Israeli Apartheid – A Beginners Guide – by Ben White (Pluto Press, 2009). This book surveys the measures by which Israel colonised Palestine, considers definitions of apartheid in international law and their relevance to the practices of the Israeli state (especially in the Occupied West Bank), and compares Israeli with South African apartheid to highlight both differences and fundamental similarities. John Dugard’s Foreword should not be missed.
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine – by Ilan Pappe (One World Publications 2006). For more see HERE.
Extreme Rambling – Walking Israel’s barrier for fun – by Mark Thomas (Ebury Press, 2011). The political stand-up comic walks the entire length of Israel’s apartheid wall and amid many outrageously funny episodes provides a withering critique of Israeli policy. Reviewed HERE.
The Hundred Years War on Palestine – by Rashid Khalidi (Profile Books, 2020). A thorough and candid analysis of the treatment of the Palestinians, drawing on the author’s family experiences and archives.‘A riveting and original work’ (Noam Chomsky)
BOOKS ABOUT JERUSALEM
A City in Fragments – Urban text in modern Jerusalem – by Yair Wallach (Stanford University Press, 2020). The history of Jerusalem from late Ottoman rule to Israeli Nakba is told through a study of texts: building and street signs, newspapers, banknotes, graffiti etc.
A History of Jerusalem – one city, three faiths – by Karen Armstrong (Harper Perennial, 1996). An account of Jerusalem from earliest times to the early 1990s; includes a number of city maps showing the development of significant sites.
Nine Quarters of Jerusalem – by Matthew Teller (Profile Books 2022). A chatty and readable history of Jerusalem, showing that the ‘four quarters’ on the tourist maps do not tell anything like the whole story. ‘In Jerusalem, what you see and what is true are two different things. Maps divide the walled Old City into four quarters, yet that division doesn’t reflect the reality of mixed and diverse neighbourhoods ‘
BOOKS ABOUT GAZA
Gaza in Crisis: Reflections On Israel’s War Against the Palestinians – by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, edited by Frank Barat (Hamish Hamilton, 2010). From the targeting of schools and hospitals, to the indiscriminate use of white phosphorus, Israel’s conduct in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ rattled even some of its most strident supporters. In this book, Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé survey the fallout from that devastation and place the massacre in Gaza in the context of Israel’s long-standing war against the Palestinians.For more see HERE.
The Punishment of Gaza – by Gideon Levy (Verso press, 2010). “There are more terrible atrocities in the world than what is being done to the caged prisoners of Gaza, but it is not easy to think of a more cruel and cowardly exhibition of human savagery, fully supported by the US, with Europe trailing politely behind. Gideon Levy’s passionate and revealing account is an eloquent, even desperate, call to bring this shocking tragedy to an end, as can easily be done.” – Noam Chomsky. Reviewed HERE.
The 51-Day War – by Max Blumenthal (Verso press, 2015). The journalist Max Blumenthal was in Gaza during the Israeli invasion of 2014. This book documents the experiences of Palestinians who were yet again under attack, while also tracing the political developments of the campaign on both sides.
Footnotes in Gaza – by Joe Sacco (Jonathan Cape, 2009). In November 1956 Israeli forces invaded Gaza as part of the joint British-French attack against Egypt. The Israeli army conducted two massacres where hundreds of Palestinians were murdered. Sacco sets out to collate the oral histories of the Palestinians who witnessed or were the victims of these events. The book doesn’t only focus on the past: since then giant armoured bulldozers have flattened houses in Rafah and the ongoing siege since 2007 affects everybody’s lives. Sacco says: “… the past and the present cannot be so easily disentangled; they are part of a remorseless continuum…”
Gaza – when the sky rained white fire – by Musheir El-Farra (Sheffield PSC 2012). The stories of a number of Palestinian families whose lives were shattered by Israel’s attacks at the end of 2008. There is a foreword by Ilan Pappe.
My Father was a Freedom Fighter – by Ramzy Baroud (Pluto Press, 2010). The author’s father lived in the Southern Palestinian village of Beit Daras until in 1948 it was ethnically cleansed, totally destroyed and many of its inhabitants massacred. The family became refugees in Gaza and the subsequent history of Gaza under repeated assault from Israel is told through his father’s life. It ends with his father’s death, denied the use of his oxygen pump by Israeli bombing and of medication by the Israeli siege. It’s a grim read made bearable only by humour and the extraordinary resilience of its characters. The brief Foreword by Salman Abu Sitta is excellent.
Gaza – Preparing for Dawn – by Donald Macintyre (One World publications, 2017). The journalist Donald Macintyre has been a regular visitor to Gaza. This book traces the history of the territory over the century since 1917 and ends with a call to lift the present siege.
Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict – by Sara Roy (Oneworld Publications 2006). Reviewed briefly HERE.
BOOKS ABOUT JAFFA
City of Oranges – by Adam Lebor (Norton Press, 2006). A history of Jaffa told through the lives of Jewish and Palestinian families who lived there.
White City Black City – Architecture and War in Tel-Aviv and Jaffa – by Sharon Rotbard (Pluto Press 2015). Architect and writer Sharon Rotbard explores the myths surrounding the creation of Tel-Aviv and then the reality of the degradation of Jaffa. Includes some very interesting comments about Jewish settlement during the British mandate.
BOOKS ABOUT THE BALFOUR DECLARATION OF 1917
The Balfour Declaration – by Jonathan Schneer (Bloomsbury, 2010). A well-researched chronicle of WW1 in the Middle East, showing deep divisions within the British Jewish community and how Britain promised power in Palestine to the Arabs, the Jews, the French and even the Turks.
A Line in the Sand – by James Barr (Simon and Schuster, 2011). How come the French supported Zionist attacks on the British forces in Palestine in the 1940s? This books tells the story of the Middle East 1915 to 1949 as a series of disputes between Britain and France, with extensive reference to cabinet papers from both countries.
BOOKS ABOUT THE NAKBA
Voices of the Nakba – ed Diana Allan (Pluto Press, 2021). A collection of accounts from first-generatio Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, documenting their expulsion from Palestine in the Nakba of 1948.
Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory – edited by Ahmad H. Sa’Di and Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia University Press 2007). Reviewed HERE.
MORE GENERALLY ON PALESTINE
Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy – by Ben White (Pluto Press, 2012). A short but powerful reminder that Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is not confined to Gaza and the West Bank. The foreword written by Palestinian politician Haneen Zoabi is HERE.
Europe’s Alliance with Israel: Aiding the Occupation – by David Cronin (Pluto Press, 2010). Journalist David Cronin argues that Israel has become a member state of the European Union in all but name. He shows that rather than using this relationship to encourage Israeli restraint, the EU has legitimised actions such as the ill-treatment of prisoners and the Gaza invasion. He calls for continuing international activism and protest to halt the EU’s slide into complicity. Review: http://electronicintifada.net/content/book-review-europes-alliance-israel/3607
The Invention of the Jewish People – by Shlomo Sand (Verso Books 2009). Review: https://electronicintifada.net/content/book-review-shlomo-sands-invention-jewish-people/3561
A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism – by Yakov M. Rabkin (Zed Books, 2006). A Jewish scholar challenges powerfully the claims of the State of Israel to represent the Jewish people and Judaism.
Rooted in Palestine – Palestinian Christians and the struggle for national liberation 1917 – 2004 – by Xavier Abu Eid (Dar al-Kalima Universeity Press 2022).
Married to Another Man – by Ghada Karmi (Pluto Press, 2007). The author is a UK academic and Palestinian exile. Her book is a brilliant review and analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its Arab, Jewish and Western dimensions and argues the case for a ‘one-state solution’ in the interests of all parties.
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid – by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster, 2007). The former US President argues that “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East.” Reviewed HERE..
Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State – by Jonathan Cook (Pluto Press 2006). Reviewed HERE.
Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East – by Jonathan Cook (Pluto Press, 2008). Briefly described HERE.
Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair – by Jonathan Cook (Zed Books, 2008), Briefly described HERE.
The Case Against Israel – by Michael Neumann (AK Press 2006). Reviewed HERE.
Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History – by Norman G. Finkelstein (Verso Books 2005). Described HERE.
Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jew – by Alan Hart (World Focus Publishing, 2007). Reviewed HERE.
Overcoming Zionism – Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel Palestine – by Joel Kovel (Pluto Press 2007). Briefly described HERE.
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy – by John J Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt (Penguin 2006). Reviewed HERE.
Hamas – a Beginners’ Guide – by Khaled Hroub (Pluto Press, 2010). The author is a Cambridge academic born in a Bethlehem refugee camp. His purpose is not to act as an apologist for Hamas but to provide basic information and analysis to help readers make up their own minds about a much-demonised movement. The book is a valuable antidote to Western media and politicians who much prefer to make up our minds for us.
The Other Side of Israel – by Susan Nathan (Harper Collins, 2005). The author, a British Jew, emigrated to Israel and chose to live in Tamra, a small Palestinian town. Her account of her experiences vividly illustrates the racism and extensive discrimination suffered by Israel’s Palestinian minority.
Joshua – by Liam Physick (an Amazon e-book 2012). An allegorical novel based on the biblical Book of Joshua, drawing parallels between the Israelites’ (mythical) conquest of Canaan and the (all too real) ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Israel in 1948. The Israelite characters are frequently attributed words used by Zionist leaders or pro-Zionist commentators in support of ethnic cleansing or of Israel’s subsequent acts. Parallels are drawn between the Israelites’ massacres of Canaanites in the Bible and the atrocities committed by Israel in the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) and between destroyed Canaanite villages and their Palestinian counterparts. An epilogue describes the aftermath of the conquest, based on the experience of Israel’s Palestinian citizens.
Behind the Wall: Life, Love, and Struggle in Palestine. – by Rich Wiles (Potomac Books, 2010). The book brings together for the first time in one volume a collection of Wiles’ articles of everyday life for Palestine’s refugees, told in their own words, and written between 2006-2007.