Sharing The Land of Canaan
Author: Prof. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, PhD
Publisher: Pluto Press (London & Sterling, Virginia)
Reviewed by The Ambassadors Research Foundation
This 264-pages book, published by Pluto Press (London) in both hardcover and paperback simultaneously consists of the following 12 chapters: People of the Land; Biology and Ideology; Palestinian Refugees and Their Right to Return; Jerusalem as a Pluralistic City; Zionism; Is Israel a Democracy?; Terrorism and Violence; Human Rights; The Conflict and Sustainable Development; Political Context; International Context and International Law; and Peace can be Based on Human Rights and International Law. Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, writes in the Forward of the book about the author stating, "He envisages a pluralistic society in which human dignity and rights are respected. He eloquently and gently guides you through the maze of obstacles towards the natural and sensible solution of coexistence."
Sharing The Land of Canaan is an excellent addition to academic institutions studying how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which cannot be done except after reading the history of the region and a critical understanding of the conflict itself. The author, Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a distinguished scientist and human rights activist based at Yale University, brings to light many forgotten and willfully buried facts about the origins of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in his book. At this critical time, when the 'road map' to peace looks more uncertain than ever, this book provides a refreshing counterpoint to the failed strategies of the past. It is a direct and accessible account of the history - and mythology - of the fabled 'Land of Canaan', which lays out hopeful ideas for the future of this truly multiethnic and multicultural region.
Pluto Press mentioned in their abstract of Sharing the Land of Canaan that it "is a critical examination of the core issues of the conflict that dares to put forward a radical but logical solution: that a shared state is the best way to achieve justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians. The book offers an overview of the issues at stake, and outlines his vision for a lasting peace based on upholding the principles of human rights for all. Tackling taboo subjects, myths and obstacles, he argues convincingly that apartheid in the form of a two-state solution is no longer a feasible way to achieve enduring peace."
As a medical scientist, the author employs a critical analytical framework in his book by looking historically first at the origins of the native people of Canaan, then presenting interesting data about genetics versus Zionist mythology. The discussion of hot and sensitive issues in the book is very clear including Palestinian refugees and their right to return and the future of Jerusalem. There is a chapter devoted to the issue of terrorism, resistance and violence in the land of Canaan in which he emphasizes the importance of justice to achieving peace. The issues of sustainable development in the land of Canaan and the rarely globally addressed issues of water access and environmental degradation are also discussed. The book concludes with two chapters emphasizing the importance of international law through UN resolutions, the Geneva Conventions, and international human rights standards as the main avenues to achieving peace in the region where respect of such ideals can result in coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Overall, the author examines the conflict as a whole, giving suggested readings on the different topics for those seeking greater detail on the issue with the purpose of finding the "inevitable solution" for the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The book has received many positive reviews from experts on Middle East issues including:
Dr. Norman Finkelstein - "Mazin Qumsiyeh brings to light many forgotten and willfully buried facts about the origins of the Israel-Palestinian conflict."
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi - "An erudite work of extensive scholarship, enormous scope, searing honesty, and intellectual audacity. Mazin Qumsiyeh, once again, is challenging the prevailing misconceptions, facile generalizations, and downright ignorance that have long served to obscure Palestinian realities, and, consequently, to prevent the articulation of a just solution. Breathtaking!"
Dr. Naseer Aruri -"A tour de force by a brilliant scientist who debunks entrenched myths standing in the way of the only logical and compassionate peace based on sharing, integration, co-existence, and equality rather than separation and ghettoization. It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on one of the most complex issues of our times."
Prof. Norton Mezvinsky - "This book is a must-reading for those who are interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict."
The Ambassadors Research Foundation is highly interested in supporting conflict resolution through dialogue with words not with bombs, therefore this book's goal of a peaceful coexistence and integration solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict serves to promote our general goals for the world. Discourse is the key to formulating solutions, hence we invite all readers to contribute their views on this book and try to answer the question which we raised in the past, "How can peace be implemented in the Middle East?" Please send your comments directly onto The Ambassadors Discussion Forum.
Prof. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, director of Clinical Cytogenetic services at Yale University, is the co-founder of a number of organizations and groups: The Triangle Middle East Dialogue, the Carolina Middle East Association, the Holy Land Conservation Foundation, the Middle East Genetics Association (MEGA), the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and Academics For Justice. He has published over 120 scientific papers in areas ranging from Zoology to Genetics. He served as Associate Professor of Genetics and director of cytogenetic services both at Duke University and Yale University. He is the author of two interesting books: Bats of Egypt (1985) and Mammals of the Holy Land (1996). His website is www.qumsiyeh.org.