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.
Presented in the following categories on individual pages:
• About/By Palestinian Christians
• Religion; The Bible; Christian Zionism
• Personal Histories: Memoirs, Autobiographies
• Political Analysis; Diplomatic History
• The Current Situation
• Activism; Resistance; Solidarity; Intersectional Justice
• Novels; Short Stories; Poetry
• About Palestinians inside Israel
• Zionism; Jewish Identity
• Faith Relations; Anti-Semitism
• Visual Arts; Crafts (poetry moved to new list)
• Tourism; The Politics of Tourism
• Children’s Books
Please note: some books are listed in more than one category.
Please send us your suggestions for additions to these lists; contact us at [email protected].
The order of the books within each category is random and is not related to the importance of the work.
Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer
By Phyllis Bennis (6th edition, 2015)
This irreplaceable introduction to the conflict is highly recommended for all who want to better understand what is happening in the Holy Land. If you have ever wondered “Why is there so much violence in the Middle East?”, “Who are the Palestinians?”, “What are the occupied territories?” or “What does Israel want?”, then this is the book for you. With straightforward language, Phyllis Bennis, longtime analyst of the region, answers basic questions about Israel and Israelis, Palestine and Palestinians, the US and the Middle East, Zionism and anti-Semitism; about complex issues ranging from the Oslo peace process to the election of Hamas. Together her answers provide a comprehensive understanding of the longstanding Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Sections include: The Crisis; The Other Players: The Role of the US, the UN, the Arab States, and Europe; Recent History: Rising Violence; Looking Backward (1900-1991); The Future.
Palestine and the Arab Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents
By Charles D. Smith
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict provides a comprehensive, balanced, and accessible narrative of a complex historical topic. The narrative is supported by more than 40 primary documents that highlight perspectives from all sides of the struggle. Throughout the book, the author examines how underlying issues, group motives, religious and cross-cultural clashes, diplomacy and imperialism, and the arrival of the modern era shaped this volatile region. Maps, photographs, chronologies, public opinion polls, and discussion questions help facilitate student understanding. A fully updated final chapter makes this the most current history of the topic.
Smith’s work has long been considered a classic, and is a commonly utilized textbook in university courses. Smith has copiously kept the book up to date with new history and documents. This is a standard and comprehensive examination of the history of the conflict.
America and the Founding of Israel: An Investigation of the Morality of America’s Role
By John W. Mulhall (1995)
A look at moral issues in question concerning U.S. involvement in the conflict between Israel & Palestine, this book is a valuable tool for understanding the history and moral character of what we now call the “Israel-Palestine conflict.” The author, a Catholic priest and a writer on social justice issues, asks important questions about the legitimacy of claims in the region, the pressures that have been applied to governments and peoples, and the morality of our nation’s policies toward Arabs and Jews in this volatile part of the world.
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
By Ilan Pappe (2007)
Renowned Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe’s groundbreaking book revisits the formation of the State of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, over 400 Palestinian villages were deliberately destroyed, civilians were massacred and around a million men, women, and children were expelled from their homes at gunpoint. Denied for almost six decades, had it happened today it could only have been called “ethnic cleansing.” Decisively debunking the myth that the Palestinian population left of their own accord in the course of this war, Ilan Pappe offers impressive archival evidence to demonstrate that, from its very inception, a central plank in Israel’s founding ideology was the forcible removal of the indigenous population. Indispensable for anyone interested in the current crisis in the Middle East.
The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel
By Ilan Pappé
For more than 60 years, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have lived as Israeli citizens within the borders of the nation formed at the end of the 1948 conflict. Occupying a precarious middle ground between the Jewish citizens of Israel and the dispossessed Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Palestinians have developed an exceedingly complex relationship with the land they call home; however, in the innumerable discussions of the Israel-Palestine problem, their experiences are often overlooked and forgotten. In this book, historian Ilan Pappé examines how Israeli Palestinians have fared under Jewish rule and what their lives tell us about both Israel’s attitude toward minorities and Palestinians’ attitudes toward the Jewish state. Drawing upon significant archival and interview material, Pappé analyzes the Israeli state’s policy towards its Palestinian citizens, finding discrimination in matters of housing, education, and civil rights. Rigorously researched yet highly readable, The Forgotten Palestinians brings a new and much-needed perspective to the Israel-Palestine debate.
Ten Myths About Israel
By Ilan Pappe
In this groundbreaking book, published on the fiftieth anniversary of the Occupation, the outspoken and radical Israeli historian Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel.
The “ten myths” that Pappe explores—repeated endlessly in the media, enforced by the military, accepted without question by the world’s governments—reinforce the regional status quo. He explores the claim that Palestine was an empty land at the time of the Balfour Declaration, as well as the formation of Zionism and its role in the early decades of nation building. He asks whether the Palestinians voluntarily left their homeland in 1948, and whether June 1967 was a war of “no choice.” Turning to the myths surrounding the failures of the Camp David Accords and the official reasons for the attacks on Gaza, Pappe explains why the two-state solution is no longer viable.
“Ilan Pappe is Israel’s bravest, most principled, most incisive historian.”
“One of the most prominent Israeli political dissidents living in exile … He is also one of the few Israeli students of the conflict who write about the Palestinian side with real knowledge and empathy.”
—Avi Shlaim, Guardian
“Along with Edward Said, Ilan Pappe is the most eloquent writer of Palestinian history.”
“Ten Myths About Israel is a useful primer for people just becoming familiar with the Palestinian liberation struggle—but it is far more than that. It is also a valuable tool for veteran organizers seeking to explain cogently and simply how Israel’s foundational myths and ongoing propaganda perpetuate the oppression of the Palestinian people.”
“This book is an absolute must for an interested public, the political and the media class to understand what Israel is all about.”
—American Herald Tribune
The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories
By Ilan Pappe
A powerful, groundbreaking history of the Occupied Territories from one of Israel’s most influential historians.
From the author of the bestselling study of the 1948 War of Independence comes an incisive look at the Occupied Territories, picking up the story where The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine left off.
In this comprehensive exploration of one of the world’s most prolonged and tragic conflicts, Pappe uses recently declassified archival material to analyse the motivations and strategies of the generals and politicians – and the decision-making process itself – that laid the foundation of the occupation. From a survey of the legal and bureaucratic infrastructures that were put in place to control the population of over one million Palestinians, to the security mechanisms that vigorously enforced that control, Pappe paints a picture of what is to all intents and purposes the world’s largest ‘open prison’.
‘[Pappe] boldly and persuasively argues for understanding the occupied territories as the world’s “largest ever mega-prison”… Pappe’s conclusions won’t be welcome in all quarters but this detailed history is rigorously supported by primary sources.’
― Publishers Weekly
‘A diagnostic survey of Israel’s long-planned occupation of the Palestinian’s land… A grim, hard-hitting look at the nuts and bolts of Israeli occupation.’
‘What is new in The Biggest Prison on Earth is Pappe’s detailed accounting of exactly what the Israeli planners were contemplating in 1963; namely, “the largest ever mega-prison for a million and a half people.”’
― Electronic Intifada
‘Pappe’s book is critical for understanding the present situation and looking forward to possible solutions.’
― CHOICE reviews
The Question of Palestine
By Edward W. Said
This original and deeply provocative book was the first to make Palestine the subject of a serious debate–one that remains as critical as ever. With the rigorous scholarship he brought to his influential Orientalism and an exile’s passion (he is Palestinian by birth), Edward W. Said traces the fatal collision between two peoples in the Middle East and its repercussions in the lives of both the occupier and the occupied–as well as in the conscience of the West. He has updated this landmark work to portray the changed status of Palestine and its people in light of such developments as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the intifada, the Gulf War, and the ongoing MIddle East peace initiative. For anyone interested in this region and its future, The Question of Palestine remains the most useful and authoritative account available.
The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East
By David Hirst
In this masterful historic analysis of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Hirst offers much more than narrative history; he offers an alternative point of view that is likely to disturb one’s understanding of history. Well-documented, this book complements the mainstream presentation of the last century of conflict in the Middle East. With Zionism and Israel at the center of this telling, Hirst has written a book that has been described as “classic.” The second edition ends with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its consequences (1982-3), and the third edition takes the reader through Oslo and its impact.
The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017
By Rashid Khalidi
A landmark history of one hundred years of war waged against the Palestinians from the foremost US historian of the Middle East, told through pivotal events and family history
In 1899, Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi, mayor of Jerusalem, alarmed by the Zionist call to create a Jewish national home in Palestine, wrote a letter aimed at Theodore Herzl: the country had an indigenous people who would not easily accept their own displacement. He warned of the perils ahead, ending his note, “in the name of God, let Palestine be left alone.” Thus Rashid Khalidi, al-Khalidi’s great-great-nephew, begins this sweeping history, the first general account of the conflict told from an explicitly Palestinian perspective.
Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival materials and the reports of generations of family members—mayors, judges, scholars, diplomats, and journalists—The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine upends accepted interpretations of the conflict, which tend, at best, to describe a tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same territory. Instead, Khalidi traces a hundred years of colonial war on the Palestinians, waged first by the Zionist movement and then Israel, but backed by Britain and the United States, the great powers of the age. He highlights the key episodes in this colonial campaign, from the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the destruction of Palestine in 1948, from Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon to the endless and futile peace process.
Original, authoritative, and important, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine is not a chronicle of victimization, nor does it whitewash the mistakes of Palestinian leaders or deny the emergence of national movements on both sides. In reevaluating the forces arrayed against the Palestinians, it offers an illuminating new view of a conflict that continues to this day.
“Informed and passionate . . . Khalidi’s is an elegy for the Palestinians, for their dispossession, for their failure to resist conquest.”
“The Hundred Years’ War is one of the best-researched general surveys of 20th and early 21st century Palestinian life, but it’s also a deeply personal work. . . . For a people whose history is all but criminalized, this act of retelling is itself a form of resistance.”
“Masterful . . . brilliant . . . This major work will occupy a central position in the literature of Palestinian history.”
“For those who want to learn about the course of the Israel-Palestine conflict up till now, and are open-minded: read this book. It comes over as a brilliant synthesis of high scholarship and experience, fair-minded, and highly readable.”
“Meticulous . . . Rashid Khalidi’s exhaustive research leaves no doubt that the Jewish colonizers were acutely aware from the start that the Palestinian people had to be subjugated and removed to create the Jewish state.”
―Chris Hedges, TruthDig
“This book is a masterful work of scholarship and personal history excavating unlike any I’ve seen before; this will become a major force in the Palestinian historical canon in the years to come.”
“Rashid Khalidi enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the greatest living historians of the Palestinian people. . . . Khalidi is a sophisticated and unapologetic exponent of an increasingly widely held view of the Israel–Palestine conflict.”
―The Literary Review (UK)
“A riveting and original work, the first to explore the century of war against the Palestinians on the basis of deep immersion in their struggle―a work enriched by solid scholarship, vivid personal experience, and acute appreciation of the concerns and aspirations of the contending parties in this deeply unequal conflict.”
―Noam Chomsky, author of Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
“This is the first true people’s history of the hundred-year struggle of the Palestinian people, a beautifully written text and a call for justice and self-determination.”
―Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle For Statehood
By Rashid Khalidi (2007)
In The Iron Cage, Rashid Khalidi, one of the most respected historians and political observers of the Middle East, homes in on Palestinian politics and history. By drawing on a wealth of experience and scholarship, Khalidi provides a lucid context for the realities on the ground today, a context that has been, until now, notably lacking in our discourse. Rashid Khalidi’s engrossing narrative of this torturous history offers much-needed perspective for anyone concerned about peace in the Middle East.
Brokers of Deceit: How the US has undermined peace in the Middle East
By Rashid Khalidi
An historian and participant in some of the negotiations discussed, Khalidi examines three “moments” in peacemaking efforts: the 1982 efforts and foundational documents; the Madrid/Oslo period; and Pres. Obama’s first term. This is a much broader history, though, connecting the consistency and evolution of US involvement, identifying guiding US interests and their consequences, and showing the ultimately negative role the US has played. Khalidi’s focus on language, describing it as Orwellian, is astute. This is a short, but quite valuable, contribution.
Palestine and The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History With Documents
By Charles D. Smith (2012)
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict provides a comprehensive, balanced, and accessible narrative of a complex historical topic. The narrative is supported by more than 40 primary documents that highlight perspectives from all sides of the struggle. Throughout the book, the author examines how underlying issues, group motives, religious and cross-cultural clashes, diplomacy and imperialism, and the arrival of the modern era shaped this volatile region. Map, photographs, chronologies, and discussion questions help facilitate student understanding.
Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab‐Israeli Conflict
By Amy Dockser Marcus
Though the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict have traditionally been traced to the British Mandate (1920-1948) that ended with the creation of the Israeli state, a new generation of scholars has taken the investigation further back, to the Ottoman period. The first popular account of this key era, Jerusalem 1913 shows us a cosmopolitan city whose religious tolerance crumbled before the onset of Z ionism and its corresponding nationalism on both sides-a conflict that could have been resolved were it not for the onset of World War I. With extraordinary skill, Amy Dockser Marcus rewrites the story of one of the world’s most indelible divides.
Palestine, Peace not Apartheid
By Jimmy Carter
Following his #1 New York Times best seller Our Endangered Values, the former president, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, offers an assessment of what must be done to bring permanent peace to Israel, with dignity and justice for Palestine. President Carter, who was able to negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt, has remained deeply involved in Middle East affairs since leaving the White House. He has stayed in touch with the major players from all sides in the conflict and has made numerous trips to the Holy Land, most recently as an observer of the Palestinian elections in 2005 and 2006. In this book, President Carter shares his intimate knowledge of the history of the Middle East and his personal experiences with the principal actors, and he addresses sensitive political issues many American officials avoid. Pulling no punches, Carter prescribes steps that must be taken for the two states to share the Holy Land without a system of apartheid or the constant fear of terrorism. The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known, the president writes. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy, and the international “road map” for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is a challenging, provocative, and courageous work.
We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land
By Jimmy Carter (2010)
In this urgent, timely, and passionate book, Nobel Peace Laureate and former President Jimmy Carter argues that the present moment is a unique time for achieving peace in the Middle East—and he offers a bold and comprehensive plan to do just that.
Thirteen Days in September
By Lawrence Wright
In this briskly paced book, Wright chronicles the 1978 Camp David summit that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty the following year. But this book is more than that; it provides important biographical background of Presidents Carter and Sadat, and Prime Minster Begin. It is a study of the characters involved and the historical contexts that led them each to Camp David. Positions staked out then have bearing on the state of the conflict today, and is therefore is an especially relevant as contemporary insight.
The Missing Peace
By Dennis Ross
This dense volume is a very thorough account of the negotiations that took place at Camp David in July 2000, written by one of the central players. Written with much detail, and personal impressions, Ross’s book is important as documentation of the meetings with Pres. Clinton, Prime Minister Barak, and Pres. Arafat.
The Truth About Camp David
By Clayton Swisher
The collapse of both sets of Arab-Israeli negotiations in 2000 led not only to recrimination and bloodshed, with the outbreak of the second intifada, but to the creation of a new myth. Syrian and Palestinian intransigence was blamed for the current disastrous state of affairs, as both parties rejected a “generous” peace offering from the Israelis that would have brought peace to the region. The Truth About Camp David shatters that myth. Based on the riveting, eyewitness accounts of more than forty direct participants involved in the latest rounds of Arab-Israeli negotiations, including the Camp David 2000 summit, former federal investigator-turned-investigative journalist Clayton E. Swisher provides a compelling counter-narrative to the commonly accepted history. The Truth About Camp David details the tragic inner workings of the Clinton Administration’s negotiating mayhem, their eleventh hour blunders and miscalculations, and their concluding decision to end the Oslo process with blame and disengagement. It is not only a fascinating historical look at Middle East politics on the brink of disaster, but a revelatory portrait of how all-too-human American political considerations helped facilitate the present crisis.
A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel
By Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh
A dramatic, detailed account of the events leading up to the creation of a Jewish homeland and the true story behind President Harry S. Truman’s controversial decision to recognize of the State of Israel in 1948, drawn from Truman’s long-lost diary entries and other previously unused archival materials.
“[This] revelatory account of Truman’s vital contributions to Israel’s founding. . .is told. . . with an elegance informed by thorough research.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Even knowing how the story ends, A Safe Haven had me sitting on the edge of my seat.”
Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance
By Warren Bass
At the Cold War’s height, John F. Kennedy set precedents that continue to shape America’s encounter with the Middle East. Kennedy was the first president to make a major arms sale to Israel, the only president to push hard to deny Israel the atomic bomb, and the last president to reach out to the greatest champion of Arab nationalism, Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser. Now Warren Bass takes readers inside the corridors of power to show how Kennedy’s New Frontiersmen grappled with the Middle East. He explains why the fiery Nasser spurned Washington’s overtures and stumbled into a Middle Eastern Vietnam. He shows how Israel persuaded the Kennedy administration to start arming the Jewish state. And he grippingly describes JFK’s showdown with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion over Israel’s secret nuclear reactor. From the Oval Office to secret diplomatic missions to Cairo and Tel Aviv, Bass offers stunning new insights into the pivotal presidency that helped create the U.S.-Israel alliance and the modern Middle East.
A Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S.
By Trita Parsi
In this era of superheated rhetoric and vitriolic exchanges between the leaders of Iran and Israel, the threat of nuclear violence looms. But the real roots of the enmity between the two nations mystify Washington policymakers, and no promising pathways to peace have emerged. This book traces the shifting relations among Israel, Iran, and the United States from 1948 to the present, uncovering for the first time the details of secret alliances, treacherous acts, and unsavory political maneuverings that have undermined Middle Eastern stability and disrupted U.S. foreign policy initiatives in the region.
Trita Parsi, a U.S. foreign policy expert with more than a decade of experience, is the only writer who has had access to senior American, Iranian, and Israeli decision makers. He dissects the complicated triangular relations of their countries, arguing that America’s hope for stability in Iraq and for peace in Israel is futile without a correct understanding of the Israeli-Iranian rivalry. Parsi’s behind-the-scenes revelations about Middle East events will surprise even the most knowledgeable readers: Iran’s prime minister asks Israel to assassinate Khomeini, Israel reaches out to Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War, the United States foils Iran’s plan to withdraw support from Hamas and Hezbollah, and more. This book not only revises our understanding of the Middle East’s recent past, it also spells out a course for the future. In today’s belligerent world, few topics, if any, could be more important.
The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine
By Miko Peled
A powerful account, by Israeli peace activist Miko Peled, of his transformation from a young man who’d grown up in the heart of Israel’s elite and served proudly in its military into a fearless advocate of nonviolent struggle and equal rights for all Palestinians and Israelis. His journey is mirrored in many ways the transformation his father, a much-decorated Israeli general, had undergone three decades earlier. Alice Walker contributed a foreword to the first edition in which she wrote, “There are few books on the Israel/Palestine issue that seem as hopeful to me as this one.” In the new Epilogue he takes readers to South Africa, East Asia, several European countries, and the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel itself.
Once upon a Country
By Sari Nusseibeh
A teacher, a scholar, a philosopher, and an eyewitness to history, Sari Nusseibeh is one of our most urgent and articulate authorities on the conflict in the Middle East. From his time teaching side by side with Israelis at the Hebrew University through his appointment by Yasir Arafat to administer the Arab Jerusalem, he has held fast to the principles of freedom and equality for all, and his story dramatizes the consequences of war, partition, and terrorism as few other books have done. This autobiography brings rare depth and compassion to the story of his country.
Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Meshal and the Rise of Hamas
By Paul McGeough
“Providing a fly-on-the-wall vantage of the rising diplomatic panic that sent shudders through world capitals” (Toronto Star), Kill Khalid unfolds as a masterpiece of investigative journalism. In 1997, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad poisoned Hamas leader Khalid Mishal in broad daylight on the streets of Amman, Jordan. As the little-known Palestinian leader slipped into a coma, the Mossad agents’ escape was bungled and the episode quickly spiraled into a diplomatic crisis. A series of high-stakes negotiations followed, which ultimately saved Mishal and set the stage for his phenomenal political ascendancy. In Kill Khalid, acclaimed reporter Paul McGeough reconstructs the history of Hamas through exclusive interviews with key players across the Middle East and in Washington, including unprecedented access to Mishal himself, who remains to this day one of the most powerful and enigmatic figures in the region. A “sobering reminder of how little has been achieved during sixty years of Israeli efforts in Palestine” (Kirkus), Kill Khalid tracks Hamas’s political fortunes across a decade of suicide bombings, political infighting, and increasing public support, culminating in the battle for Gaza in 2007 and the current-day political stalemate.
Lords of the Land
By Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar
Perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough history of the Israeli settlement movement, this book was originally published in Hebrew. The 1967 Arab-Israeli War was a devastating triumph for Israel, which immediately began to establish settlements in the newly conquered territories. Those settlements, and the movement that made them possible, have utterly transformed Israel, and yet until now the full history of the occupation has never been told. Lords of the Land tells that tragic story, and reveals what a catastrophe it has been for both Israel and the Palestinians.
State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel
By Thomas Suárez (2017)
How did terrorism originate in Palestine and what was its outcome, both historically and today? Suárez’s principal thesis is that Zionist terrorism “ultimately dictated the course of events during the [British] Mandate, and it is Israeli state terrorism that continues to dictate events today.”
Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits In a Promised Land
By David K. Shipler (2015)
The expanded and updated edition of David Shipler’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book that examines the relationship, past and present, between Arabs and Jews. In this monumental work, extensively researched and more relevant than ever, David Shipler delves into the origins of the prejudices that exist between Jews and Arabs that have been intensified by war, terrorism, and nationalism.
Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis Over Israel and Palestine
By Colin Chapman (2015)
A new and fully updated edition includes the history of the area since 9/11, the impact of the Gulf wars, the building of the security wall, and the increased importance of Hamas.
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has profoundly affected the Middle East for almost 70 years, and shows no sign of ending. It remains a huge political and humanitarian problem. Writing from the perspective of someone who has lived and worked in the Middle East at various times since 1968, the author explains the roots of the problem and outlines the arguments of the main parties involved. He also explores legitimate and illegitimate ways of using the Bible in relation to the conflict.
Whose Holy City? Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
By Colin Chapman (2005)
Jews, Arabs, and Muslims alike have fought over Jerusalem, the city of peace, for centuries with no foreseeable solution. In Whose Holy City?, Middle East expert Colin Chapman covers the history and background of “the most famous city in the world” and traces its days from Old Testament times to the contemporary scene. Many regard Jerusalem as the key to peace in the Middle East. Still, Chapman believes that the Middle East question is not one that will be easily resolved. Bringing biblical insight and expert analysis to the search for peace, he reflects on Jerusalem’s place in Scripture and history, assesses the present-day conflict, and all the while looks at possibilities for peace and resolution.
Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
By Norman Finkelstein (2003)
This acclaimed study surveys the dominant popular and scholarly images of the Israel–Palestine conflict. Finkelstein opens with a theoretical discussion of Zionism, locating it as a romantic form of nationalism that assumed the bankruptcy of liberal democracy. He goes on to look at the demographic origins of the Palestinians, with particular reference to the work of Joan Peters, and develops critiques of the influential studies of both Benny Morris and Anita Shapira. Reviewing the diplomatic history with Aban Eban‘s oeuvre as his foil, Finkelstein closes by demonstrating that the casting of Israel as the innocent victim of Arab aggression in the June 1967 and October 1973 wars is not supported by the documentary record.
The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
By Robert Fisk (2007)
A sweeping and dramatic history of the last half century of conflict in the Middle East from an award-winning journalist who has covered the region for over forty years, The Great War for Civilisation unflinchingly chronicles the tragedy of the region from the Algerian Civil War to the Iranian Revolution; from the American hostage crisis in Beirut to the Iran-Iraq War; from the 1991 Gulf War to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. A book of searing drama as well as lucid, incisive analysis, The Great War for Civilisation is a work of major importance for today’s world.
Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation
By Saree Makdisi
Makdisi combines UN resolutions and reports with statistics, history and maps; Palestinian rights and multiple Palestinian and Israeli narratives; and individual stories and experiences to give a thorough and highly readable picture of the occupation. Makdisi offers clear analysis and fluid style to make this a must-read for people at different levels of familiarity with the facts on the ground.
By Neve Gordon
This is a more academic look at the occupation, and is written by an Israeli, the Senior Lecturer and head of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Gordon considers modalities of control (temporariness, arbitrariness, invisibility, “restraint,” and continuity) in analyzing decades of occupation of Palestinian lands and people through Foucaultian lenses. He draws on the simply complex matrices of biopower, sovereign power, and disciplinary power to trace the changes (and consistency) in Israeli policies of occupation, a defining moment of which was the creation of the Palestinian Authority as part of Oslo, by which Israel could cede Authority but retain authority of the occupation.
The Much Too Promised Land
By Aaron David Miller
Miller recounts diplomatic history from the 1970’s through the present, by someone on the inside of American administrations. Focusing on Kissinger, Carter, and James Baker, as well as Clinton, Miller offers some honest and helpful assessment of the US’s role in seeking peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Not overly partisan, Miller attempts to identify key issues and assess what the US has done right and wrong.
Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment
By Mazin B. Qumsiyeh (2011)
The Western media paint Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation as exclusively violent: armed resistance, suicide bombings, and rocket attacks. In reality these methods are the exception to what is a peaceful and creative resistance movement. In this fascinating book, Qumsiyeh synthesizes data from hundreds of original sources to provide the most comprehensive study of civil resistance in Palestine. The book contains hundreds of stories of the heroic and highly innovative methods of resistance employed by the Palestinians over more than 100 years. The author also analyses the successes, failures, missed opportunities and challenges facing ordinary Palestinians as they struggle for freedom against incredible odds. This is the only book to critically and comparatively study the uprisings of 1920-21, 1929, 1936-9, 1970s, 1987-1991 and 2000-2006. The compelling human stories told in this book will inspire people of all faiths and political backgrounds to chart a better and more informed direction for a future of peace with justice.
Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History
By Nur Masalha
This rich and magisterial work traces Palestine’s millennia-old heritage, uncovering cultures and societies of astounding depth and complexity that stretch back to the very beginnings of recorded history.
Starting with the earliest references in Egyptian and Assyrian texts, Nur Masalha explores how Palestine and its Palestinian identity have evolved over thousands of years, from the Bronze Age to the present day. Drawing on a rich body of sources and the latest archaeological evidence, Masalha shows how Palestine’s multicultural past has been distorted and mythologised by Biblical lore and the Israel–Palestinian conflict.
In the process, Masalha reveals that the concept of Palestine, contrary to accepted belief, is not a modern invention or one constructed in opposition to Israel, but rooted firmly in ancient past. Palestine represents the authoritative account of the country’s history.
“A sharp, powerfully understated denunciation of Israel’s founding mythology. Masalha’s narratives provide ballast and backstory to the contemporary claims of the dispossessed.”
“The most comprehensive English language history of Palestine to date. This book is a painstakingly researched and well-documented deconstruction of the myths too many Zionists and their western apologists have convinced the world to be factual history.”
“Masalha has now admirably unearthed this forgotten Palestine. He settles securely and authoritatively into a narrative that commands respect and is not impaired by the passion behind it … Masalha’s confidence that all will not be extinguished offers hope in the face of a still-uncertain future. He has written his history to encourage the survivors and to enlighten those who sympathise with them. He strives to keep alight the flame of Palestinian culture that, despite every attempt to snuff it out, still burns brightly in the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish and in the world he never left behind.”
―New York Times Review of Books
“An amazing book, long overdue. A tour de force which demystifies the distortions and fabrications around Palestine and the people living in it.”
―Ilan Pappé, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
“It is the first true history of Palestine, and should be read by anyone with an interest in the Middle East.”
―Karl Sabbagh, author of Palestine: A Personal History
“A masterpiece of history writing. It serves to set the record straight, methodically and rigorously debunking the myth that Palestine is a new concept.”
―Mazin Qumsiyeh, Founder and Director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History
“This erudite, comprehensive study of Palestine explodes many myths. Essential reading for a proper understanding of the efforts to deny the deep historical rootedness of this name, and of its indigenous people.”
―Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University
Palestine Hijacked: How Zionism Forged an Apartheid State from River to Sea
By Thomas Suarez
How terror was used by Zionist militias to transform Palestine into an apartheid settler state.
The Israel-Palestine “conflict” is typically understood to be a clash between two ethnic groups—Arabs and Jews—inhabiting the same land. Thomas Suárez digs deep below these preconceptions and their supporting “narratives” to expose something starkly different: The violent take-over of Palestine by a European racial-nationalist settler movement, Zionism, using terror to assert by force a claim to the land that has no legal or moral basis.
Drawing extensively from original source documents, many revealed here for the first time, Suárez interweaves secret intelligence reports, newly-declassified military and diplomatic correspondence, and the terrorists’ own records boasting of their successes. His shocking account details a litany of Zionist terrorism against anyone in their way—the indigenous Palestinians, the British who had helped establish Zionism, and Jews who opposed the Zionist agenda.
Far from being isolated atrocities by rogue groups, the use of terror was deliberate and sustained, carried out or supported by the same leaders who then established and led the Israeli state. We are still living this history: The book proves that Israel’s regime of Apartheid against the Palestinians and the continued expropriation of their country are not the result of complex historical circumstances, but the intended, singular goal of Zionism since its beginning.
“A tour de force … Suárez’ diligent archival research that looks boldly at the impact of Zionism on Palestine and its people in the first part of the 20th century … is the first comprehensive and structured analysis of the violence and terror employed by the Zionist movement, and later the state of Israel, against the people of Palestine. Much of the suffering we witness today can be explained by, and connected to, this formative period ….”
—Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and author
“[B]elongs in the top 5 most invaluable books on the history of modern Palestine … [it] is Palestine’s Yad Vashem.”
—Dr. Vacy Vlazna, Countercurrents
“Should be added to the essential sources for researchers on this issue, as well as required reading for university courses on the Palestine/Israel Conflict.”
—Elaine Hagopian, Arab Studies Quarterly
“It proves beyond doubt that Israel is not the perpetual victim of Arab violence that it claims to be, but has been the aggressor throughout the history of the conflict.”
—Dr. David Gerald Fincham, Mondoweiss
The Politics of Persecution
By Mitri Raheb
Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has been a recurring theme since the middle of the nineteenth century. The topic has experienced a resurgence in the last few years, especially during the Trump era. Middle Eastern Christians are often portrayed as a homogeneous, helpless group ever at the mercy of their Muslim enemies, a situation that only Western powers can remedy. The Politics of Persecution revisits this narrative with a critical eye.
Mitri Raheb charts the plight of Christians in the Middle East from the invasion of NapoleonBonaparte in 1799 to the so-called Arab Spring. The book analyzes the diverse socioeconomic and political factors that led to the diminishing role and numbers of Christians in Palestine,Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan during the eras of Ottoman, French, and British Empires, through the eras of independence, Pan-Arabism, and Pan-Islamism, and into the current era of American empire. With an incisive exposé of the politics that lie behind alleged concerns for these persecuted Christians―and how the concept of persecution has been a tool of public diplomacy and international politics―Raheb reveals that Middle Eastern Christians have been repeatedly sacrificed on the altar of Western national interests. The West has been part of the problem for Middle Eastern Christianity and not part of the solution, from the massacre on Mount Lebanon to the rise of ISIS.
The Politics of Persecution, written by a well-known Palestinian Christian theologian, provides an insider perspective on this contested region. Middle Eastern Christians survived successive empires by developing great elasticity in adjusting to changing contexts; they learned how to survive atrocities and how to resist creatively while maintaining a dynamic identity. In this light, Raheb casts the history of Middle Eastern Christians not so much as one of persecution but as one of resilience.
Gaza: Preparing for Dawn
by Donald Macintyre
Uniquely imprisoned, most Palestinians in Gaza cannot travel beyond the confines of the Strip, and in times of war escape is impossible. They live under siege – economic and armed – and yet so many remain courageous, outspoken and steadfast.
Donald Macintyre lays bare Gaza’s human tragedy and reveals how it became a crucible of conflict and a byword for suffering. He identifies the repeated failings – including those of the international community – that have seen countless opportunities for peace pass by. Yet, against all odds, hope for a better future lingers.
Gaza was once a flourishing coastal civilization open to the world. Could it be so again?
‘As head of the Independent’s Jerusalem bureau, Donald Macintyre followed Gaza at a critical time, as he recounts in his highly impressive book Gaza: Preparing for Dawn. His first-hand account of the tragedy is even-handed, balanced and devastating.’
― Ari Shavit, Times Literary Supplement
‘Donald Macintyre has managed to skillfully write a comprehensive account of the Strip that is faithful to history, humane in its consideration of people, and accurate with respect to events. The lucid style of this commendable journalist makes history and events comprehensible and easy to follow.’
― This Week in Palestine
‘A brilliant and incisive account of this tiny, vibrant, but embattled enclave. With the two million people of Gaza struggling to survive food shortages, electricity cuts, and increasing amounts of sewage in her surrounding seas, this is a must-read.’
— Jon Snow
‘Donald Macintyre’s Gaza is a deeply informed and elegant portrait of this small but profoundly important and misunderstood part of the world. Not only are Gaza’s history and politics made compellingly accessible, so too are her sight, sound and smell. In this way Macintyre challenges any notion of Gaza’s irrelevance and perhaps more importantly does what few authors writing on Gaza have done: elevates the ordinary in a manner that will endure, helping the reader understand that no matter who we are and where we are from, in Gaza we can recognise ourselves. This book speaks to something greater than Gaza’s pain; it speaks to Gaza’s soul.’
—Sara Roy, Senior Research Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
‘Donald Macintyre has written a remarkable political panorama about Gaza today. In cool prose he exposes the history of the conflict and the discussion that has surrounded it. Anyone interested in understanding the situation between Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israel should look at the conclusion of this book. Anyone who wants to feel a little bit how people live in this narrow strip of land on the Mediterranean coast must read the whole work.’
—Shlomo Sand, Emeritus Professor of History, Tel Aviv University, and author of The Invention of the Jewish People
Bethlehem: Biography of a Town
by Nicholas Blincoe
Bethlehem is so suffused with history and myth that it feels like an unreal city even to those who call it home. For many, Bethlehem remains the little town at the edge of the desert described in Biblical accounts. Today, the city is hemmed in by a wall and surrounded by forty-one Israeli settlements and hostile settlers and soldiers.
Nicholas Blincoe tells the town’s history through the visceral experience of living there, taking readers through its stone streets and desert wadis, its monasteries, aqueducts, and orchards to show the city from every angle and era. His portrait of Bethlehem sheds light on one of the world’s most intractable political problems, and he maintains that if the long thread winding back to the city’s ancient past is severed, the chances of an end to the Palestine-Israel conflict will be lost with it.
“[Bethlehem] brings within reach 11,000 years of history, centering on the beloved town’s unique place in the world. Blincoe’s love of Bethlehem is compelling, even as he does not shy away from the complexities of its chronicle.”
—President Jimmy Carter
“This sensitive and human history of Bethlehem from ancient time to our day is the most original and powerful guide you will ever read about this important city. The book succeeds in fusing together the history of more than a millennium with personal recollections, archaeological and morphological insights, as well [as] wonderfully written descriptions of human and geographical landscapes. Relics and stories of the past are used as entry points for uncovering the various chapters in this holy city’s history through personal anecdotes and the most recent scholarship, with constant attention to human suffering and hopes.”
“Blincoe’s thoroughness is nothing short of impressive… [Bethlehem]offers a biography so vividly imagined that I jumped when my phone buzzed, interrupting my reverie of Nabatean temples… The reward is in the lush prose and personal accounts. Blincoe is a joyful writer, well suited to the task of evoking place with passages…transporting the reader with mouthwatering specificity. …More than anything, his love for the place leaps off the page; for all its chronicling of incursions and defeat, this is ultimately a book about hope.”
―New York Times Book Review
“That [Blincoe] manages to cover so much with an engaging, even jocular, tone is a credit to [his] writing skill… For readers who want to dig deep into the founding of this little town of legend, [Bethlehem} makes for happy reading.”
―National Catholic Reporter
Freedom Sailors: The Maiden Voyage of the Free Gaza movement and how we succeeded in spite of ourselves
By Greta Berlin (Author, Editor), William L. Dienst MD (Editor)
Freedom Sailors is a much-needed account of how a small group of ordinary people conceived and executed what seemed like a grandiose and audacious plan to break Israel’s illegal military blockade of the Gaza Strip, a blockade that keeps more than 1.5 million people in an open-air prison. Knowing what we know now – that Israel Defense Forces would later murder nine people, including an unarmed American citizen, Furkan Dogan, executed at point-blank range during a later Freedom Flotilla – our chutzpah is astonishing.
In a little over two years, we raised the money to purchase two dilapidated fishing boats stored in secret ports in Greece, collected 44 passengers, crew and journalists, aged 22 to 81 and chose Cyprus as our embarkation point.
People who weren’t there or weren’t close to us may not realize just how isolated we were once we finally set sail to Gaza on the late morning of August 22, 2008; over 33 hours on the sea, no internet, and only a couple of satellite phones which were blocked by the Israelis after night set in.
That first voyage in 2008 achieved exactly what we hoped it would. We opened the door just a bit, proving it could be done. None of the later actions, by land or by sea, would have been possible or even attempted if we hadn’t climbed into two ramshackle boats with nothing but our determination and our naiveté holding us together.
Our story of how we came together, raised the necessary money, and pulled off the successful voyage, despite the prying eyes of Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, is often riveting. More to the point, it helps us understand the importance of taking a stand when you see an injustice rather than becoming complicit through silence.
“A riveting account of one of the great moments in the history of non-violent resistance: breaking the criminal and sadistic siege of Gaza, and letting the prisoners know that at least some in the outside world care about them and their grim fate. The Free Gaza flotillas are truly an inspiration.”
—Noam Chomsky, Professor, MIT
The Invention of the Jewish People
by Shlomo Sand
A historical tour de force, The Invention of the Jewish People offers a groundbreaking account of Jewish and Israeli history. Exploding the myth that there was a forced Jewish exile in the first century at the hands of the Romans, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand argues that most modern Jews descend from converts, whose native lands were scattered across the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
In this iconoclastic work, which spent nineteen weeks on the Israeli bestseller list and won the coveted Aujourd’hui Award in France, Sand provides the intellectual foundations for a new vision of Israel’s future.
Shlomo Sand studied history at the University of Tel Aviv and at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in Paris. He currently teaches contemporary history at the University of Tel Aviv. His books include The Invention of the Jewish People, On the Nation and the Jewish People, L’Illusion du politique: Georges Sorel et le débat intellectuel 1900, Georges Sorel en son temps, Le XXe siècle à l’écran and Les Mots et la terre: les intellectuels en Israël.
“Sand’s questions about how Israel’s democracy can be liberalized and stabilized are thought-provoking and deserve serious discussion.”
“A radical dismantling of a national myth.”
“[Sand’s] quiet earthquake of a book is shaking historical faith in the link between Judaism and Israel.”
—Rafael Behr, Observer
“No discussion of the region any longer seems complete without acknowledgement of this book.”
—Independent on Sunday, Best History Books of 2009
A Land With a People: Palestinians and Jews Confront Zionism
Esther Farmer, Rosalind Pollack Petchesky, and Sarah Sills (Editors)
A Land With a People is a book of stories, photographs and poetry which elevates rarely heard Palestinian and Jewish voices and visions. Eloquently framed with a foreword by the dynamic Palestinian legal scholar and activist, Noura Erakat, this book began as a storytelling project of Jewish Voice for Peace-New York City and subsequently transformed into a theater project performed throughout the New York City area.
Stories touch hearts, open minds, and transform our understanding of the “other”―as well as our comprehension of own roles and responsibilities― and A Land With a People emerges from this reckoning. It brings us the narratives of secular, Muslim, Christian, and queer Palestinians who endure the particular brand of settler colonialism known as Zionism. It relays the transformational journeys of Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, queer, and Palestinian Jews who have come to reject the received Zionist narrative. Unflinching in their confrontation of the power dynamics that underlie their transformation process, these writers find the courage to face what has happened to historic Palestine, and to their own families as a result. Contextualized by a detailed historical introduction and timeline charting 150 years of Palestinian and Jewish resistance to Zionism, this collection will stir emotions, provoke fresh thinking, and point to a more hopeful, loving future―one in which Palestine/Israel is seen for what it is in its entirety, as well as for what it can be.
“This book is an invaluable resource in the effort to challenge the dangerous conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, meant to silence criticism of Israel. A Land With a People also helps in understanding that the existential struggle against a racist, settler-colonial system, can, and must, be undertaken by Palestinians and Jews together.”
—Huwaida Arraf, human rights attorney and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement
The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story
By Ramzy Baroud
This is a history of modern Palestine like no other: built from the testimony of people who have lived through it. Ramzy Baroud here gathers accounts from countless Palestinians from all walks of life, and from throughout the decades, to tell the story of the nation and its struggle for independence and security. Challenging both academic and popular takes on Palestinian history, Baroud unearths here the deep commonalities within the story of Palestine, ones that draw the people together despite political divisions, geographical barriers and walls, factionalism, occupation, and exile. Through these firsthand reports—by turns inspiring and terrifying, triumphant and troubled—we see Palestine in all its complexity and contradictions, ever vibrant in the memories of the people who have fought, physically and otherwise, for its future. A remarkable book, The Last Earth will be essential to understanding the struggles in the contemporary Middle East.
“At times reminiscent of the storytelling of the iconic Gabriel García Márquez, Baroud mingles past, present, dreams, and fantasy to forge a document that demands respect and rejects pity. . . . Engrossing . . . A vital and inspiring document.”
“In the finest tradition of people’s history, these sensitive, painful and evocative pieces provide a human face to the painful saga of Palestinian torment and the remarkable courage and resilience of the victims.”
– Noam Chomsky
“This book is a powerful tool to revive and record the human history of al Nakba, the largest, longest, most comprehensive and still continuous ethnic cleansing in Palestine’s history. Al Nakba is not a traffic accident but a process subjecting its victims to a constant tragedy across many countries and many decades… a must read for all those who want to see the concealed human dimension of the Palestinian life and suffering.”
– Salman Abu Sitta, Author of Mapping my Return and the Atlas of Palestine
“Hundreds of Palestinian writers and bloggers around the world sent in their stories and the book was worked out over Skype interviews—all part of Baroud’s Herculean efforts to condense the narrative into complete, rich stories while staying true to each individual account. . . . The loss and forced relocation recorded by Baroud is overwhelming, but important to read and remember.”
― Arab News
Legacy of Empire: Britain, Zionism and the Creation of Israel
by Gardner Thompson
It is now more than seventy years since the creation of the state of Israel, yet its origins and the British Empire’s historic responsibility for Palestine remain little known. Confusion persists too as to the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. In Legacy of Empire, Gardner Thompson offers a clear-eyed review of political Zionism and Britain’s role in shaping the history of Palestine and Israel.
Thompson explores why the British government adopted Zionism in the early twentieth century, issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and then retaining it as the cornerstone of their rule in Palestine after the First World War. Despite evidence and warnings, over the next two decades Britain would facilitate the colonisation of Arab Palestine by Jewish immigrants, ultimately leading to a conflict which it could not contain. Britain’s response was to propose the partition of an ungovernable land: a ‘two-state solution’ which – though endorsed by the United Nations after the Second World War – has so far brought into being neither two states nor a solution.
A highly readable and compelling account of Britain’s rule in Palestine, Legacy of Empire is essential for those wishing to better understand the roots of this enduring conflict.
“Gardner Thompson throws a cool light on a very hot topic … This illuminating book is an essential primer on the historical roots of the Israel/Palestine
—Nicholas Rankin, author of Churchill’s Wizards: the British Genius for Deception
‘An illuminating account of both the emergence of Israel and of British policy during the three decades of the British Mandate in Palestine. It is a sobering and engrossing story of Britain’s betrayal of the Palestinians from the Balfour Declaration to the present day.’
—Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
‘An incisive and thorough analysis. Thompson methodically and convincingly describes how the British Empire allowed and assisted the colonisation of Palestine and in so doing planted the seeds for a conflict that still rages today.’
—Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
‘Thompson examines how the settler-colonial Zionist project in Palestine is intertwined with the designs of imperial Britain. That such an issue can still be disputed is testimony to the power of ideology: Legacy of Empire cuts through the noise to show what really happened.’
—Gilbert Achcar, author of The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives