Is Nusseibeh a personality who justifies a 542-page book? As president of a small Palestinian university in Jerusalem, hardly. Even less so on account of the many factual mistakes that undermine the book's credibility.
Such errors begin early when on page 34 we are told that Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam was hanged when in fact he was killed in a fire-fight. Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence from even the most sympathetic Palestinian sources that his followers "had lost their livelihoods when absentee landowners sold their land to a Zionist organization." Quoting from his father's memoirs, a man who obviously was not a professional historian, Nusseibeh tells us, "The only force to put up any resistance was the Arab Liberation Army." On page 40, he claims the Stern Gang was responsible for the loss of his father's leg and then, on page 56, that his father was shot "from the Mount Scopus police camp." How could anyone have known in the chaotic days of May 1948 that it was the Stern Gang that fired the shots? He writes of the refugee march his family was forced to take. Yet how far was Talbiyyah from east Jerusalem even in the blistering heat, especially since his family, the author previously reports, was in Beirut and then in Damascus?
The book is a piece of propaganda. It begins with the title, which cleverly gives the impression that there was once a state of Palestine. There was not.