The Israelis were shooting from one direction, the Palestinians from the other

Nathan Thrall

  • The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine by Ben Ehrenreich
    Granta, 448 pp, £14.99, August 2016, ISBN 978 1 78378 310 6

Despite the images of hijacked planes, homemade rockets, the charred wreckage of buses and Kalashnikov-wielding militants in balaclavas, the most common form of resistance in more than a century of Zionist-Arab conflict has been unarmed – or, as Palestinians call it, ‘popular’. During the first decades of Zionist immigration to Palestine, Jews barely encountered violent opposition. Palestinians instead tried to protest by withholding co-operation, appealing to the Ottoman and British authorities to slow Zionist immigration, and refusing to sell their land. Less than 7 per cent of Palestine’s territory was Jewish-owned at the start of the 1948 war; the property that was owned by Jews had mostly been sold by absentee landlords living abroad, many of whom weren’t Palestinian.

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