to the potential for peace in the Middle East. The book examines the views and attitudes of both the Palestinian minority and the Jewish majority, as well as the Israeli state’s historic approach to its Arab citizens. Drawing upon the experience of other states with national minorities, the authors put forward specific proposals for safeguarding and enhancing the rights of the Palestinian minority while maintaining the country’s Jewish identity.
Diana Pinto: Israel has moved (Harvard University Press, 2013, £18.95)
Publisher’s description: Israel has changed. The country was born in Europe’s shadow, haunted by the Holocaust and inspired by the Enlightenment. But for Israelis today, Europe is hardly relevant, and the country’s ties to the broader West, even to America, are fraying. Where is Israel heading? How do citizens of an increasingly diverse nation see themselves globally and historically? In this revealing portrait of the new Israel, Diana Pinto presents a country simultaneously moving forward and backward, looking outward and turning in on itself. In business, Israel is forging new links with the giants of Asia, and its booming science and technology sectors are helping define the future for the entire world. But in politics and religion, Israelis are increasingly self-absorbed, building literal and metaphorical walls against hostile neighbors and turning to ancient religious precepts for guidance here and now. Pinto captures the new moods and mindsets, the anxieties and hopes of Israelis today in sharply drawn sketches of symbolically charged settings. She takes us on the roads to Jerusalem, to border control at Ben Gurion Airport, to a major Israeli conference in Jerusalem, to a hill overlooking the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount, to the heart of Israel’s high-tech economy, and to sparkling new malls and restaurants where people of different identities share nothing more than a desire to ignore one another.
Publisher’s description: Our Way to Fight follows the dangerous lives of peace activists in Israel and Palestine. It explores the crises that stirred them to act, the risks they face, and the small victories that sustain them. Michael Riordon takes us to thousand year-old olive groves, besieged villages, refugee camps, checkpoints and barracks. In the face of deepening conflict, Our Way to Fight offers courageous grassroots action on both sides of the wall, and points the way to a liveable future.
Publisher’s description: Many in the United States and Israel believe that Hamas is nothing but a terrorist organization, and that its social sector serves merely to recruit new supporters for its violent agenda. Based on Sara Roy’s extensive fieldwork in the Gaza Strip and West Bank during the critical period of the Oslo peace process, Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza shows how the social service activities sponsored by the Islamist group emphasized not political violence but rather community development and civic restoration. Roy demonstrates how Islamic social institutions in Gaza and the West Bank advocated a moderate approach to change that valued order and stability, not disorder and instability; were less dogmatically Islamic than is often assumed; and served people who had a range of political outlooks and no history of acting collectively in support of radical Islam. These institutions attempted to create civic communities, not religious congregations. They reflected a deep commitment to stimulate a social, cultural, and moral renewal of the Muslim community, one couched not only–or even primarily–in religious terms. Vividly illustrating Hamas’s unrecognized potential for moderation, accommodation, and change, Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza also traces critical developments in Hamas’s social and political sectors through the Second Intifada to today, and offers an assessment of the current, more adverse situation in the occupied territories
Josh Ruebner: Shattered hopes: Obama’s failure to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace (Verso, 2013, £20)
Publisher’s description: President Barack Obama’s first trip abroad in his second term took him to Israel and the Palestinian West Bank, where he despondently admitted to those waiting for words of encouragement, “It is a hard slog to work through all of these issues.” Contrast this gloomy assessment with Obama’s optimism on the second day of his first term, when he appointed former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as his special envoy for Middle East peace, boldly asserting that his administration would “actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” How is it that Obama’s active and aggressive search for progress has become mired in the status quo? Writer and political analyst Josh Ruebner charts Obama’s journey from optimism to frustration in the first hard-hitting investigation into why the president failed to make any progress on this critical issue, and how his unwillingness to challenge the Israel lobby has shattered hopes for peace.
Paul Scham, Benjamin Pogrund & As’ad Ghanem (eds.): Shared Narratives—A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue (Israel Studies, 2013, vol. 18, Summer. Journal issue available for $20 from here )
Publisher’s description: Opposing historical narratives believed by Palestinians and Israelis have over time fueled the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian narratives focus on a people unjustly deprived of its land by invaders. Israeli narratives argue for a justified “return” of those dispossessed many generations before. Can these seemingly incompatible narratives play a constructive role in advancing the goal of peace? This special issue of Israel Studies, entitled “Shared Narratives,” provides readers with the opportunity to better understand and acknowledge the clash of ideas between the two societies. The volume proceeds from the belief that acknowledging the power and durability of both narratives is a necessary part of the route to the future. The contributors, Palestinian and Israeli scholars, examine some of the most basic issues, such as land, religion, nationalism, and Jerusalem, as they developed over time. Avoiding partisan arguments and polemical debates, they present and discuss differing views on these subjects.
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Publisher’s description: For over two decades, many liberals in Israel have attempted, with wide international support, to implement the two-state solution: Israel and Palestine, partitioned on the basis of the Green Line – that is, the line drawn by the 1949 Armistice Agreements that defined Israel’s borders until 1967, before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza following the Six-Day War. By going back to Israel’s pre-1967 borders, many people hope to restore Israel to what they imagine was its pristine, pre-occupation character and to provide a solid basis for a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this original and controversial essay, Yehouda Shenhav argues that this vision is an illusion that ignores historical realities and offers no long-term solution. It fails to see that the real problem is that a state was created in most of Palestine in 1948 in which Jews are the privileged ethnic group, at the expense of the Palestinians – who also must live under a constant state of emergency. The issue will not be resolved by the two-state solution, which will do little for the millions of Palestinian refugees and will also require the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Jews living across the Green Line. All these obstacles require a bolder rethinking of the issues: the Green Line should be abandoned and a new type of polity created on the complete territory of mandatory Palestine, with a new set of constitutional arrangements that address the rights of both Palestinians and Jews, including the settlers.
Publisher’s description: Palestinians in Israel considers a key issue ignored by the official ‘peace process’ and most mainstream commentators: that of the growing Palestinian minority within Israel itself. What the Israeli right-wing calls ‘the demographic problem’ Ben White identifies as ‘the democratic problem’ which goes to the heart of the conflict. Israel defines itself not as a state of its citizens, but as a Jewish state, despite the substantial and increasing Palestinian population. White demonstrates how the consistent emphasis on privileging one ethno-religious group over another cannot be seen as compatible with democratic values and that, unless addressed, will undermine any attempts to find a lasting peace. Individual case studies are used to complement this deeply informed study into the great, unspoken contradiction of Israeli democracy.
Publisher’s description: The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is a people’s tribunal in the spirit of the Tribunal on Vietnam that was set up by Bertrand Russell in the 1960s. This book contains a selection of the most vital evidence and testimonies presented at the London session. Examining the involvement of corporations in the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, the tribunal of 2010 generated widespread media coverage. The book identifies companies and corporations participating in such illegality and possibilities for legal action against them are discussed.
Rich Wiles (Ed.): Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (Pluto Press, 2013, paperback, £14.99)
Publisher’s description: The unique model of apartheid, colonisation and military occupation that Israel imposes on the Palestinians, along with myriad violations of international law, have made Palestine the moral cause of a generation. Yet many people continue to ask, ‘what can we do?’ Generation Palestine helps to answer this question by bringing together Palestinian and international activists in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The movement aims to pressure Israel until it complies with International Law, mirroring the model that was successfully utilised against South African apartheid. With essays written by a wide selection of contributors, Generation Palestine follows the BDS movement’s model of inclusivity and collaboration. Contributors include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ken Loach, Iain Banks, Ronnie Kasrils, Professor Richard Falk, Ilan Pappe, Omar Barghouti, Ramzy Baroud and Archbishop Attallah Hannah, alongside other internationally acclaimed artists, writers, academics and grassroots activists.
Publisher’s description: Surveillance is always a means to an end, whether that end is influence, management or entitlement. This book examines the several layers of surveillance that control the Palestinian population in Israel and the Occupied Territories, showing how they operate, how well they work, how they are augmented, and how in the end their chief purpose is population control.
Showing how what might be regarded as exceptional elsewhere is here regarded as the norm, the book looks not only at the political economy of surveillance and its technological and military dimensions, but also at the ordinary ways that Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories are affected in their everyday lives. Written in a clear and accessible style by experts in the field, this book will have large appeal for academic faculty as well as graduate and senior undergraduate students in sociology, political science, international relations, surveillance studies and Middle East studies.
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