Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict


Product Details

$26.95  $25.06
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.6 X 1.6 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Oren Kessler is a journalist and political analyst based in Tel Aviv. He has served as deputy director for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, Middle East research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society in London, Arab affairs correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, and an editor and translator at Haaretz English edition. Raised in Rochester, New York, and Tel Aviv, he holds a BA in history from the University of Toronto and an MA in diplomacy and conflict studies from Reichman University (IDC Herzliya). Kessler's work has appeared in media outlets such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Politico. Palestine 1936 is his first book. Visit his website here:


In Palestine 1936, Oren Kessler has given us a clear, fast-paced, and accessible account of a crucial chapter in the Middle East, introducing a general readership to a fascinating piece of overlooked history while shedding light on the present. I learned a great deal from this book.--Matti Friedman, author of Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel
The history of the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot be understood without a thorough investigation of the 1936 revolt, and Oren Kessler has written the definitive study. Palestine 1936 is an accessible and essential source for scholars, journalists, decision makers, and serious students of the Middle East.--Michael Oren, historian and former Israeli ambassador to the United States
An overall history of the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939--the biggest and most significant nationalist uprising against the British Empire in the twentieth century--has long been a lacuna in the historiography of Palestine/Israel. Oren Kessler has at last plugged that gap with this very well-researched, highly readable, and balanced study, studded with fine portraits of the main actors and moving stories of personal tragedy and accomplishment. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the history of the Zionist-Arab conflict.--Benny Morris, author of 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War
Oren Kessler's book is an informative, well-documented, scholarly portrayal of life in 1936-1939 Mandate Palestine. It is a remarkable work that blends religion, history, and politics. I strongly recommend its translation to Arabic so that it is available to a wide Palestinian audience.--Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, director of the Wasatia Academic Institute, Jerusalem
With his narrative style of history, Oren Kessler offers a compelling account of the seminal events that helped shape Palestine during the British mandate and for many years to come. His welcome focus on a series of riveting Arab Palestinian, Jewish, and British personalities makes Palestine 1936 a brisk and relatable read. Basing his work on rigorous and impressive research in both primary and secondary sources, Kessler helpfully pays attention to seemingly small details that come together to weave the tapestry of history. This is both a delightful and a necessary read that will be of interest both to specialists and to those approaching the topic for the first time.--Arash Azizi, author of The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, the U.S. and Iran's Global Ambitions
Oren Kessler's brave new history book Palestine 1936 reveals the deep roots of today's Israel-Palestine conflict.-- "Foreword Reviews"
Kessler perceives the start of the massive displacement caused by the founding of Israel in 1948 in the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-39, the longest sustained rebellion against British control of the region. Faced with a burgeoning Zionist movement intent on settling threatened European Jews in Palestine and an intransigent Arab Higher Committee, British officials dithered and made feckless promises to first one side and then the other, rarely acknowledging their own role in exacerbating the tensions. While there is plenty of blame to go around, Kessler exposes the arrogance of British imperialism at its worst. When Jewish immigration skyrocketed to 30- percent of the population, the British High Commissioner of Jerusalem dismissed Arab concerns. The Arab-Jewish violence that followed established the current mechanisms for Israeli suppression of Palestinian resistance: dominating military force, home demolitions as collective punishment, and ironclad commitment to settlements. Ultimately, Britain abandoned both the Jews and the Arabs of Palestine, strictly limiting Jewish immigration as Hitler's Final Solution was closing in and refusing to recognize Arab rights to independence and self-government. With indelible portraits of such leaders as Musa Alami, George Antinous, David Ben-Gurion, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and Chaim Weizmann, Kessler's history is key to understanding the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians.-- "Booklist, Starred Review"