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Dietrich Jung. Ed. The Middle East and Palestine: Global Politics and Regional Conflict.

Dietrich Jung. Ed. The Middle East and Palestine: Global Politics and Regional Conflict. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. 2004. Hardback $59.95.

The work debunks the stereotype of "Middle Eastern exceptionalism." Beginning with the preface, the book asserts the interlacements between the global, regional and local developments in the making of the Middle East and the Palestine question. It argues "the regional patterns of conflict and violence have been deeply molded by international and transnational relations, rather than being the result of a peculiar Middle Eastern culture."

As a general thesis, the assertion of "integrating the micro-and macro- perspectives, tracing the interaction of global and regional environments with individuals pursuing political goals" to dismiss the myth of "Middle Eastern exceptionalism" might face little or no objection from scholars acquainted with Middle Eastern history and politics, as well as with the Palestine question. The collection, however, emphasizes certain relevant factors at the expense of others in defining the global, regional, and local. In particular, the global political-economic transformations that contributed to the making of the contemporary Middle East were de-emphasized, if not absent in favor of the national, cultural, and state building elements. At certain parts of the collection, the absence of global, regional, and local political-economic changes, other processes such as the rise of nationalism and state building seem to take place in a vacuum.

Aside from some ambiguity with the working framework, the book is informative. It includes an introduction that discusses "Global Conditions and Global Constraints: The International Paternity of the Palestine Conflict" by the editor Dietrich Jung. The first part of the book, "Global Discourses and Regional Politics," consists of three chapters titled "Culture Blind and Culture Blinded: Images of Middle Eastern Conflicts in International Relations," "Reinterpreting History: Perceptions of Nazism in Egyptian Media," and "Internationalization of Anti-Islamist Discourse and Creation of Regional Antiterrorism Mechanism: the Initiative of Mubarak's Egypt."

The Second Part, "Global Schemes and Local Realities: Transnational Islam and the Palestinian Refugee Problem," also consists of three chapters titled "Official Islam, Transnational Islamic Network, and Regional Politics: The Case of Syria," "Religious Mobilizations in Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon: The Case of Ain al-Helweh," and "Resolving the Palestinian Refugee Problem: Edward A. Norman's Unintended Contribution to Relevant Lessons in Perspectives, Values, and Consequences." The book closes with an Epilogue "September 11 and the Arab Reaction in Al-Hayat."
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Publication:Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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