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Books about Palestine and Israel

Nonfiction

Abuelaish, Izzeldin. (2011). I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey. New York: Walker & Co.
The author is a Palestinian doctor. During the 2008-2009 Israeli bombardment of Gaza, his house was bombed and three of his daughters and a niece were killed. In this book, he describes life for Palestinians living in Gaza.

al-Ali, Naji. (2009). A Child in Palestine: The Cartoons of al-Ali. New York: Verso Books.
A collection of cartoons by the Palestinian political cartoonist who is revered throughout the Arab world and who created the iconic character, Hanthala, a destitute Palestinian child who usually stands with his back to the viewer, his hands crossed behind his back.

 

Ateek, Naim Stifan. (2017). A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
Ateek is a Palestinian Anglican priest who was one of the founders of the Palestinian ecumenical liberation theology organization, Sabeel. In this book, Ateek provides an overview of Palestinian liberation theology and its intersection with the struggle for Palestinian self-determination and freedom.

Baltzer, Anna. (2007). Witness in Palestine: Journal of a Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
Baltzer was a national organizer for the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. This book is in the form of a journal and describes what she found when she spent eight months in the West Bank.

 

Barghouti, Omar. (2011). BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.
The author is a Palestinian human rights activist and leader of the BDS movement. In this book, he provides a thorough rationale for a global BDS movement to stop Israel’s apartheid occupation and colonization of the Occupied Territories.

Bennis, Phyllis. (2012). Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press.
 Bennis is a longtime analyst of the Middle East. In this book, which is written in a Question and Answer format, she provides succinct, yet comprehensive, answers to a multitude of commonly voiced questions (e.g., What are the Occupied Territories?).

 

Blumenthal, Max. (2013). Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. New York: Nation Books.
The author is a journalist and blogger and, in this book, he provides a powerful
account of how Israel has, since before its inception, persecuted Palestinians. He also describes Israeli society as it has become increasingly more authoritarian.

Braverman, Mark. (2013). A Wall in Jerusalem: Hope, Healing, and the Struggle for Justice in Israel and Palestine. New York: Jericho.
A Jewish American activist with deep roots in the Holy Land, the author was transformed when he saw the occupation of Palestine and met with activists of all three major faiths in the region. In this book, he explores the roots of the conflict and offers a course of action.

Chabon, Michael, & Waldman, Ayelet. (Eds.) (2017). Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation. New York: HarperCollins.
This is a book of essays written by writers from around the world who have visited Palestine (e.g., Geraldine Brooks, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jacqueline Woodson). Three of the essayists are Palestinian (Ala Hlehel, Fida Jiryis, Raja Shehadeh).

Chacour, Elias, with Hazard, David. (2013). Blood Brothers: The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
The author, a Palestinian-Arab-Christian-Israeli who was the archbishop of the Melkite Church in Israel from 2006 to 2014, describes his childhood in a Palestinian village, the persecution that Palestinians have experienced at the hands of Israeli armed forces, and his efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Chomsky, Noam, & Pappé, Ilan. (2013). Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.
The authors explore the fallout from Israel's conduct in the three-week bombardment of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, called Operation Cast Lead; they place it into the context of Israel's longstanding occupation of Palestine.

Cook, Jonathan. (2006). Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State. Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press.
The author is a journalist who lives in Nazareth. In this book, he
explores Israel’s treatment of Palestinians during the second intifada and explains the territorial separation policy that led Israel to move out of Gaza and build the apartheid wall in the West Bank.

El-Haddad, Laila, & Schmitt, Maggie. (2012). The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey. Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books.
Each of the 120 kitchen-tested recipes comes from Gaza. The book also includes conversations with cooks, farmers, and economists, which provide insights into everyday life in the embattled Gaza Strip.

Finkelstein, Norman G. (2003). The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. (3rd ed.). New York: Verso Books.
First published in 2000, this book argues that American Jewish elites exploit the memory of the Holocaust for financial and political gain and as a means to support Israel. Finkelstein, who is Jewish, contends that it has corrupted an authentic memory of the Holocaust.

 

Gilbert, Mads, & Fosse, Erik. (2013). Eyes in Gaza. London: Quartet Books.
The authors are Norwegian doctors who were in Gaza during the 22-day Israeli war on Gaza from Dec. 27, 2008 to Jan. 12, 2009. This book is a day-by-day account of what the two doctors experienced as they treated Palestinians and listened to their stories.

 

Halper, Jeff. (2008). An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel. London; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press
The author, an Israeli anthropologist and activist, provides a critique of the oppressive Israeli occupation of Palestine and argues for a
confederation or Middle East Union, similar to the European Union, in which Jews and Palestinians have equal rights.

Halper, Jeff. (2018). Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. (4th edition). Jerusalem: Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).
This publication is a resource manual of articles and maps on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Find it here.

 

Hass, Amira. (1999). Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege. New York: Metropolitan Books.
The author is a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In 1993, she went to live in Gaza and, in this book, she gives voice to the many ordinary Gazans she got to know. The book is still very relevant.

 

Kashua, Sayed. (2016). Native: Dispatches from an Israeli-Palestinian Life. New York: Grove Press.
This is a collection of columns written by the Palestinian-Israeli author and published in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. Over time, his columns became much more direct about the impact on Palestinians of living in an apartheid state, Israel.

Kaufman-Lacusta, Maxine. (2010). Refusing to Be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation. Reading, England: Ithaca Press.
The author is a Quaker Jew who lived in Jerusalem for seven years. This book is the result of the many interviews she did with advocates for and practitioners of nonviolent resistance; most of the interviews were with Palestinians and Israelis.

Khalidi, Rashid. (2013). Brokers of Deceit: How the US Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
This book examines how the United States has colluded with Israel to prevent a just peace. It focuses on three events: The “Reagan Plan” of 1982; the Madrid Peace Conference (1991–1993); and President Obama’s retreat from stopping the building of settlements.

Khalidi, Rashid. (2006). The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
The author is an expert on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this book, he explores Palestinian attempts to achieve independence and statehood, with a concentration on the British Mandate (1920–1948) to the present.

Khalidi, Walid. (1984, 1991). Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians 1876-1948. Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies.
A chronological collection of captioned photographs and historical documents about Palestine and Palestinians from the late Ottoman period to the Nakba (the Catastrophe) in 1948, when Israel was created.

Kharm, Ghada. (2002). In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story. New York: Verso Books.
The author is a medical doctor, journalist, and activist. This autobiography focuses on growing up in the 1930s and 1940s
in a mixed Muslim-Christian Jerusalem neighborhood.

Lim, Audrea (Ed.). (2012). The Case for Sanctions Against Israel. London; Brooklyn, NY: Verso Books.
People who are active in the movement to bring a just peace to Palestine/Israel wrote the essays in this book. Authors include Omar Barghouti, Ilan Pappé, and Naomi Klein.

 

Maira, Sunaina. (2018). Boycott!: The Academy and Justice for Palestine. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
This book explores the academic boycott of Israel, called for in 2014 by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). This campaign preceded by one year the Palestinian civil society call for an international boycott of Israel, known as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

 

Makdisi, Saree. (2008). Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation. New York: W. W. Norton.
The author is an American of Palestinian and Lebanese descent who teaches at UCLA. In this book, he provides a compelling window into what life is like for Palestinians living under occupation, and also analyzes Israeli policies and “peace process” events.

 

Mearsheimer, John J. & Walt, Stephen M. (2007). The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The authors, professors at the University of Chicago and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, respectively, examine the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy. They describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argue that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds.

Pappé, Ilan. (2006). The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications.
In this book, the author, an Israeli historian who now lives in England, uses archival evidence to show how, between 1947 and 1948, Israel destroyed
hundreds of Palestinian villages, massacred civilians, and forcibly expelled about 1 million Palestinians at gunpoint.

Pappé, Ilan. (2011). The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of the Palestinians in Israel. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Pappé examines how Palestinians living within the borders of Israel (not in Gaza or the West Bank) have fared under Israeli rule and what their lives tell us about Israel's attitude toward minorities and Palestinians' attitudes toward the Jewish state.

Pappé, Ilan. (2006). A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples. (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.
This history of modern Palestine traces events from the 19th century through the early 21st century. Pappé explains why well-publicized events failed (e.g., the Olso Accords).

 

Pappé, Ilan. (2014). The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge. London; New York: Verso Books.
Israel has always drawn on Zionism to justify its actions, and this book shows how Zionism continues to influence all facets of life in Israel, including its education system, media, and the arts, as well as its impact on Palestinians.

Peled, Miko. (2012). The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books.
The author is from a prominent Israeli military family. Over time, he became an activist for a just peace in Israel and Palestine. Peled explores the long-standing conflict in the area, as well as his own transformation. With an introduction by Alice Walker.

Peled-Elhanan, Nurit. (2012). Palestine in Israel School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. London: I.B. Tauris.
An Israeli
language and education professor, the author explores how Israel’s textbooks prepare high school graduates for compulsory military service; she argues that this is accomplished through pro-Israel ideology, as seen in the images and language used.

 

PENGON (The Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network) (Ed.). (2003). The Wall in Palestine: Facts, Testimonies, Analysis and Call to Action. Jerusalem: PENGON.
A detailed and visually vivid and informative account of the impact of the apartheid wall on Palestinians. Although published several years ago, the book is still very relevant.

Qumsiyeh, Mazin B. (2011). Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment. London; New York: Pluto Press.
In contrast with Western media’s portrayal of Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation as exclusively violent (e.g., rocket attacks), Qumsiyeh’s book explores the peaceful and creative resistance movement that dominates in Palestine.

Qumsiyeh, Mazin B. (2004). Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle. London; New York: Pluto Press; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Qumsiyeh questions why Jews from around the world have the right to live in Israel, but Palestinian exiles have no right of return. He argues that all who live on this land should share the land and live in a single democratic, secular state.

Riordan, Michael (Ed.). (2011). Our Way to Fight: Israeli and Palestinian Activists for Peace. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press; Lawrence Hill Books.
We don’t often hear about Palestinian non-violent activism in our media, and this book offers insights into the Israel-Palestine conflict through the eyes, words, and experiences of courageous Palestinian and Israeli peace activists.

Sacco, Joe. (2009). Footnotes in Gaza. New York: Metropolitan Books.
Sacco is a cartoonist and this graphic nonfiction book focuses on the 1956 slaughter by Israeli forces of hundreds of Palestinians in two towns in Gaza, Khan Younis and Rafah.

Sacco, Joe. (2010). Palestine: A Nation Occupied. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphic Books.
A graphic nonfiction book about the experiences of the author-cartoonist in the West Bank and Gaza in December 1991 and January 1992.

Sperlinger, Tom. (2015). Romeo and Juliet in Palestine: Teaching Under Occupation. Winchester, UK; Washington, DC: Zero Books.
Sperlinger spent five months in 2013 teaching English literature at Al-Quds University in the Occupied West Bank. He shares the lives, words, and writing of his Palestinian students and colleagues, as well as his growing understanding of life under the Israeli occupation.

Suarez, Thomas (2016). State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel. Northampton, Massachusetts: Olive Branch Press.
The author shows how supporters of a Jewish state in Palestine used terror to achieve their aims (e.g., during the British Mandate in Palestine). Suarez draws on terrorists' own accounts, in which they boasted of their successes, as well as intelligence briefings and secret diplomatic correspondence.

Wagner, Donald E., & Davis, Walter T. (Eds.). (2014). Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.
This book explores several themes, including the role that Zionism and Christian Zionism have played in shaping attitudes toward Israel and Palestine and how Christians, Jews, and Muslims understand the competing claims to the land of Palestine and Israel.

Weir, Alison. (2014). Against our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.
This book shows how, after World War II, President Truman supported the creation of a Jewish state in a region that was peopled by mostly Arab Muslims and Christians. Many high-ranking diplomats and military officials opposed this decision.

Fiction

 

Abulhawah, Susan. (2010). Mornings in Jenin. New York: Bloomsbury.
In this novel, the author tells the story of four generations of the Palestinian Abulheja family, from the formation of Israel in 1948 and their forcible removal from their village, Ein Hod, to the Jenin refugee camp, to the present day.

 

Yizhar, S. (2008; originally published in Hebrew in 1949). Khirbet Khizeh. London: Granta.
A short, powerful novel about the expulsion of a fictional Palestinian village in 1948 in the Nakba/Catastrophe (what Israel refers to as the War of Independence). The Israeli author was a combatant in that war. This book is the only one in Israeli literature that describes the 1948 expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

 

Poetry

 

Abulhawah, Susan. (2013). My Voice Sought the Wind. Charlottesville, VA: Just World Books.
A poetry anthology from a Palestinian-American author that explores her personal journey, including the pain of being separated from her homeland, nostalgic memories of the past, and reconciliation with and hope for the future.

 

Ali, Taha Muhammad. (2006). So What: New and Selected Poems (with a Story) 1971-2005. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press.
The author is a self-taught Palestinian poet who was forced from his home in the Galilee in 1948 when a young boy. The poems in this collection explore the pain of
occupation, exile, and migration.

 

Darwish, Mahmoud. (2003). Unfortunately It Was Paradise: Selected Poems. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
The author is a critically acclaimed and prolific poet who was regarded as the Palestinian national poet. This collection includes poems from throughout his long career.

Farah, Najwa Kawar. (2009). To Palestine with Love. Nicosia, Cyprus: Rimal Publications.
A collection of poems and paintings that express the exiled Palestinian author’s response to a multitude of experiences and memories.