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Further Reading



  • Blood Brothers (Elias Chacour)
      An excellent read for American Christians to help them understand what’s happening to their co-religionists in Israel and Palestine (whom many believe are descendents of the original Christians).

  • The General's Son (Miko Peled)
      The incredible story of the son of a famous Israeli general who wanted nothing to do with politics until his young niece was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. After the tragedy he began a quest to understand who the Palestinians are and what would drive a person to such an attack. His education begins slowly, but soon he is questioning everything he thought he knew about Israel, marching alongside Palestinians at nonviolent demonstrations, being arrested by the Israeli military, and calling for a single democratic state in the land of historic Palestine.

  • Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (Max Blumenthal)
      A harrowing account of the dangerous rightward trend in Israeli society over the past several years.

  • Mornings in Jenin (Susan Abulhawa)
      A gorgeous novel that takes us all the way from pre-1948 Palestine to a refugee camp in Jenin to an orphanage in Jerusalem, college in the United States, the war in Lebanon, and the second Intifada in the West Bank. A sweeping yet intimate view of what the past several decades have done to the Palestinian people.

  • Palestinian Walks (Raja Shehadeh)
      It’s a privilege and a treat to walk through Palestine’s hauntingly beautiful "vanishing landscape" with this pensive and sensitive companion. Highly recommended.

  • Witness in Palestine (Anna Baltzer)
      A Jewish American woman (currently one of the leading American activists for justice in Palestine) describes the systematic injustices she saw committed in her name in occupied Palestine.

  • A Doctor in Galilee (Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh)
      For anyone who believes a Jewish state can be truly democratic, Dr. Hatim shows what he must go through on a daily basis simply to bring basic health care to his people, Palestinian-Israelis who live in a village within the land conquered by Israel in 1948.

  • The Lemon Tree (Sandy Tolan)
      A lovely book about an Israeli and a Palestinian family linked by the home that the Palestinians were forced to abandon in 1948. It tries a little too hard to be "balanced" in an unbalanced situation, but it has had a powerful effect on many people. I'm looking forward to his next book, about making music under occupation in Palestine.

  • Rawan Yaghi
  • Gate of the Sun (Elias Khoury)
      A heart-stopping story of displacement and stymied redemption. I watched the film version in Chapter 9 of my book, and it helped me understand viscerally the true scope of the trauma of the ethnic cleansing of 1948.

  • Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories (Ghassan Kanafani)
      Brilliant, harrowing stories of life in exile.

  • The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist (Emile Habiby)
      This author is basically the Kurt Vonnegut of Palestine, mixed with a bit of Joseph Heller. Trenchant, biting, and hilarious.

  • Eyes in Gaza (Dr. Mads Gilbert)
      A Norwegian doctor (one of very few foreign eyewitnesses) tells what he experienced during the horrors of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.

  • Gaza Mom (Laila El-Haddad)
      A journalist (and mother) writes about her experiences in the besieged Gaza Strip.

  • It's Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street (Emma Williams)
      A British doctor, wife of a UN negotiator, and mother of four writes about her harrowing existence living in Jerusalem, straddling the line between Israel and Palestine during the height of the second Intifada. Some excellent reporting about how the Intifada actually started, the Israeli government’s role in escalating and perpetuating it, and the devastating effects on both sides of the Green Line.

  • I Saw Ramallah (Mourid Barghouti)
      Barred from his homeland after the Six-Day War of 1967, the poet Mourid Barghouti spent thirty years in exile. As he returns home to Ramallah for the first time since the Israeli occupation, Barghouti is unable to recognize the city of his youth. He discovers what it means to be deprived not only of a homeland but of “the habitual place and status of a person.” A tour de force of memory and reflection, lamentation and resilience.

  • The Hour of Sunlight (Sami al Jundi, Jen Marlowe)
      One Palestinian's journey from prisoner to peacemaker. A touching and beautiful narrative.

  • Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> (Suad Amiry)
      A charming, harrowing, and funny book about a Palestinian architect trapped under the crushing agony of curfews in Ramallah during the second Intifada -- with her mother-in-law.

  • I Shall Not Hate (Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish)
      The unimaginable happens to a Palestinian doctor on staff at an Israeli hospital: Three of his daughters and a beloved niece are killed by Israeli tank fire in the Gaza Strip while sitting peacefully in their own home. A heartbreaking and beautiful tale of what came before and after.

  • What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? (David Harris-Gershon)
      An American Jewish guy and his wife come to study in Israel, not realizing a bombing at the Hebrew University will soon change their lives forever. Surprising himself, the author decides the best way to put the past behind him will be to try to meet the man who perpetrated the bombing.

  • From Beirut to Jerusalem (Thomas Friedman)
      This was one of the first books I read about Israel/Palestine, and I found it useful because of its insight into Israeli culture and politics. It showed me that many of the attitudes and actions I witnessed among Israelis were not my imagination.

  • The Gaza Kitchen (Laila El-Haddad)
      Delicious recipes and stories from an oft-forgotten little slice of land with a rich (and spicy!) culinary tradition.

  • Seeking Palestine (Raja Shehadeh, Penny Johnson)
      New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home. Fifteen innovative and outstanding Palestinian writers -- essayists, poets, novelists, critics, artists and memoirists -- explore what home and exile mean to modern Palestinians.

  • The Yellow Wind (David Grossman)
      An Israeli novelist seeks to understand Palestinian life under occupation before the first Intifada.

  • My Father Was a Freedom Fighter (Ramzy Baroud)
      The unforgettable story of one family of refugees in Gaza that shines a light on the untold story of that fascinating, besieged strip of land.

  • In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story (Ghada Karmi)
      Prominent Palestinian intellectual Ghada Karmi relates the story of her family’s displacement from a gorgeous and wealthy part of west Jerusalem in 1948, and the years of exile that followed.

  • Letters from Palestine (Kenneth Ring, Ghassan Abdullah)
      Vignettes from life under occupation that are by turns lively, poignant, searing, and tragic, yet often laced with touches of surreal humor. By showing Palestinians in all their humanity, this book enables American readers to see beyond the usual stereotypes.

  • The Prisoners' Diaries (Norma Hashim)
      A deeply moving series of first-person commentaries on what Palestinians have been enduring for decades in the dark recesses of Israel's network of prisons. Edited and published during the historic Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike.

  • Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life (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.

  • Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine (David Shulman)
      American-born Israeli David Shulman takes us into the heart of the conflict with this eye-opening chronicle of his work as a member of the peace group Ta'ayush, which takes its name from the Arabic for "living together."

  • Days of Honey, Days of Onion (Michael Gorkin)
      The story of a Palestinian family in Israel

  • A Season of Stones (Helen Winternitz)
      Intrepid American journalist Winternitz (author of East Along the Equator) writes compellingly of her experiences during a year (1988) spent with families in the ancient West Bank village of Nahalin.

  • The Girl Who Stole My Holocaust (Noam Chayut)
      "The deeply moving memoir of Chayut's journey from eager Zionist conscript on the front line of Operation Defensive Shield to leading campaigner against the Israeli occupation. As he attempts to make sense of his own life as well as his place within the wider conflict around him, he slowly starts to question his soldier's calling, Israel's justifications for invasion, and the ever-present problem of historical victimhood."

  • House of Stone (Anthony Shadid)
      In the summer of 2006, racing through Lebanon to report on the Israeli invasion, acclaimed journalist Anthony Shadid found himself in his family's ancestral hometown of Marjayoun. There, he discovered his great-grandfather's once magnificent estate in near ruins, devastated by war. One year later, Shadid returned to Marjayoun, not to chronicle the violence, but to rebuild in its wake.

  • Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood (Ibtisam Barakat)
      In a spare, eloquent memoir, Barakat recalls life under military occupation.

  • The Almond Tree (Michelle Cohen Corasanti)
      A book written by an American Jewish woman that does a phenomenal job capturing many of the nuances of life for displaced and oppressed Palestinian-Israelis. With many unforgettable characters and situations, it has been compared to The Kite Runner.

  • An Israeli in Palestine (Jeff Halper)
      Resisting dispossession, redeeming Israel

  • A Little Piece of Ground (Elizabeth Laird)
      Written by one of Great Britain’s best-known young adult authors, this book explores the human cost of the occupation of Palestinian lands through the eyes of a young boy.


  • The Question of Palestine (Edward Said)
      Still a basic and indispensible account of the Palestinian question, from the first Intifada to the Gulf War to the historic peace conference in Madrid.

  • The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Ilan Pappe)
      The founding mythology of Israel claims that Palestinians (if they existed at all) simply left in 1948 because their leaders told them to. This claim holds no historical water whatsoever. The truth is much more harrowing, and all parties must find a way to come to terms with it before genuine peace will be possible. (Benny Morris is another Israeli historian who found clear ethnic cleansing in 1948, but unlike Ilan Pappe, he argues that it was just and necessary.)

  • A History of Modern Palestine (Ilan Pappe)
      Traces the history of Palestine from the Ottomans in the nineteenth century, through the British Mandate, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, and the subsequent wars and conflicts which have dominated this troubled region.

  • Beyond Chutzpah (Norman Finkelstein)
      When I first got back from Palestine, Alan Dershowitz's book The Case for Israel was thrust into my hands. It sounded like racist propaganda that was out of touch with reality. Norman Finkelstein's book showed that this was indeed the case.

  • The Israel Lobby (Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer)
      Two esteemed professors -- one from Harvard, one from U Chicago -- describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support the US provides to Israel and argues it can't be fully explained on strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape US foreign policy in a narrowly "pro-Israel" direction (often harming the real interests of Americans, not to mention Israelis and Palestinians).

  • They Dare to Speak Out (Paul Findley)
      A former congressman describes how the Israel lobby pressures not just politicians in Washington but also university professors, journalists, and others, making it nearly impossible to have an honest, public debate about Israel/Palestine in the US. (My next book, Palestine, DC, covers this topic in an updated way.)

  • Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (Saree Makdisi)
      The author 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.

  • 1949: The First Israelis (Tom Segev)
      The author draws on thousands of declassified documents along with personal diaries and correspondence to reconstruct the unvarnished story of Israel's first year. Segev reveals the lofty aspirations that guided the state's leaders as well as the darker side of the Zionist utopia: the friction between the early settlers and the immigrants, the lack of good-faith negotiations with the Arabs; the clash between religious and secular factions; the daily collision of the Zionist myth with the severe realities of life in the new state.

  • Anxious for Armageddon (Rev. Donald Wagner)
      Christian Zionism is a dangerous and ultimately anti-Semitic ideology that believes all Jews must gather in the Holy Land so Christ can return, Armageddon can occur, and non-Christians can be converted or vanquished. Christian Zionists send millions of dollars to Israel annually, helping the state preserve and expand its illegal occupation (not to mention oppress native Christians). This is the story of how one American reverend came to see the ideology for what it was and became a strong advocate for abandoning it and replacing it with a more Christ-like compassion and love for all people.

      For more information about Christian Zionists,their ideology, and their influence on American foreign policy, see this astonishingarticle: Jane Lampman, "Mixing Prophecy and Politics," The Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 2004.

  • Fatal Embrace (Mark Braverman)
      This book describes how the Jewish quest for safety and empowerment and the Christian endeavor to atone for centuries of anti-Semitism have combined to suppress the conversations needed to bring about a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land. The book describes the spiritual and psychological forces driving the discourse and is a call to action to Americans of all faiths.

  • Popular Resistance in Palestine (Mazin Qumsiyeh)
      The Western media paints Palestinian resistance as exclusively violent. In reality these methods are the exception to what is a mostly peaceful and creative movement. The book contains hundreds of stories of the heroic and highly innovative methods of resistance employed by the Palestinians over more than 100 years.

  • BDS (Omar Barghouti)
      In 2005, Palestinian civil society called upon the world to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel until it complies with international law and grants equal rights to all -- a parallel to the boycotts that helped bring down the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Omar Barghouti wrote this as a kind of manifesto for the movement, which continues to gain important ground around the world.

  • A Quiet Revolution (Mary Elizabeth King)
      The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance

  • One Country (Ali Abunimah)
      A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

  • Lords of the Land (Idith Zertal, Akiva Eldar)
      The War Over Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007

  • The Iron Cage (Rashid Khalidi)
      The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood

  • Brokers of Deceit (Rashid Khalidi)
      How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East

  • Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (Jimmy Carter)
      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.

  • Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations (Avi Shlaim)
      A New Israeli Historian who meticulously refutes many of the mendacious talking points of modern Zionism and replaces them with real, documented history.

  • Shattered Hopes (Josh Ruebner)
      The Failure Of Obama's Middle East Peace Process

  • Wrestling with Zion (Tony Kushner, Alisa Solomon)
      Progressive Jewish-American responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

  • Wrestling in the Daylight (Brant Rosen)
      A Rabbi's Path to Palestinian Solidarity

  • The Crisis of Zionism (Peter Beinart)
      In the United States, the refusal of major Jewish organizations to defend democracy in the Jewish state is alienating many young liberal Jews from Zionism itself. In the next generation, the "liberal Zionist" dream may die.


  • 5 Broken Cameras
      A searing Academy Award-nominated film about nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation in the town of Bil'in, and the terrible price paid for it.

  • Occupation 101
      The roots of the conflict are explained with thought-provoking commentaries from leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers whose voices have too often been suppressed in American media outlets.

  • Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land
      A striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is the film that travel guru Rick Steves said changed his whole perspective on the conflict.

  • With God on Our Side
      Takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which leads some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to the Israeli government, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians and threatening Israel's security. There is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel that doesn't favor one people over another but promotes peace and reconciliation for all.


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Copyright 2012, Pamela J. Olson

You are welcome to contact me -- pamolson @ gmail dot com