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Idiots Guide to the Middle East Conflict

Steve Maltz

If you are anything like me, you probably find the situation in the Middle East a confusing subject at best. A multitude of conflicting opinions can be heard, the roots of which can be found in personal beliefs, political leanings, religious status or economic backgrounds. These voices aside, it is fair to say that there is no other place in the world fraught with as much turmoil as you will find in the Middle East, and in Israel.

Steve Maltz’s new 8 page booklet aims to bring some clarity to the subject in the form of a concise introduction to the facts. The booklet also highlights historical misunderstandings with two main issues; firstly, regarding ownership of the land and, secondly, in relation to the origins of the Palestinian refugee situation in Israel. In regard to the second point, Maltz explains how the Palestinian Arabs are very much the exploited victims of the conflict, although not necessarily at the hands of Israel as many people believe and would have others believe.

A complex subject has been cleverly broken down into manageable bites of information and Maltz does a good job in taking the reader back through history in a methodical and factual way. I particularly enjoyed reading about the history of Israel and the other Middle Eastern nations. Israel has offered some significant concessions to Palestine, many of which have been turned down, and Maltz highlights the increasingly worrying Palestinian desire to see the extermination of Israel.

The West Bank in particular is a bone of contention for many Christians, as well as for those of other faiths. I was surprised to read the background history of the area, particularly as it becomes clear that the West Bank has never legally belonged to any State in modern history.

This is not a problem that will be going away any time soon, or one that should be ignored by Christians simply because of the complexity of the issues involved. This booklet is a good introductory aid for Christians who want to have all the facts before attempting to consider the subject in an objective manner.

After reading this booklet, I now feel I can approach the subject of the Middle East conflict more confidently and with greater balance. I highly recommend this short booklet to anyone who wishes to do the same.

Helen Delevingne

This article first appeared in the Winter Herald 2011

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