TO UNDERSTAND why thousands of Palestinians have risked their lives to challenge the might of the Israeli state in the last 12 months, read The New Intifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid. The book, edited by US journalist Roane Carey, 'arose out of disgust at the mainstream media's constant misinterpretation of the basic facts of this uprising'. It brings together many of the best writers who oppose Israel's brutal repression of the Palestinian people.
Noam Chomsky, a longstanding critic of US and Israeli policy, has provided a brilliant introduction. He exposes the bloody role of the US in Israel and the Middle East. The US backs repressive regimes in the Middle East, including Israel, because of the huge supplies of oil in the region guaranteeing 'profit flow and a lever of world control'.
Edward Said, the Palestinian writer, dissects the myths of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This process, presented in the media as the Palestinians' only chance for a homeland, was a con from the start.
The US and Israel claimed at the Camp David summit last year that they were offering Palestinians 90 percent of the West Bank. They really meant 50 percent split into separated areas. Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since 1967.
The New Intifada contains the account of a revelatory journey through the West Bank by Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif, published in the Guardian last year. Robert Fisk, an Independent journalist writing on the Middle East, describes the horror of the slaughter of 2,000 Palestinian refugees in the camps of Sabra and Shatilla in 1982.
Ariel Sharon, the Israeli defence minister of the time, was found 'personally responsible' for the massacre by an Israeli commission. Sharon is now the Israeli prime minister. The New Intifada has an impressive range of contributions from different Palestinians showing the daily oppression of their lives and their struggle against it.
The writings of young teenage boys and girls in different refugee camps and occupied towns are the most moving part of the book. 'I want to return to Palestine to have a land and an identity. Then nobody would dare mock me and say I am a refugee,' says Farah Obeid, a 14 year old in the Shatilla refugee camp who is abused at school because she is a Palestinian. The book ends with a call to build a worldwide mass grassroots campaign, along the lines of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, to challenge the racism of the US and Israeli states.
Read this book, get angry, get the arguments, and get active in the campaign to ensure that Palestinians gain their homeland.
The New Intifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid (Verso, £13) is available from Bookmarks. Phone 020 7637 1848. Website: www.bookmarks.uk.com