The latest Israeli war on the Gaza strip, which ended in mid-january this year, was but the latest onslaught on the Territory and its inhabitants in a series stretching back over the course of three millennia. This book reveals that Gaza has a rich history. Continuously inhabited for more thatn 3,000 years at a key strategic crossroads of the region, it has witnessed the rise and fall of dozens of kingdoms and dynasties. As well as considering the early period, the age of the Pharaohs and the Philistines of the Bible, Life at the Crossroads includes accounts of the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras. The coming of Islam, the interlude of the Crusades and the long period of Ottoman domination bring the story up to the First World War. The crucial history of Gaza in the 20th century is discussed in the period of the British Mandate and the conflicts with Israel. The book culminates with the two Intifadas and the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-09, explaining the Territory's association with the development of the Islamic movement within the Palestinian community.
A review by Fred Rhodes for The Middle East
This article was published on Wednesday 01 July, 2009.