The Question of Palestine

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In titling his book, Edward W. Said intended three types of meanings by stating "the question of." First is that Palestine is a matter apart from all others and must be dealt with apart from any other situation in the Middle East. Second, "the question of" refers to the long standing and insistent dilemma going on. Third, "the question of" suggests that the status of Palestine is uncertain. He assumes that the reader is aware of the pro-Israel position and now wants the reader to consider a broadly representative Palestinian position in hope that the reader can better understand the deadlock between Zionism and the Arab world. His technique of explaining the Palestinian experience is very effective because the reader is forced to consider himself in the position of a victimized Palestinian Arab. I personally found the evidence of Jewish Imperialism hard to refute, after much pondering, as the arguments posed by Said are overwhelmingly convincing. Said is a professor of English at Columbia University and a member of the Palestine National Council. Said's broad fame is principally connected to his book Orientalism, published in 1978, in which he strongly criticizes Western social, historical, and religious studies of the Middle East and North Africa. He acknowledges that he is not an expert on Palestine and indicates that he received most of his knowledge about the matter from discussions with Palestinians; however, to anyone reading the book it is evident that he is more than a mere critic. The controlling idea expressed by Said is that Zionism has victimized the Palestinian Arab and denied him of self-determination. He organizes the development of this idea in two parts. First is a discussion of the effects Zionism ha... ... middle of paper ... ... aspirations A majority of people, such as myself, have been exposed to the Israeli position or have been told simply that the two peoples have been fighting since the beginning of time. The problem I find, however, is that Said is unable to address the question of what now is to happen or should be done with Palestine. He simply concludes that one thing is for certain: Jews and Palestinians are both here to stay. Even though it is extremely difficult to find a solution that we are still searching for, he does not even attempt to answer "the question of Palestine," which is why I feel the book fails to break new ground. I recommend this book to any person who is pro-Israeli and would be very interested in hearing a refutation to the events and evidence presented by Said. Works Cited Said, Edward W. The Question of Palestine. New York: Times Books, April 1980.
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