For the Arabs and especially the Palestinians, the 1948 war was a "nabka" - a catastrophe or trauma. For the Israeli, it was a miracle which preserved the Israeli nation. The author argues that these two accounts are extreme reactions to a conflict whose outcome was virtually pre-determined by politicians. The book provides a comprehensive history of the origins and consequences of the 1948 war. It examines the discussions and decisions of the United Nations in 1947-8 and the deliberations of the Arab League and argues that these were decisive in determining the outcome of the war. The book also argues that Israel's failure to take advantage of a genuine opportunity for peace with the Arabs at the UN-sponsored Lausanne Conference in 1949 resulted in prolonged and tragic conflict.
The diplomatic battle - UN discussions, February 1947-May 1948; the civil war in Palestine; the making of the refugee problem; the Arab world goes to war, or does it? - the general Arab preparation; seeking a comprehensive peace - Count Bernadotte's mission and the development of military campaigns; the complete takeover and the Israeli struggle against Bernadotte's legacy; the armistice agreements; from mediation to conciliation - the establishment of the Palestine conciliation commission; the Lausanne conference; the final quest for peace.