Books: About/By Palestinian Christians

Scroll down to see the books in this category.

These collections of books have been assembled from many sources of recommended reading on Israel/Palestine, including: the United Church of Christ (UCC) and UCC PIN, Sabeel, Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP) and others. Many of the book descriptions are taken from; some come from the source of that book recommendation.

Presented in the following categories on individual pages:
About/By Palestinian Christians
Religion; The Bible; Christian Zionism
Personal Histories: Memoirs, Autobiographies, Novels
Political Analysis; Diplomatic History
The Current Situation
About Palestinians inside Israel
Zionism; Jewish Identity
Faith Relations; Anti-Semitism
Art; Illustration; Poetry
Tourism; The Politics of Tourism
Please note: some books are listed in more than one category.
The order of the books within each category is random and is not related to the importance of the work.

Please send us your suggestions for additions to these lists; contact us at [email protected].

We Belong to the Land: The Story of a Palestinian Israeli Who Lives for Peace and Reconciliation, by Elias Chacour (2001)
Nominated several times for the Noble Peace Prize, world-renowned Palestinian priest, Elias Chacour, narrates the gripping story of his life spent working to achieve peace and reconciliation among Israeli Jews, Christians, and Muslims. From the destruction of his boyhood village and his work as a priest in Galilee to his efforts to build school, libraries, and summer camps for children of all religions, this peacemaker’s moving story brings hope to one of the most complex struggles of our time.

Blood Brothers, by Chacour, Elias (1984)
As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. When tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps in 1948, Elias began a long struggle with how to respond. In Blood Brothers, he blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict, touching on questions such as:
What behind-the-scenes politics touched off the turmoil in the Middle East?
What does Bible prophecy really have to say?
Can bitter enemies ever be reconciled?
Now updated with commentary on the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a new foreword by Lynne Hybels and Gabe Lyons, this book offers hope and insight that can help each of us learn to live at peace in a world of tension and terror.

Kairos for Palestine, by Rifat Odeh Kassis
Part memoir, part political history, part theological reflection, this volume examines the history of Kairos documents from Christians in various global contexts, shares the background of the Kairos Palestine Document of December 2009, and demonstrates the importance and urgency of this movement of Palestinian Christians. Kassis also answers some of the critique that Kairos Palestine has received.

Faith in the Face of Empire, by Mitri Raheb (2014)
This is an essential read to anyone who desires new insight into scripture, seeks a reorientation of geopolitical perspective, and maintains hope for justice for Palestinians. Preeminent Palestinian contextual theologian Mitri Raheb has woven a profound biblical study and theological reflection on empire with contemporary realities and personal reflection in his new book. Inspired by the prophetic tradition and a liberating understanding of the Trinity, Rev. Raheb challenges accepted notions and offers a vision of imagination and hope that he is already making real.

Water from the Rock: Lutheran Voices from Palestine, edited by Ann Haften
In this short collection of articles, diary entries, and reflections, Palestinian and American Lutherans share the context of Palestine, from their perspectives. The selections include writings by Bishop Munib Younan, Rev. Mitri Raheb, his sister Viola Raheb, and Dr. Nuha Khoury, as well as some US Lutherans who have served in Palestine with partners there. Each section has study questions so this book can be used in an adult education class.

I am a Palestinian Christian, by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb (1995)
Rev. Raheb is pastor of Bethlehem’s Christmas Lutheran Church, and president of the Diyar Consortium. This book is a thorough examination of the issues faced by Palestinian Christians today, and is set in the context of history and theological reflection. Rev. Raheb’s book has become a classic on this less-known community.

Bethlehem Besieged, by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb (2004)
The pastor of Christmas Church, a Palestinian Lutheran congregation, Mitri Raheb here presents a powerful collection of compelling personal stories of desperation and hope in the midst of lethal conflict, bringing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict up close and personal. Raheb’s lifelong commitment to his people has kept him in the legendary birthplace of Christianity, even as Bethlehem has become a flashpoint in the world’s most volatile and hate-filled conflict. His passionate personal testimony lifts up the stray gesture toward friendship, the brave attempts to rebuild life and livelihood in a destroyed land, and the unquenchable desire for justice and peace.

Sailing through Troubled Waters: Christianity in the Middle East, by Mitri Raheb (2013)
In this collection of seven lectures and papers, Rev. Raheb offers historical and theological insight into the current reality of Christians in the Middle East. The chapters offer the current context of the Christian communities, including encounter with Islam and contextual scriptural readings of the Qur’an; the situation of Palestinian Christians; a brief history of the Lutheran Church in Palestine and Jordan; and reflections on revolution and human rights.

Witnessing For Peace in Jerusalem and the World, by Bishop Munib Younan (2003)
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Israel/Palestine has dashed hopes of any imminent peace or even accommodation between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people. A leader in Palestinian Christianity, and an outspoken advocate of nonviolence and of Palestinian rights, Bishop Munib Younan directly addresses this situation and its imperatives. Born of Palestinian refugee parents and raised in Jerusalem, Younan has spent his life pastoring Palestinian Christians and searching for nonviolent solutions in this complex and volatile religious and political scene. In this volume, Younan presents first the historical and social context of the Palestinian situation, beginning with the not-well-known story of Arab Christianity and his own background. He elaborates his own theology of nonviolence, centered in the idea of martyria-heeding a call to justice, inclusion, and forgiveness. He illustrates the notion with dramatic and often tragic episodes and shows how it can address key issues in the current struggle with Israel over statehood, land, and refugees. Younan’s model of Christian nonviolence also has demonstrable benefits in addressing terrorism, interreligious strife, and global peacemaking. Younan’s is a voice all Christians of conscience should hear.

Christians and a Land Called Holy: How we can foster justice, peace, and hope, by Charles P. Lutz and Robert O. Smith.
Smith, the Middle East executive for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Lutz, have written this very helpful book introducing the conflict, the actors (including Christian Zionists), and church partners, and offering guidance on what church people (and others) can do to be agents of change. This compact volume is especially helpful for those eager to engage locally, and the final chapter lays out suggestions. The bibliography is extensive.

A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation, by Rev. Naim Ateek
Rev. Ateek is the founder and director for the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, a partner of Global Ministries. Ateek’s new book is remarkable, provocative and challenging, and quite poignant. It is part personal narrative and part political commentary, all framed through a theological lens.

Justice and Only Justice, by Rev. Naim Ateek
Published first in 1989, this book is considered by many to be the foundational book of Palestinian liberation theology. It is seminal in that it addresses, from a theological and experiential point of view, the issues at stake in seeking justice and peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak 1988-2008, edited by Melanie May
A comprehensive collection of all of the statements and letters issued by the heads of churches in Jerusalem, together, over a period of 20 years, May enhances this presentation of the documents with historical context. This book is useful as a reference, as history, and as theological insight into life under occupation. Over the course of these two decades, the heads of churches have addressed their statements to a variety of audiences. Their message is consistent, though, and it is one that should be heard directly from them: Peace and Justice must prevail. This book allows that voice to come through clearly.

The Forgotten Faithful: A Window into the Life and Witness of Christians in the Holy Land, edited by Naim Ateek, Cedar Duaybis, and Maurine Tobin
This collection of presentations from the 2005 International Sabeel Conference is a trove of valuable insight about the history, demographics, and witness of the Palestinian Christian community. With special articles on various church histories and presence, and deep foci on the current realities Palestinian Christians face as part of the Palestinian community, this book is exceedingly valuable.

Occupied with Nonviolence: A Palestinian Woman Speaks, by Jean Zaru.
Mrs. Zaru is the Clerk of the Friends Meeting (Quaker), our partner in Ramallah. She has recently published a collection of speeches and papers. The book is highly readable, and is full of insightful content. It is an excellent treatment of a number of issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with a greater vision at stake. Mrs. Zaru treats issues of interfaith relations, women’s rights, human rights, Jerusalem, violence and nonviolence, and others in a way that some of us have come to know well.

Who Are the Christians in the Middle East? By Betty Jane Bailey and Martin J Bailey, J. Martin (2003)
The authors, missionaries in the Middle East, describe past and present of the five church families of the Middle East and profile Christian presence by country, in Cyprus, Egypt, Holy Land, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, N. Africa, Persian Gulf, Sudan, Syria, and Turkey.

The Arab Christian: A History in the Middle East, by Kenneth Cragg (1991)
A major figure in Christian/Muslim conversation; detailed theological analysis. The author follows the journey of two monks who traveled from Egypt to Turkey and south through the Levant, beginning in 587.

Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward W. Said (1999)
From one of the most important intellectuals of our time comes an extraordinary story of exile and a celebration of an irrecoverable past. A fatal medical diagnosis in 1991 convinced Edward Said that he should leave a record of where he was born and spent his childhood, and so with this memoir he rediscovers the lost Arab world of his early years in Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt. Said writes with great passion and wit about his family and his friends from his birthplace in Jerusalem, schools in Cairo, and summers in the mountains above Beirut, to boarding school and college in the United States, revealing an unimaginable world of rich, colorful characters and exotic eastern landscapes. Underscoring all is the confusion of identity the young Said experienced as he came to terms with the dissonance of being an American citizen, a Christian and a Palestinian, and, ultimately, an outsider. Richly detailed, moving, often profound, Out of Place depicts a young man’s coming of age and the genesis of a great modern thinker.

The Body and the Blood: The Middle East’s Vanishing Christians and the Possibility for Peace by Charles M. Sennott (2001)
As the Middle East has gone up in flames, no image so captured the clash of cultures as did the siege at the Church of the Nativity, where Christian monks were trapped inside the fortress-like church, as Palestinian gunmen faced off against the Israeli military for five weeks. As Muslim and Jew battled for control, the Christians were caught in the crossfire: endangered and largely forgotten, victims of somebody else’s war. In The Body and the Blood, Charles M. Sennott examines the dwindling Christian communities of the modern Middle East in search of answers to the following questions: Why is Christianity dying out in the land where it began? And what are the consequences, not only for the future of Christianity but for the Middle East itself? From Israel to Lebanon to Egypt to Jordan to the ancient cities of the West Bank, Sennott finds that the themes resonating today are the same as those that convulsed the region at the time of Christ. His frontline reporting is powerful and provocative, as he shines a new light on the Middle East.

Dying in the Land of Promise-Palestine and Palestinian Christianity from Pentecost to 2000, by Donald E., Wagner (2001)
The plan of this book is unprecedented, balancing the broad historical overview of two thousand years of Palestinian Christian history with careful, incisive analysis of the issues shaping the current conflict. One senses that the further one moves through the book the more the Israeli-Palestinian conflict takes over and dominates, stifling and strangling the earlier vibrant story of Palestinian culture and history. Wagner’s specialization in understanding the modern, radical dispensational views of Christian fundamentalism—his other books include Anxious for Armaggedon, Peace or Armaggedon, and All in the Name of the Bible—helps to enlighten the 20th century part of the story, especially with regard to British politicians intent on granting to a third party (the Zionists) land that was not theirs to offer. Wagner is skilled in presenting complex issues in a clear and readable fashion. He draws from deep wells of scholarly research and offers it up as a refreshing and cool drink. Each chapter begins with a lively story or quotation and ends with a series of summary statements. This all makes Dying in the Land of Promise an ideal resource for Bible classes and other adult study groups. I will certainly make this a requirement for students preparing for Middle East study tours. It is a book for which I have been looking for quite some time.

The Peace Process: From Breakthrough to Breakdown, by Afif Safieh
Afif Safieh served as Palestinian General Delegate in London, Washington and Moscow from 1990 to 2009. During this time, he met and interacted with the leading figures of our times: from Yasser Arafat, John Major and Tony Blair; to Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Pope John Paul II. The Peace Process: From Breakthrough to Breakdown brings together Afif Safieh’s articles, lectures and interviews from 1981, when he was a staff member in Yasser Arafat’s Beirut office, to 2005, at the end of his mission in London, revealing the political and intellectual journey of one of Palestine’s most skilled and distinguished diplomats. His writings, which centre on the Palestinian struggle for independence, are a testament to his vision and humanity and provide a unique map of Palestinian diplomacy over the last three decades.