Empty Book on Palestinian History Becomes Instant Best-seller on Amazon

The author's argument that the Palestinians are not a people because they are void of history isn't new - it's a mainstay of the Israeli right

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A screenshot of the Amazon page on which the book is for sale.
A screenshot of the Amazon page on which the book is for sale.

A book called "A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era" that went on sale on Amazon last week was the most sold book in the site's "Israel & Palestine History" category and the 543rd most sold book on the site.

The page for the book, which contains 132 blank pages, has since been removed from the site. It was not immediately clear if the page was removed by Amazon or the publisher.

Assaf Voll, the "author" of the book explained the motivations behind writing it to the religious radio station "Kol Hai": "The Palestinian people believe they are a people, and someone needs to tell them the truth even if it hurts. Look what happens when they were given the feeling that they are a real people."

Voll's argument that the Palestinians are not a people because they are void of history isn't new – it is a mainstay of the Israeli right, which has claimed that Palestinian nationalism was invented by the Arab leaders in order to destroy Israel. In reality, Palestinian history goes back hundreds of years. What is relatively new, however, is Palestinian nationalism, which only began to appear in the early 20th century and coalesced into a national movement after 1948.

The argument used by the Israeli right seems to imply that a group may only call itself "a people" if it has always existed, which is false because all peoples have at one point or another come into being.

The argument is belied by the fact that there are actual histories of Palestine being sold on Amazon, which are longer and whose pages do contain text delineating this history. "The Palestinian People: A History" by Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, "A History of Palestine: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Founding of the State of Israel" by Gudrun Krämer and Graham Harman and "The History of Palestine" by John Kitto are some examples.

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