"It is one of the greatest ironies," begins Unfree In Palestine, "that as nationalism faded in Europe it waxed in the zionist movement to Palestine and as international law opposed denationalisation, denationalisation in Palestine rose ever higher."
In 1948 that zionist movement declared itself a state which promised to "maintain complete equality of social and political rights for all citizens, without distinction of creed, race or sex" and to guarantee freedom of religion and conscience, language, education and culture.
Yet the reality, as the authors reveal in this thoroughly researched and devastating account, is that these laws and processes gave the Arab Palestinians only two options - expulsion or execution.
They make clear how, through the passing of specific laws combined with the issuing of passports and permits, the maltreatment of the Palestinians was legitimised.
The authors focus on denationalisation rather than displacement or dispossession and in doing so bring to the attention the 1.4 million denationalised Palestinians.
Using research from official statements to first-hand accounts, their narrative begins at the 1948-49 census which enabled Israelis to locate indigenous people and their property.
All respondents to the census were presented with marked identity papers which effectively granted one group protection and deprived the other of all rights.
Out of the census was born the population registry which, as Abu-Zahra and Kay highlight, lists Jewish babies born on Palestinian land as having Israeli citizenship. Palestinian babies, however, were granted "indefinite" citizenship.
What is most remarkable about this book is that it manages to elicit a powerfully emotional response simply by presenting a series of facts and quotes. It is a well-organised and incriminating chronicle of the discrimination and injustice which still continues to this very day in the Middle East.