Middle East

Three authors highlighted at Palestine Book Awards

The sixth annual Palestine Book Awards, which honoured authors for their work about Palestine, were presented in London on Friday night.

Hosted by the outlet Middle East Monitor (MEMO), this year’s winners are Bjorn Brenner, Laila Parsons and Ilan Pappe.

Brenner and Parsons each won the Academic Awards for their respective works, Gaza Under Hamas: From Islamic Democracy to Islamist Governance, and The Commander: Fawzi Al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948.

Pappe, meanwhile, was given a lifetime achievement award for his numerous publications on Palestine.

Middle East Eye spoke with each author prior to the award ceremony, where they talked about Hamas, the situation in Gaza, Zionism and colonial perspectives in history.

“I see the whole project of Zionism as a structure not just as one event; a structure of settler colonialism by which a movement of settlers colonises a homeland. As long as the colonisation is not complete and the indigenous population resists through a national liberation movement, each such period that I'm looking at is just a phase within the same structure” Pappe told MEE on Friday.

Brenner’s interview with MEE focused on the relationship between Hamas and Fatah in the West Bank.

“We saw this summer a close relationship with Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, even though he was the head of security for Fatah in Gaza. Now they’re prepared to work with him because it's the best choice they have. Hamas is a political actor that is much more concerned with manoeuvring politically than safeguarding its Islamist ideals,” Brenner said.

Parsons, meanwhile, told MEE that she wanted to write a book not from a “colonial” perspective.

“I think that we have a relative lack of narrative histories of the Middle East in English to assign in the classroom. And one of the reasons for that is that ever since Edward Said published Orientalism, which I thought was a crucial intervention in the field, most academic historians began following him to write critical histories of colonialism in the region,” she said.

“I really wanted to write a narrative history that was deeply researched. I wanted to make it based on Arabic sources, not on colonial sources,” she added

MEMO said they received about 40 submissions and will announce next year’s candidates in the coming months.

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