The 1948 war led to the creation of the state of Israel, the fragmentation of Palestine, and to a conflict which has raged across the intervening sixty years. The historical debate likewise continues and these debates are encapsulated in the second edition of The War for Palestine, updated to include chapters on Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. In a preface to the new edition, the editors survey the state of scholarship in this contested field. The impact of these debates goes well beyond academia. There is an important link between the state of Arab-Israeli relations and popular attitudes towards the past. A more complex and fair-minded understanding of that past is essential for preserving at least the prospect of reconciliation between Arabs and Israel in the future. The rewriting of the history of 1948 thus remains a practical as well as an academic imperative.

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