In Search of Modern Palestinian Nationhood

Published by
Moshe Dayan Center / מרכז משה דיין
Paperback / כריכה רכה
503 pages

From the back matter:

The simplistic attitude that reduces the various conceptions in the modern Palestinian national thinking into stereotypical dictums, such as "the overall aim of all the Palestinians is to liquidate the state of Israel," instills perhaps a superfluous sense of meaning but it does not accomodate with the development of the historical reality. The reader of this book will find that the Palestinian national attitudes have departed from the original unanimity as far as means and aims are concerned. A discrepancy has emerged between their ideal aspirations and their perceptions of what can be achieved. 

Based mainly on primary Arabic sources, this book delves into the cognitive dissonances created since the 1967 War and their bearing on the Palestinans' self-images and on their perceptions vis a vis Israel as the intimate adversary. It shows that in spite of the authenticity of the Palestinian transformations, they might be reversible if they are not acknowledged and responded to by Israel and the international community.

From the 22 June 2017 review by David Shulman in the New York Review of Books:

"Deeper insight is to be found in Matti Steinberg’s In Search of Modern Palestinian Nationhood, a magisterial study by the leading Israeli scholar of Palestine. Steinberg served for many years as a senior adviser to the heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s main intelligence agency, and to several prime ministers. His book traces the history of Palestinian “conscious collective thinking” about the conflict, roughly from the Yom Kippur War in 1973 to the present. He offers a picture of striking heterogeneity and relatively rapid evolution: his readers, he says at the outset, “will find that the Palestinian attitudes went further and further from the original unanimity [that Israel should be destroyed and replaced by a Palestinian state on all the land west of the Jordan River] as far as means and aims are concerned.”


The newest book by Dr. Matti Steinberg, published in cooperation with the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies, focuses on the development of contemporary Palestinian national consciousness. In English.