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Kill Khalid


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About the Author

Paul McGeough is the chief correspondent and a former editor of Australia's Sydney Morning Herald and the author of three books on the Middle East. He has twice been named Australian Journalist of the Year and in 2002 was awarded the Johns Hopkins University based SAIS Novartis prize for excellence in international journalism. He lives in Sydney, Australia.


McGeough (Manhattan to Baghdad) offers a meticulously researched, if in places excessively detailed treatment of Palestinian political history. Based on interviews conducted with key players and Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, the narrative focuses on the attempted assassination in 1997 of Mishal by Mossad, the Israeli secret service, and examines how the bungled poisoning catalyzed Hamas-previously marginalized and labeled a terrorist group-to rise to power. The brazen attempt on Mishal's life in broad daylight while he was taking his sons for a haircut in Amman, Jordan, galvanized the movement; Mishal became a household name in the Middle East and Hamas members called him "the martyr who did not die." By 2004, Hamas's refusal to abandon the use of suicide bombers turned international opinion against the organization, but by this time even Jimmy Carter had visited Mishal, and Arafat's PLO had been pushed aside as the sole representative of the Palestinian cause. This is the definitive chronicle of the Middle East crisis during the Clinton years and in the post-9/11 era. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Verdict: A fascinating-if densely detailed-account of Mossad's 1997 assassination attempt of Hamas's boss, Khalid Mishal. Suitable for larger public and academic libraries. Background: McGeough (former executive editor, Sydney Morning Herald; Manhattan to Baghdad) provides a riveting account of Israel's botched poisoning of Mishal and the ensuing and desperate negotiations between King Hussein, President Clinton, unrepentant Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, the PLO's Arafat, and various diplomats and spies. The book exposes the assassination's ironic unintended consequences: far from wiping out Hamas, the incident gave the group credibility and an advantage in its civil war with the PLO. Despite efforts to humanize the politics (e.g., descriptions of Palestinian women selling their wedding rings for food during the blockade of Gaza), McGeough's narrative can be ponderous.-Elliott Sparkman Walker, freelance journalist, Radnor, PA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

[...] This is the definitive chronicle of the Middle East crisis during the Clinton years and in the post-9/11 era.

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