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Walid Khalidi

Walid Khalidi Palestinian historian

Palestinian historian
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Palestinian historian
Known for All that remains
Is Historian
From Palestine
Type Social science
Gender male
Birth 1925, Jerusalem, Israel
Age: 95 years
The details

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 a 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, and was its General Secretary until 2016.

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. He has also taught at Princeton University.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been influential in scholarship, institutional development and diplomacy. His academic work in particular, according to Rashid Khalidi, has played a key role in shaping both Palestinian and broader Arab reactions to the loss of Palestine, and in outlining ways for the former to ensure that they remain visible as a presence within the Middle East map.

Life and career

Khalidi was born, one of five 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 Palestine, G. B. Farrell. 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. In the 50s he wrote 2 essays on Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi, a Syrian Sufi scholar who had written on tolerance, and who practiced this in regard to Jews and Christians he encountered.

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. 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. More broadly, his intellectual interests extend from modern European history to international relations, in strategic and military terms.

Position on the Palestine question

Khalidi's stated position on the Palestine question is for a two-state solution. 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."

Khalidi was a Palestinian representative to the Joint Palestinian–Jordanian delegation to the Middle East peace talks launched at the Madrid Conference, prior to the Oslo Agreements. He holds no office in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) or any of its bodies.


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.


Moshe Brawer, professor of Geography at Tel Aviv University wrote that Khalidi's encyclopedic work All that Remains suffers from "inadequate field research." Brawer criticized Khalidi's over-reliance on a modified version of the Village Statistics, which Khalidi acknowledged provide only rough estimates, while not making use of other sources such as the Village Files or RAF aerial photographs which would have yielded more accurate estimates.

Ann M. Lesch of Villanova University wrote that "As scholarly documentation, All That Remains will become the definitive source for research into the Palestinian displacement in 1948."

Published works

  • (1959) Why Did the Palestinians Leave? Middle East Forum, 24, 21–24, (July 1959). Reprinted as 'Why Did the Palestinians Leave Revisited', 2005, Journal of Palestine Studies, XXXIV, No. 2, 42–54.
  • (1959) The Fall of Haifa. Middle East Forum, 35, 22–32, (December 1959).
  • (1961) Plan Dalet: The Zionist Master Plan for the Conquest of Palestine. Middle East Forum, 37(9), 22–28, (November 1961).
  • From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948. Institute for Palestine Studies. 1987 [Original in 1971]. ISBN 978-0-88728-155-6.
  • (1974) Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: An Annotated Bibliography. Institute for Palestine Studies.
  • (1978) Thinking the unthinkable: A sovereign Palestinian State. Foreign Affairs, 56(4), 695–713.
  • (1981) Regiopolitics: Toward a U.S. Policy on the Palestine Problem. Foreign Affairs.
  • (1983) Conflict and Violence in Lebanon: Confrontation in the Middle East. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-16075-4
  • (1984) Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876–1948. Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-88728-144-3
  • (1985) A Palestinian Perspective on the Arab–Israeli Conflict. Journal of Palestine Studies, 14(4) (Summer, 1985), pp. 35–48.
  • (1987) From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem until 1948.. Institute of Palestine Studies, Washington DC.
  • (1988) Toward Peace in the Holy Land. Foreign Affairs
  • (1989) At a Critical Juncture: The United States and the Palestinian People. Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University.
  • (1991) The Gulf Crisis: Origins and Consequences. Journal of Palestine Studies, 20(2) (Winter, 1991), pp. 5–28.
  • (1992) All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-88728-224-5
  • (1992) Palestine Reborn. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1-85043-563-4
  • (1993) Benny Morris and Before Their Diaspora. Journal of Palestine Studies, 22(3) (Spring, 1993), pp. 106–119.
  • (1993) The Jewish-Ottoman Land Company: Herzl's Blueprint for the Colonization of Palestine. Journal of Palestine Studies, 22(2) (Winter, 1993), pp. 30–47.
  • (1996) Islam, the West and Jerusalem. Center for Contemporary Arab Studies & Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding, Georgetown University.
  • (1996) Revisiting the UNGA Partition Resolution. Journal of Palestine Studies, 27(1) (Autumn, 1997), pp. 5–21.
  • (1998) Khamsuna 'aman a'la taqsim Filastin. Fifty years since the Partition of Palestine (1947–1997), Dar al-Nahar, Beirut. (Arabic).
  • (1998) Selected Documents on the 1948 Palestine War. Journal of Palestine Studies. 27(3), 79.
  • (1999) Dayr Yasin: al-Jum'a, 9/4/1948. Dayr Yasin: Friday, 9 April 1948. Institute for Palestine Studies. Beirut. (Arabic).
  • (2000) The Ownership of the U.S. Embassy Site in Jerusalem. Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-88728-277-6
  • (2005) "On Albert Hourani, the Arab Office, and the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry 1946", Journal of Palestine Studies vol 35, no. 1 (autumn 2005): 60–79
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