The Gaza war has refocused the world’s attention on the Palestinian cause. Mass rallies, particularly in the West, put pressure on politicians, as thousands regularly decry Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. In Gaza, that has not had much effect. Israel continues to bombard the Strip, despite having already killed 25,000 people since October, because it enjoys unwavering support from political leaders in the United States and Europe. Yet this resurgence of interest in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially among the young, has prompted a quest for understanding and context. In this quest, Dr Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American historian and professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, is a wonderful guide. His compelling book The Hundred Year War on Palestine addresses key questions and provides an objective and methodical historical backdrop. It sheds light on the colonial mentality that underpins the steadfast support extended to Israel, even despite the recent allegations of genocide levelled against it at the International Court of Justice.
Al Majalla had the privilege of meeting Dr Khalidi to discuss the war and what may have changed because of it. Drawing on his experience as an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating delegation during the Oslo Accords, he provided valuable insight into the evolving support for the Palestinian cause.