Thank you Eddie Vedder for speaking up for peace in our world…. The people of Palestine and Israel deserve peace and prosperity. It is time to stop repeating the same old arguments, dogma and hate speech. It is the knuckleheads on both sides that should be criticized and not the singer from a rock band.
—  Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic voices his support for Eddie Vedder and the singer’s recent anti-war comments
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Historical Bibliography: Ottoman Empire

Bronze Age Collapse-Roman Period
Byzantine Empire and the Rise of Islam and Caliphate Rule

Crusades, Medieval European Jewish History, and Sephardic Jewish History

Ottoman Empire

Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine by Michelle Campos

Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era by Julia Phillips Cohen

Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire by Caroline Finkel

A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire by M. Sükrü Hanioglu

The Arabs of the Ottoman Empire, 1516-1918: A Social and Cultural History by Bruce Masters

The Ottomans and the Mamluks: Imperial Diplomacy and Warfare in the Islamic World (Library of Ottoman Studies) by Cihan Yüksel Muslu

The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922 (New Approaches to European History) by Donald Quataert

Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan, 1850-1921 (Cambridge Middle East Studies) by Eugene L. Rogan

Palestine in Transformation, 1856-1882: Studies in Social, Economic and Political Development by Alexander Scholch

The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) by Baki Tezcan

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Real Life Conflict =/= Narrative Conflict

I am from a country of conservative Christians (and, especially, a school full of them), and almost every one of them has the same position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That position is to support every action Israel ever takes and condemn every action that any Palestinian group takes. In fact, Israel is only ever wrong when it’s too conciliatory.

I, being the degenerate heathen I was, never thought this made much sense. I was always as willing as anyone to be upset when Hamas launched a rocket, but was the only person to say anything when Israel bulldosed houses. I got into lots of arguments. I was consistently branded as a “Palestinian sympathiser”. And y’know what? I was OK with owning that. Everyone deserves sympathy.

But that’s just the thing. My interlocutors weren’t Israeli sympathisers. They were no-one sympathisers. You could tell from the way they spoke that they didn’t really think of Israelis or Palestinians, Jews or Arabs, as actual people. They were props. There was a great dramatic conflict in heaven between the forces of good and evil, and Israel and Palestine were just set pieces. There was a story - a narrative - and it was up to Good and Righteous people to ensure that it had a satisfying conclusion.

And, for most of my life, I thought this was what most people believed. I thought that most people everywhere held the same position and supported Israel for Teh Narrative.

And then 14 year old me visited a Radical Leftist forum (as one does) and came across a thread asking for people’s opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No one had replied yet, so I went first. I wrote a summary of my position - the one that usually got me called an offensive Palestinian sympathiser.

Needless to say, I was a little confused when the first reply I got was “die zionist colonial scum!!!”

Actually, most of them were like that. The ones that weren’t tried to explain to me why my opinions were Evil and Oppressive. I was particularly intrigued by how they could include exhortations to the Israeli government to be less racist along side angry claims that all Jews were bastards. Younger me found it quite strange and disconcerting.

But I noticed one thing that was familiar. I could tell, from that way they talked about the people they hated and the people they claimed to support, that they didn’t see any of them as people. Once again, they were props. There was a conflict between the forces of good and evil - the oppressed and their oppressors - and every Israeli or Palestinian who killed or was killed was a set piece. There was a story - a narrative - and it was up to Good and Righteous people to ensure that it had a satisfying conclusion.

And I was even more horrified than before.

The video ends with a sustained shot of Banksy’s final, and most intensely political, work in the Gaza Strip. Scrawled in bright red paint on the ruins of another destroyed edifice, the piece tells the viewer, “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, we side with the powerful – we don’t remain neutral.”

With the provocations of Egypt in May of 1967, culminating in the blockade, Israel had no intention of simply rolling over. The government had long made clear that a blockade of their Red Sea access would be seen as an act of war, and regardless of Nasser’s intentions, Israel was willing to accept it as such. 

On the morning of June 5th, an all-out strike was launched without preamble. In what has since often been heralded as the most successful air operation of all time, the Israeli air attack was able to destroy over 450 Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian aircraft, or more than 2/3 of the Arab states’ entire air forces, and significantly damage most military airfields. Surprise complete, most were knocked out on the ground. Possessing less than 200 combat aircraft at the beginning of the war - and losing only 19 that day - Operation Focus caused a major swing in the balance of forces, and afforded Israel an unexpected level of air superiority for the duration of the Six-Day War.