Books: The Current Situation


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 Amazon.com; 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
History
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 info@palestineportal.org.

Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace
Produced by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Steadfast Hope presents a compelling snapshot of the current situation on the ground, highlighting the tragic human costs of war and occupation. The booklet also offers an inspiring view of cooperation among Muslim, Jewish, and Christian peacemakers working for justice and reconciliation. This 48-page, richly illustrated booklet includes a study guide for weekly lesson plans. See it at the website of IPMN
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There are accompanying video episodes for the study guide which are available for viewing and download on the IPMN Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/channels/steadfasthope


A Wall in Palestine, by René Backmann
The West Bank Barrier was declared illegal by the United Nations International Court of Justice. This network of concrete walls, trenches, and barbed-wire fences could permanently redraw one of the most disputed property lines in the Middle East–the Green Line that separates Israel and the West Bank. To Israel the “security fence” is intended to keep Palestinian terrorists from entering its territory. But to Palestinians the “apartheid wall” that sliced through orchards and houses, and cuts off family members from one another, is a land grab.

In this comprehensive book, Backmann not only addresses the barrier’s impact on ordinary citizens, but how it will shape the future of the Middle East. Though it promises security to an Israeli population weary of terrorism, it also is responsible for the widespread destruction of Palestinian homes and farmland; with its Byzantine checkpoint regulations, it has also severely crippled the Palestinian economy; and, most urgent, the barrier often deviates from the Green Line, appropriating thousands of acres of land, effectively redrawing the boundary between the West Bank and Israel. Backmann interviews Israeli policy makers, politicians, and military personnel, as well as Palestinians living throughout the West Bank, telling the stories not only of the barrier’s architects, but also of those who must reckon with it on a day-to-day basis on the ground. With bold, brilliant, and often impassioned reportage, A Wall in Palestine renders the West Bank Barrier–its purpose, its efficacy, its consequences–as no book before.


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.


The Battle for Justice in Palestine, by Ali Abunimah
Efforts to achieve a “two-state solution” have finally collapsed, and the struggle for justice in Palestine is at a crossroads. As Israeli society lurches toward greater extremism, many ask where the struggle is headed. This book offers a clear analysis of this crossroads moment and looks forward with urgency down the path to a more hopeful future. Abunimah cuts through mainstream discourse, making important observations on colonialism, analogies to race relations in the US and to conflict resolution in Northern Ireland. Unabashedly skeptical of the two-state solution, and Abunimah promotes a vision of peace with justice, concluding with thoughts on the imperative of self-determination.


Global Palestine, by John Collins
Global Palestine offers a unique perspective on one of the world’s most enduring political controversies by exploring a deceptively simple question: what does Palestine mean for the globe? The book begins from three overlapping premises. First, contemporary Palestine is the site of an ongoing project of settler colonisation. Second, as a growing movement of international solidarity indicates, Palestine’s global importance seems to be increasing in inverse proportion to the amount of territory actually controlled by Palestinians. Third, understanding why and how Palestine matters globally requires situating the “local” struggle over Palestine in relation to a series of global processes that shape the conditions within which all of us live our lives, including the four processes that underpin this book: colonization, securitization, acceleration, and occupation. Far from simply being influenced by these processes, Palestine has served as a laboratory for many of them, pushing them forward in profound ways, and Collins’ analysis reveals clues to a series of emerging global conditions. Approaching Palestine in this way enables us to take a fresh look at the world’s politics of violence, resistance, and solidarity from the perspective of what Walter Benjamin called “the tradition of the oppressed.”


Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, by Saree Makdisi
“A compelling account . . . and a reminder that a true peace can be built only on justice.”—Desmond M. Tutu
Tending one’s fields, visiting a relative, going to the hospital: for ordinary Palestinians, such activities require negotiating permits and passes, curfews and closures, “sterile roads” and “seam zones”—bureaucratic hurdles ultimately as deadly as outright military incursion. In Palestine Inside Out, Saree Makdisi draws on eye-opening statistics, academic histories, UN reports, and contemporary journalism to reveal how the “peace process” institutionalized Palestinians’ loss of control over their inner and outer lives—and argues powerfully and convincingly for a one-state solution.


Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation, by Eyel Weizman
From the tunnels of Gaza to the militarized airspace of the Occupied Territories, Eyal Weizman unravels Israel’s mechanisms of control and its transformation of Palestinian towns, villages and roads into an artifice where all natural and built features serve military ends. Weizman traces the development of this strategy, from the influence of archaeology on urban planning, Ariel Sharon’s reconceptualization of military defence during the 1973 war, through the planning and architecture of the settlements, to the contemporary Israeli discourse and practice of urban warfare and airborne targeted assassinations. Hollow Land lays bare the political system at the heart of this complex and terrifying project of late-modern colonial occupation.


Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, by Max Blumenthal
In Goliath, New York Times bestselling author Max Blumenthal takes us on a journey through the badlands and high roads of Israel-Palestine, painting a startling portrait of Israeli society under the siege of increasingly authoritarian politics as the occupation of the Palestinians deepens. Beginning with the national elections carried out during Israel’s war on Gaza in 2008-09, which brought into power the country’s most right-wing government to date, Blumenthal tells the story of Israel in the wake of the collapse of the Oslo peace process.
As Blumenthal reveals, Israel has become a country where right-wing leaders like Avigdor Lieberman and Bibi Netanyahu are sacrificing democracy on the altar of their power politics; where the loyal opposition largely and passively stands aside and watches the organized assault on civil liberties; where state-funded Orthodox rabbis publish books that provide instructions on how and when to kill Gentiles; where half of Jewish youth declare their refusal to sit in a classroom with an Arab; and where mob violence targets Palestinians and African asylum seekers scapegoated by leading government officials as “demographic threats.”
Immersing himself like few other journalists inside the world of hardline political leaders and movements, Blumenthal interviews the demagogues and divas in their homes, in the Knesset, and in the watering holes where their young acolytes hang out, and speaks with those political leaders behind the organized assault on civil liberties. Through his far-ranging travels, Blumenthal illuminates the present by uncovering the ghosts of the past—the histories of Palestinian neighborhoods and villages now gone and forgotten; how that history has set the stage for the current crisis of Israeli society; and how the Holocaust has been turned into justification for occupation. A brave and unflinching account of the real facts on the ground, Goliath is an unprecedented and compelling work of journalism.


Letters from Palestine: Palestinians Speak Out about Their Lives, Their Country, and the Power of NonViolence, by Kenneth Ring and Ghassan Abdullah (2010)
Many books have been written dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the pro-Israeli perspective. However, relatively few reflect the Palestinian point of view. Letters from Palestine is one of the rare books that offers an American audience the chance to listen to and learn about the lives of actual Palestinian people as they describe what it is like to live in the occupied territories of the West Bank or Gaza, or to grow up as a Palestinian in the U.S. Their accounts are lively, poignant, searing, tragic, yet often laced with touches of surrealistic humor. Most of all, they show Palestinians in all their humanity and will help American readers see beyond the usual stereotypes. The stories in this book are meant to introduce Americans to contemporary Palestinians who represent both the traditions of their culture and the bright promise of their future.


The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine since 2003, by Tanya Reihnhart. (2006)
The Road Map to Nowhere is a devastating and timely book, essential to understanding the current state of the Israel/Palestine crisis and the propaganda that infects its coverage. Based on analysis of information in the mainstream Israeli media, it argues that the current road map has brought no real progress and that, under cover of diplomatic successes, Israel is using the road map to strengthen its grip on the remaining occupied territories. Exploring the Gaza pullout of 2005, the West Bank wall and the collapse of Israeli democracy, Reinhart examines the gap between myth the Israeli leadership’s public affairs achievement that has led the West to believe that a road map is in fact being implementedand bitter reality. Not only has nothing fundamentally changed, she argues, but the Palestinians continue to lose more of their land and are pushed into smaller and smaller enclaves, surrounded by the new wall constructed by Sharon.


Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948. Tanya Reinhart (2004)
In Israel/Palestine, Reinhart traces the development of the Security Barrier and Israel’s new doctrine of “disengagement,” launched in response to a looming Palestinian-majority population. Examining the official record of recent diplomacy, including United States–brokered accords and talks at Camp David, Oslo, and Taba, Reinhart explores the fundamental power imbalances between the negotiating parties and identifies Israel’s strategy of creating facts on the ground to define and complicate the terms of any future settlement. In this indispensable primer, Reinhart’s searing insight illuminates the current conflict and suggests a path toward change.


Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle, by Mazin Qumsiyeh (2004)
There is no more compelling and dramatic unfolding story, with more profound international ramifications, than the conflict in the Middle East. Sharing the Land of Canaan is a critical examination of the core issues of the conflict that dares to put forward a radical but logical solution: that a shared state is the best way to achieve justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh offers an overview of the issues at stake, and outlines his vision for a lasting peace based on upholding the principles of human rights for all. Tackling taboo subjects, myths and obstacles, he argues convincingly that apartheid in the form of a two-state solution is no longer a feasible way to achieve enduring peace. At this critical time, when the ‘road map’ to peace looks more uncertain than ever, this book provides a refreshing counterpoint to the failed strategies of the past. It is a direct and accessible account of the history – and mythology – of the fabled ‘Land of Canaan’, which lays out hopeful ideas for the future of this truly multiethnic and multicultural region.


Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment, 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.


Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories, by Anna Baltzer
Anna Baltzer, a young Jewish American, visited the West Bank to discover for herself the realities of everyday life for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. What she found would change her outlook on the issue forever. For eight months over the following four years, Baltzer lived and worked with farmers, Palestinian and Israeli activists, and the families of political prisoners, traveling with them across checkpoints and roadblocks to reach hospitals, universities, and olive groves. Baltzer witnessed firsthand the devastation wrought by expanding settlements and the Wall. She also encountered countless Palestinian grievances beyond the occupation, of non-Jews living in a Jewish state and refugees yearning to return to their homes and land. Baltzer’s probing and honest examination of the occupation, Zionism, and the pervasive spirit of Palestinian resilience offer a fresh look at Palestine today. 2014 edition: Updated & revised with new photos, appendices, testimonials, and afterword. Full color, original photographs, maps, and stories — popular for classrooms, book groups, etc.


Obstacles to Peace: A Re-framing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, by Jeff Halper
Newly revised with updated materials, this book remains the best reference guide to the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It provides detailed maps and a sharp, grounded analysis of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and places that conflict within the context of Israel’s policies and practices that have created a “matrix of control” limiting the ability of the Palestinian people to survive on their land.


Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land under Siege, by Amira Hass (1999)
In 1993, Amira Hass, a young Israeli reporter, drove to Gaza to cover a story-and stayed, the first journalist to live in the grim Palestinian enclave so feared and despised by most Israelis that, in the local idiom, “Go to Gaza” is another way to say “Go to hell.” Now, in a work of calm power and painful clarity, Hass reflects on what she has seen in Gaza’s gutted streets and destitute refugee camps. Drinking the Sea at Gaza maps the zones of ordinary Palestinian life. From her friends, Hass learns the secrets of slipping across sealed borders and stealing through night streets emptied by curfews. She shares Gaza’s early euphoria over the peace process and its subsequent despair as hope gives way to unrelenting hardship. But even as Hass charts the griefs and humiliations of the Palestinians, she offers a remarkable portrait of a people not brutalized but eloquent, spiritually resilient, bleakly funny, and morally courageous. Full of testimonies and stories, facts and impressions, Drinking the Sea at Gaza makes an urgent claim on our humanity. Beautiful, haunting, and profound, it will stand with the great works of wartime reportage, from Michael Herr’s Dispatches to Rian Malan’s My Traitor’s Heart.