From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine; The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land-Settlement and the Arabs, 1878-1948

In This Review

From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine

By Joan Peters
Harper, 1984
601 pp. $24.95
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The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land-Settlement and the Arabs, 1878-1948

By Arieh L. Avneri
Transaction Books, 1984
303 pp. $9.95
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Joan Peters undertook a massive research job in order to make the case against Arab claims that Palestine was peopled "from time immemorial" by Arabs, who were dispossessed and driven out by Jewish immigrants. It is a long, involved story which deserves a reading even though it is one-sided and repetitious and proves less than it claims. Some of the main arguments of Avneri's monograph run parallel to those of Miss Peters, such as that Jewish settlement attracted rather than displaced Arabs and that purchases of land by Zionists were mainly from Arab landowners eager to sell. His book is much leaner and less shrill in tone, although it is also aimed at making a political case.