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The Iron Cage

The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood

Rashid Khalidi

At a time when a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis seems virtually unattainable, understanding the roots of the longest-running conflict in the Middle East is an essential step in restoring hope to the region. In The Iron Cage, Rashid Khalidi, one of the most respected historians and political observers of the Middle East, examines the Palestinian’s struggle for statehood, presenting a succinct and insightful history of the people and their leadership throughout the twentieth century.

Ranging from the Palestinian struggle against colonial rule and the establishment of the State of Israel to the current rivalry between Hamas and Fatah, this is an unflinching and sobering critique of the Palestinian failure to achieve statehood, as well as a balanced account of the odds ranged against them. Lucid yet challenging, Rashid Khalidi’s engrossing narrative of this tortuous history is required reading for anyone concerned about peace in the Middle East.

  • Publication date: May 7, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781780748085
  • RRP: £28.00
  • Pages: 328
  • Publication date: June 1, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781851685325
  • RRP: £16.99
  • Pages: 328


"A lucid and compelling examination of the Palestinian dilemma by 'arguably the foremost US historian of the modern Middle East'." Warren I. Cohen
Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A work of forceful historical analysis written in a spirit of self-examination . . . 'The Iron Cage' compels us to reflect more deeply on the problems that continue to bedevil the Palistinain movement."
The Nation
"A first-rate and up-to-date historical and political analaysis of the Palestinian predicament."
Publishers Weekly
"A must-read historical and political study of the national Palestinian movement . . . Supporters of the Palestinians and of Israel will read this book in different ways and with different eyes, but both will find Khalidi's presentation richly illuminating." Neil Caplan
The Middle East Journal
"[Khalidi's] most accomplished effort to date . . . Magesterial in scope, meticulous in its attention to detail, and decidedly dispassionate in its analysis, 'The Iron Cage' is destined to be a benchmark of its genre." Joel Schalit
"Khalidi's book is no exercise in victimology. He is tough on the British, the Israelis, and the Americans, but she is scarcely less hard-hitting in appraising the Palestinians. The final chapter provides an excellent critique of the Palestine Liberation Organization's labored moves toward the recognition of Israel and the idea, increasingly bruited, that a two-state solution is no longer feasible." L. Carl Brown
Foreign Affairs
"Khalidi asks crucial questions regarding the state of Palestinian identity and viability that no other historians or political analysts have covered with such depth." Alejandra Ju
Political Affairs
"'The Iron Cage' is a patient and eloquent work, ranging over the whole of modern Palestinian history from World War I to the death of Yasser Arafat. Reorienting the Palestinain narrative around the attitudes and tactics of the Palestinians themselves, Khalidi lends a remarkable illumination to a story so wearily familiar it is often hard to believe anything new can be found within." Jonathan Shainin
"the book will delight everyone sick to death of following the minutiae of the "peace process" and the inevitable apportioning of blame for its failure. Equally, it is a godsend for those new to the subject, as it presents a strong analysis within a frameworkd that is comparable across colonized peoples."
International History Review
"Khalidi [has] done much to provide a Palestinian narrative rooted in personal histories but disciplined by the standards of Western scholarship."
The New York Times
"Khalidi, tackling ‘historical amnesia,’ brilliantly analyses the structural handicap which hobbled the Palestinians throughout 30 years of British rule . . . restor[ing] the Palestinians to something more than victims."
The Guardian
"Khalid [has] done much to provide a Palestinian narrative rooted in personal histories but disciplined by the standards of Western scholarship."
The New York Times

Rashid Khalidi

Rashid Khalidi, author of ‘Resurrecting Empire’ and ‘Palestinian Identity’, holds the Edward Said Chair in Arab Studies at Columbia University, where he heads the Middle East Institute. He has written more than eighty articles [and five books] on Middle Eastern history and politics, as well as op-ed pieces in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angleles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Nation. He lives in New York.

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