New Books Network

Seth Anziska

Preventing Palestine

A Political History from Camp David to Oslo

Princeton University Press 2018

New Books in HistoryNew Books in Israel StudiesNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in National SecurityNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network December 17, 2018 Nadirah Mansour

The question of Palestinian autonomy has been a key element of Middle Eastern and Arab politics for much of the last century. A new...

The question of Palestinian autonomy has been a key element of Middle Eastern and Arab politics for much of the last century. A new history, by Seth Anziska, Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo (Princeton University Press, 2018) redefines our understanding of the peace process and its ultimate failure: forty years after the Camp David Accords, the Palestinian people remain without  a state. The book walks us through the Camp David Accords, Israel’s 1982 war with Lebanon, and the first Intifada in 1987, drawing in the diplomatic perspectives of the Palestinians, Israelis, Egyptians, and Americans through a diverse set of sources. Most critically, this includes newly declassified sources from Israeli archives.  Anziska’s narrative ultimately asserts that Palestinian opportunities for autonomy have only decreased over time, explaining how the peace process stalls even today. In this interview, Seth talks us through the book, the questions that dog Palestinian-Israeli relations today, the realities of archival work, and his non-academic collaborations.

Seth Anziska is the Mohamed S. Farsi-Polonsky Lecturer in Jewish-Muslim Relations at University College London. His research and teaching focuses on Palestinian and Israeli society and culture, the international history of the modern Middle East, and contemporary Arab and Jewish politics Seth is a Visiting Fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project and a 2019 Fulbright Scholar at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and he has held fellowships at New York University, the London School of Economics, and the American University of Beirut. He received his PhD in International and Global History from Columbia University, his M. Phil. in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and his BA in history from Columbia University. . His writing has appeared in The New York TimesForeign PolicyThe New York Review of Books, and the Pavilion of Lebanon in the 2013 Venice Biennale. He is the author of Preventing Palestine: A Political History from Camp David to Oslo (Princeton University Press, September 2018).


Nadirah Mansour is a graduate student at Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies working on the global intellectual history of the Arabic-language press. She tweets @NAMansour26 and produces another Middle-East and North Africa-related podcast: Reintroducing.