The Iron Cage Book Review

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BOOK REVIEW

THE IRON CAGE: THE STORY OF THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR STATEHOOD BY RASHID KHALIDI

The question of Palestinian statehood has increasingly become a principal concern for states and for the understanding of the international framework. Reactions to the Palestinian predicament are immensely different in the Western World and in the Arab World. Rashid Khalidi acknowledges this difference in approach and response by the two worlds and the inconveniences stemming therefrom in his book, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. The book is written as a historical essay, with the core endeavor to determine why Palestinians, unlike so many other people and states, have failed to actualize their dream to be a self-governing state. While ‘The Iron Cage’ is more of an evaluation of the conflict and the question of Palestinian statehood, than an exercise in original research, Khalidi provides Western readers with a new and insightful approach to the question, thus making this particular work his masterpiece. Being an American Professor of Israeli descent, teaching Arab Studies at Columbia University , Khalidi who is the editor of the Journal of Palestinian Studies, gives a comparatively unbiased and probably dispassionate depiction of Palestine in the periods of the Ottoman and British
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Khalidi begins the book by examining the circumstances under which the Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1947-48. He does not refrain from confronting "Orwellian euphemisms" that have dominated this historical debate. He, however, is quick to question the crux of the matter, which is ‘why Palestinian society crumbled so swiftly during the Palestine war’. In answering this, Khalidi compares Palestine to other Arab countries, specifically newer states and finds that there is no particular explanation for the
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