Here you can find the best books on Palestine recommended by authors, academics and activists—Palestinian, Jewish, Israeli and other.
Palestine is a stateless country. Since the 1948 Nakbah, or ‘catastrophe’, when the state of Israel was created, the Palestinians have been subject to internal or external exile. The war of 1967 only deepened the Palestinians’ travails, with the annexation the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem by Israel. Much has been promised them in the meantime but, notwithstanding the creation of the Palestinian Authority as a result of the 1993-5 Oslo Accords, over seventy years on from the original Nakbah, the political outlook for the Palestinian people has never looked less promising. The travails of the Palestinians may not have produced any significant political results, but it has produced a culture and a literature and, as Robin Yassin-Kassab explains, it has reinforced an identity.
Elsewhere the Palestinian writer and activist, Susan Abulhawa chooses the best Palestianian writing, while the Israeli playwright Alon Hilu looks at Israel and Palestine in art. The famous Palestinian writer, Raja Shehadeh, chooses his best books on Palestine, focusing on work that highlights the plight of the Palestinian people over the past 100 years, but also on the beauty and diversity of the natural environment and the Palestinian people.
Elsewhere, the Israel-based British journalist, Jonathan Cook, looks at the experience of the Palestinians in Israel, their identity and their relationship to the wider Palestinian diaspora and Carlos Fraenkel reflects on his time teaching in a Palestinian university and ponders whether philosophy can help to save the Middle East and, indeed, the rest of the world. And the Israeli academic Gabriel Piterberg talks about Zionism and anti-Zionism and his own gradual rejection of the former.
James Carroll, a former Catholic priest, looks at the history of Jerusalem, its role as the centre of conflict for decades and its message of peace.
The author and political blogger chooses five books on the Israel-Palestine conflict and compares the Palestinians to the Jews in diaspora: as the land disappears under their feet, their identity grows stronger.
Raja Shehadeh’s choices highlight the suffering endured by the Palestinian people over the last 100 years. But they also celebrate the country’s natural beauty, vibrant culture and multi-textured humanity.
Award-winning novelist and playwright positions himself among a new breed of Israeli historians: “I think I am part of a new trend in Israel to be critical of the way we tell our history”
The philosopher argues that a culture of debate, in which people of all backgrounds can openly discuss the truth, is philosophy’s real answer to conflict.
The Arabs in Israel
by Sabri Jiryis
Let It Be Morning
by Sayed Kashua
A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel
by Hatim Kanaaneh
So What: New and Selected Poems, 1971-2005
by Taha Muhammad Ali
Sleeping on a Wire: Conversations with Palestinians in Israel
by David Grossman
Palestinians living in Israel are cut off from both sides of the conflict and constantly trying to square the circle, argues Nazareth-based writer Jonathan Cook.
Israeli historian Gabriel Piterberg tells us about works of scholarship that have challenged the Zionist Israeli narrative of modern history.
Jerusalem has been at the center of conflict for millennia and its current problems cannot be blamed on Israelis and Palestinians alone, says bestselling author and former Catholic priest James Carroll. He picks the best books to understand Jerusalem’s complex history and its message of peace which still gives him hope.
Acclaimed novelist and author of Mornings in Jenin chooses five books about Palestine by Palestinian writers. She says what she sees among the young people in Palestine is humbling, ‘they have such remarkable spirit’
Eugene Rogan is Director of the Middle East Centre at Oxford University. His research focuses on the social and economic history of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire and the Arab states in the 20th century.
Jerusalem is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a place of longing for three faiths—and yet we know it mostly as a place of strife and conflict. British historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem: the Biography, recommends books that capture the historical ups and downs of this ever-changing city, but also its vitality, including its irresistible cuisine.
The deputy-editor of Economist.com selects five books that have given him a deeper understanding of the situation in Israel and Palestine – books that have helped him open him up to “other people’s point of view”