From an exchange with Hillel Cohen

The cover photo of your book is intriguing. What's the story of that picture? I found the photo at Israel's national photo collection, and it caught my eye immediately, mainly because it represents the meeting of two nationalisms and actually two cultures. What we see is a group of Jews from Zichron Ya'acov visiting a neighboring village. Its name was not mentioned in the photo description, but it was probably Subbarin (demolished in 1948). We see the physical nearness, together with the cultural gap. For me the scene represents the attempts Zionist settlers made to communicate with the local Arabs, and the apparent difficulties of such meetings. And since I wrote the book before I found the photo, it tells me how little we can really know about such a meeting, since this kind of encounter was sometimes based on a genuine wish to create good relations, sometimes aimed at exploiting the Arabs, and so on. In other words, the photo illustrates the complexity of the Zionists' attitude toward the Palestinian Arabs, and vice versa. You identify yourself as an Israeli and as a Jew. Given that this book is about Palestinian Arabs and Zionists, what - if anything - should we read into your decision not to self-identify also as a Zionist? Don't read anything into it. Sometimes I identify myself as a Zionist, sometimes not. Do you agree that had the "collaborators" gained the upper hand in the development of Palestinian nationalism, the past 60 years could have been very different? Yes, this is part of what I suggest, but of course only as a possibility, not as a firm conclusion. It is very difficult to know what the Zionist response would have been had Arab moderation triumphed. Remember that in 1948, Arab rejectionism served to the advantage of the Zionist movement and was, in some cases, encouraged by it.