Gaza Faces History Buy from other retailers

Publication Date: Oct 1, 2024

128 pp

Paperback

List Price US: $15.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-554-3

Trim Size: 0.00 x 0.00 x 0.00 in.

Ebook

List Price US: $10.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-555-0

Gaza Faces History

by Enzo Traverso Translated by Willard Wood

In this urgent, insightful essay, a respected historian places the Israeli-Palestinian war in context, challenging Western attitudes about the region.

Is the destruction of Gaza only a consequence of the October 7, 2023 attack, or is it also the outcome of a long process of dispossession and eradication? Do Palestinians have the right to resist the occupation? Is talking about genocide anti-Semitism? Enzo Traverso goes to the root of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict by calling history into question and offers a critical interpretation that overturns the one-sided perspective from which we have become accustomed to observing what is happening in Gaza.

Israel is usually described as a democratic island in the middle of an obscurantist ocean, and Hamas as a movement inspired by bloodthirsty fanaticism. The destruction of Gaza is reminiscent of the golden age of colonialism, when the West perpetrated genocides in Asia and Africa in the name of its civilizing mission. Its essential assumptions remain the same: civilization versus barbarism, progress versus intolerance. Alongside the ritual statements about Israel’s right to defend itself, no one ever mentions the Palestinians’ right to resist decades-long aggression. But if a genocidal war is unleashed in the name of fighting anti-Semitism, it is our own ethical values and political norms that are tarnished: the assumptions of our moral conscience—the distinction between oppressor and oppressed, perpetrators and victims—risk being turned upside down. The October 7 attack was terrifying, but it must be analyzed and not just condemned. And we must do so by summoning all the critical tools of historical research. Should the war in Gaza end in a second Nakba, Israel’s legitimacy will be permanently compromised. In that case, neither American weapons nor Western media, nor the distorted and outraged memory of the Holocaust will be able to redeem it.


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