Drawing on recently declassified state papers in Israel, Great Britain, and the United States, as well as on Israeli private papers, Morris has written the first scholarly account of this most contentious issue, the Arab exodus from Palestine. Until now, two irreconcilable viewpoints have dominated the debate: the pro-Arab, which contends that the Arabs were expelled; and the pro-Israeli, which holds that the Arabs left of their own accord, under instructions from their leaders.
Morris endorses neither of these simple positions. Instead, he analyzes in minute detail the varied circumstances in which about 700,000 Arabs left nearly 400 settlements over a period of 700 days. What he finds is that the events were "so complex and varied, the situation radically changing from date to date and place to place, that a single-cause explanation of the exodus from most sites is impossible." If one looks hard enough, the standard pro-Arab and pro-Israeli positions can both be supported, but neither predominates.
Morris's research provides the factual basis for future discussions of this vexing problem; and his even-handed, scrupulous investigation assures that many of his own conclusions will achieve wide acceptance.