Walid Khalidi

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Walid Khalidi
Born 1925 (age 90–91)
Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine
Occupation Historian

Walid Khalidi (Arabic: وليد خالدي‎, born 1925 in Jerusalem) is an Oxford University-educated Palestinian historian who has written extensively on the Palestinian exodus. He is General Secretary and co-founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies, established in Beirut in December 1963 as an independent research and publishing center focusing on the Palestine problem and the Arab–Israeli conflict.

Khalidi's first teaching post was at Oxford, a position he resigned from in 1956 in protest at the British invasion of Suez. He was Professor of Political Studies at the American University of Beirut until 1982 and thereafter a research fellow at the Harvard Center for International Affairs.[1] He has also taught at Princeton University.

Khalidi was co-founder of the Royal Scientific Society of Amman. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Life and career[edit]

Khalidi was born, one of 5 children, in Jerusalem. His father, Ahmad Samih Khalidi, was dean of the Arab College of Jerusalem, and hailed from a family with roots in pre-Crusader Palestine. Khalidi's early tutor was the director of Education in Mandatory Palestine, G. B. Farrell.[2] His brother is the Islamic historian Tarif Khalidi. Khalidi graduated with a B.A. from the University of London in 1945, then studied at the University of Oxford, gaining an M.Litt. in 1951. He then taught at the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Oxford, until he resigned, after the trilateral British, French and Israeli assault on Egypt in 1956, to take up teaching at the American University of Beirut. Under his guidance the Institute of Palestine Studies, established in 1963, produced a long series of monographs in English and Arabic and several important translations of Hebrew texts into Arabic: 'The History of the Haganah', David Ben-Gurion and Shertok's diaries—texts that still await translation into English.[3] He has also produced ground-breaking work on the fall of Haifa and Deir Yassin. His best known works are Before Their Diaspora, a photographic essay on Palestinian society prior to 1948 and All That Remains, the encyclopedic collection of village histories which he edited. He became a senior research associate at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard in 1982.[2]

Position on the Palestine question[edit]

Khalidi's stated position on the Palestine question is for a two-state solution.[4][5] From Foreign Affairs: "A Palestinian state in the occupied territories within the 1967 frontiers in peaceful coexistence alongside Israel is the only conceptual candidate for a historical compromise of this century-old conflict. Without it the conflict will remain an open-ended one."[6]

Khalidi is a Palestinian representative to the Joint Palestinian–Jordanian delegation to the Middle East peace talks. He holds no office in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) or any of its bodies.[7]


At the Palestinian Heritage Foundation's 15th Anniversary banquet, Khalidi was presented with an award for his commitment to the Palestinian cause, the Arab-American community, and the Arab nation.[8]


Moshe Brawer, professor of Geography at Tel Aviv University criticises Khalidi's encyclopedic work All that Remains for "inadequate field research," "overlooked sources of information," and "unreliable figures," and "tendentiousness." He accuses the book of having a "virulent anti-Israel tone" in the preface, and charges that the "highly conspicuous aim" of the cause section of each chapter is to "point an accusing finger at the 'Zionist villain' who wrought disaster on harmless peace-loving villagers." The tendentiousness of this historical survey is further evident, he says, in that there is no mention in the book of the role the Arab inhabitants of any particular village or villages to the 1948 war effort, or of what part the geographical features played in the involvement of the village in hostilities. Brawer complains that the field research is wanting in accuracy and scholarly observation, and that the main portion of each essay is its report on its occupation by Jewish forces and its depopulation, which includes passages taken, "often out of context" from Israeli reports and publications.

Brawer claims that Khalidi draws his entire information on population, cultivatable land and land ownership from the single source, Village Statistics 1945, which was copied and edited by Sami Hadawi and published 25 years later in 1970. In Hadawi's version land ownership is listed differently from the original, conflating Christian land ownership with that of the Arabs. According to Brawer, the reliability of the original version is in doubt, to the point where the explanatory note on the original 1945 version specifically states: "The population estimates published here cannot, however, be considered other than rough estimates which in some instances may ultimate be found to differ considerable from the actual figures."

Finally, Brawer charges,"All That Remains" is simply a rewrite of earlier published material and "despite its self-publicized 'field research,'" finds little new substantive material in the book, and as such is "disappointing." [9]

Published works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hirsch & Housen-Couriel, 1995, p. 98.
  2. ^ a b Rashid Khalidi, 'Walid Khalidi,' in Philip Mattar (ed.),Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, Infobase Publishing, 2005 pp.280-284.
  3. ^ See for example See translation by Walid Khalidi here
  4. ^ Khalidi, Walid (Jul 1978). "Thinking the Unthinkable: A Sovereign Palestinian State". Foreign Affairs (Council on Foreign Relations) 56 (4): 695–713. doi:10.2307/20039986. JSTOR 20039986. 
  5. ^ Hirsch, Moshe; Housen-Couriel, Deborah; Lapidoth, Ruth (1995). "44". Whither Jerusalem?: proposals and positions concerning the future of Jerusalem (Mekhon Yerushalayim le-ḥeḳer Yiśraʼel ed.). The Hague u.a.: Nijhoff. p. 98. ISBN 90-411-0077-6. Retrieved 4 October 2013. Proposal by Dr. Walid Khalidi Date: 1978, 1988 Source: W. Khalidi, "Thinking the Unthinkable: A Sovereign Palestinian State," 56 Foreign Affairs 695, 1978. idem, "Toward Peace in the Holy Land," 66 Foreign Affairs 71, 1988. Background: Walid Khalidi was professor of Political Studies at the American university of Beirut until 1982 and currently is a Research Fellow at the Harvard Center for International Affairs. In the past he was a member of the Palestinian national Council and carried out various political missions for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. National Aspirations # East Jerusalem will be the capital of "Arab Pastine," and west Jerusalem of Israel. # The two states would agree to arrangements for "freedom of residence between two capitals." # Both parts of the city would be "demilitarized in part or wholly for essential internal security forces." Holy Places # Extraterritorial status would be granted to the Holy Places of Jerusalem in east Jerusalem, and freedom of access to them should be guaranteed. # An "interfaith ocuncil" would be set up, composed of senior representatives of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The council will be chaired by a representative of the U.N. or by rotating chairmanship among the members. # The council "could oversee the special interests, Holy Places and institutions of each religion and act as an arbitration and conciliation body for disputes or claims arising with regard to them." Municipal Administration # Two "separate minicipalities of each sovereign state" would provide services to the city's residencts. # "A joint inter-state great municipal counil would operate and supervise certain essential common services." 
  6. ^ Khalidi, Walid. "Toward Peace in the Holy Land", Foreign Affairs, Spring 1988.
  7. ^ Hansard Records, 13 April 1983 vol 40 c407W.
  8. ^ Palestine Heritage news letter
  9. ^ Brawer, M. (December 01, 1994). All that remains? Israel Affairs, 1, 2, 334-345.[1] limited access


  • Hirsch, Moshe and Housen-Couriel, Deborah (1995). Whither Jerusalem?: Proposals and Positions Concerning the Future of Jerusalem. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 90-411-0077-6

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