Initial Compilation by
David J. Albert, University of Texas—Austin

FAQs for Peace Seekers

  • "What is the history of this conflict and how did Palestinians and Israelis end up in such a complete and tangled mess?  Who is to blame for all of the problems of today?"
    There are no easy answers or simply explanations for how this all got started or who is to be blamed for it.  There is plenty of blame to go around.  If you are interested in trying to untangle the complicated web of history I suggest the following books by two of the best of the new generation of Israeli historians:

    Avi Shlaim.  Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2000) & Benny Morris.  Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999. (1999)

    If you'd like to learn a more about the broader history of the entire region from a leading historian, I suggest:

    Albert Hourani.  A History of the Arab Peoples (1991)

    If you'd like to read a well-written and highly readable introduction to the complexities of the region from a journalist who spent a decade covering the region, I recommend:

    Thomas Friedman.  From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989)

  • "Who are the Palestinians and how did they become refugees?"
    The Palestinians are the native people of the region.  Their national identity really crystallized in the early part of this century partly as a reaction to the arrival of Zionist settlers.  If you'd like to read more about their identity, we suggest:

    Rashid Khalidi.  Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.  (1997)

    If you'd like to get a picture of their lives before they became refugees try:

    Walid Khalidi.  Before their DiasporA Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948. (1984)

    If you'd like to understand more about the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948-49 that led many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to become refugees, the best account is:

    Benny Morris. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949. (1987)

    If you'd like to get a sense of the Palestinian villages that were destroyed during the Nakba, we suggest:

    Walid Khalidi.  All that Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948.  (1992)

  • "What exactly are the occupation and the Intifada?"
    During the 1967 war (which Israelis saw as defensive and the Arabs saw as aggression), Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula (returned to Egypt in 1982), the Golan Heights (from Syria), the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.  Israel has continued to occupy these latter three areas since that time.  Today, several million Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  The first Intifada (Uprising) against Israeli rule occurred from 1987-1993.  To better understand those events we suggest the account of an Israeli novelist and journalist:

    David Grossman.  The Yellow Wind.  (1988)

    A more recent journalistic account describes the Israeli occupation during the years of the Oslo peace agreement and the conditions that led to the second Intifada in 2000:

    Amira Hass, Drinking the Sea at GazDays and Nights in a Land under Siege. (2000)

  • "What exactly is Zionism?  And how does Judaism relate to Zionism?  How do the claims of the Israeli settlers relate to Judaism and Zionism?"
    Zionism is Jewish nationalism.  There are many different strands and variations of Zionist thought that emerged in the early part of the 20th century.  If you want to get a better understanding of all the variations, I suggest that you read:

    Shlomo Avineri.  The Making of Modern Zionism (1981)

    If you'd like to get a better idea of difficult identity conflicts that are dividing Israel society, I'd recommend:

    Yaron Ezrahi.  Rubber Bullets: Power and Conscience in Modern Israel.  (1997)

    Judaism is a religion.  Zionism is a nationalist movement of the Jewish people.  The two are intimately connected in the modern construction of Jewish identity, but far from identical.  Unfortunately, some Israeli settlers have distorted concepts of Jewish faith to support their nationalistic claims.  To better understand the ideology of the settlers and other Jewish fundamentalist read:

    Ian Lustick.  For the Land and the Lord: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel.  (1988)

    To gain a better understanding of a more compassionate view of Judaism that both supports Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation and Jewish pluralism, I suggest an eloquent book written by an open-minded Orthodox rabbi:

    David Hartman.  Conflicting Visions: Spiritual Possibilities in Modern Israel.  (1990)

  • "What is the Oslo Peace Process and why has it collapsed?"
    The Oslo Peace Process, which began in 1993, was a process of negotiated compromise between Israelis and Palestinians that was designed to lead towards a two-state solution—an Israeli and a Palestinian state.  The father of that process was Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres.  His famous book lays out his vision of the peaceful co-existence that he imagined the process would produce:

    Shimon Peres.  The New Middle East.  (1993)

    The process has not worked out the way that Peres and most of those who created it envisioned.  Edward Said, a leading Palestinian academic/activist, has written a series of essays that critique the failings of the Oslo Process:

    Edward Said, The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After (2000)

  • "Does Israel have nuclear have nuclear weapons and how does that effect the strategic balance in the region?"
    There is very little doubt that Israel has had nuclear weapons for over 30 years.  It is the only country in the region to have such weapons although some other states would certainly like to attain them.  The best account of how Israel got nuclear weapons and the strategic advantage that they provide Israel is:

    Avner Cohen.  Israel and the Bomb.  (1998)

  • "If Israel is a Jewish State, how does this affect its non-Jewish citizens both in Israel proper and in East Jerusalem?"
    Approximately 20% of Israel's citizens (not including the Occupied Territories).  In theory, they are full citizens with voting rights, but in practice they often suffer from discrimination and many other indignities.  A fascinating book has been written by Yoram Binur, an Israeli Jewish journalist, who pretended to be an Arab over a period of months and recorded the story of the indignities that he experienced:

    Yoram Binur, My Enemy, My Self (1989)

    Ever since Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967, it has tried to ensure that it would retain permanent control of the city and its surroundings.  The following book by a journalist and two former city officials documents the inequities that have been present in Israeli rule over East Jerusalem:

    Amir Cheshin, Bill Hutman, Avi Melamed.  Separate and Unequal: The Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem.  (1999)

  • "Does the Arab and Islamic world pose a threat to Western civilization?"
    The myth that the Islamic or Arab World is inherently hostile to either the United States or West is a relic of the manner in which the West has viewed the peoples of the Middle East.  The classic work on Western view of Middle East is:

    Edward Said.  Orientalism (1978)

    The myth that Islam is inherently threatens America and/or the West was convincingly debunked in:

    John Esposito.  The Islamic Threat?: Myth or Reality (1992)

    It's also important to understand the negative stereotypes that many Americans continue to hold about Arabs and the Arab world.  These stereotypes are well described in:

    Michael Suleimein.  Arabs in the Mind of America.  (1988)

  • "How does Jewish suffering in the Holocaust relate to and justify Jewish feeling of insecurity and the need to be cautious about Israeli security?"
    Anyone trying to understand the dynamics of this conflict needs to comprehend the horrific suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust which killed six million Jews (1/3 of World Jewry) and all but eliminated European Jewry.  However, it must be remembered that the most important lesson that can drawn from the Holocaust must be the need to preserve and protect the human rights of all individuals regardless of race, religion, or nationality.  There are numerous personal memoirs that describe the suffering and degradation of the Holocaust, but I recommend a short and incredibly poignant one was written by Elie Wiesel, a Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Prize winning human rights activist:

    Elie Wiesel.  Night.  (1961)

    It is important to understand the collective emotional and psychological effect that the Holocaust has had on the Jewish people.  The best book on its effect on Israel is:

    Tom Segev.  The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust.  (1993)

    It also important to try to understand how Americans (not just American Jews) have come to perceive the Holocaust:

    Peter Novick.  The Holocaust and American Life (1999)

  • Which brings us to one final question: "Why does the United States have such a close and supportive relationship with the State of Israel?"
    The question is a complicated one involving political, economic, historical, and cultural factors.  One significant part of the answer is that Americans and American policy-makers have been basically unaware, unconcerned about the Palestinian discourse on this conflict.  The simple haven't understood their side of the conflict.  This story is told quite well in:

    Kathleen Christenson.  Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy.  (1999)

    It is also important to understand the historical perceptions that Americans have about Israel and Jews.  This fascinating story is told in:

    Peter Grose.  Israel in the American Mind.  (1983)

    There is an incredible amount of propaganda that has been written about the U.S.-Israel relationship; however, interestingly enough, perhaps the most thorough and well-documented academic account of the dynamics of the U.S.-Israel relationship has been written by a Palestinian scholar:

    Camille Mansour.  Beyond Alliance: Israel in U.S. Foreign Policy.  (1994)

Additional Resources

A. Basic Politics & History

  1. James Bill and Robert Springborg.  Politics in the Middle East (1994)  (This is a standard ME politics textbook, now in its 4th edition)
  2. David Fromkin.  A Peace to End All Peace (1989)  (A readable book covering the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, making of the modern Middle East, and the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  1914-1922.)
  3. Chaim Herzog.  The Arab-Israeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East (1982)  (Traditional Israeli account of Israeli History written by a former Israeli President and Historian.)
  4. Albert Hourani.  A History of the Arab Peoples (1991)  (Excellent one Volume history of the Middle East by the prominent Arab historian.)
  5. Middle East Review of International Affairs—Online Journal about Middle East Politics edited by Barry Rubin  (Often Includes useful articles on various current and historical political topics.)
  6. William Quandt.  Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict since 1967  (1993)  (Detailed history of the peace process by a Scholar and former official in several administrations.)
  7. Alan Richards and John Waterbury.  A Political Economy of the Middle East: State, Class, and Economic Development  (2nd Edition, 1994)  (Standard text on Middle East Political Economy)
  8. Howard M. Sachar.  A History of Israel  (1987)  (2-Volume History of Israel from the rise of Zionism to 1980s.)
  9. Edward Said.  Peace and Its Discontents (1996) and The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After (2000)  (A leading Palestinian scholar has collected numerous essays into 2 volumes that are deeply critical of the Oslo Peace Process.)
  10. Charles Smith.  Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1992)  (Good standard college reference.  Fairly balanced presentation of the complex history of this conflict in fairly brief form.)
  11. Shabtai Teveth.  Ben-Gurion: The Burning Ground, 1886-1948.  (1987)  (Biography of the founder of the Israeli State.)
  12. Daniel Yergin.  The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power (1991)  (Yergin's book is a well-written, Pulitzer prize-winning, entertaining history of the international oil industry.  PBS also made an 8-hour documentary.)

B. Documents & Maps:

  1. Map Collections:
    1. Martin Gilbert.  Atlas of Jewish History.  (Rev, 1993) (Extensive collection showing ancient, diaspora, and present day Jewish settlement patterns.  )
    2. Martin Gilbert.  Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.  (Rev, 1993) (Extensive collection of maps of the Arab-Israeli conflict by noted British historian.)
    3. Perry-Castaneda Library at the University of Texas Map Collection (Includes numerous maps of Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israeli settlements at

  2. Documents Collections:
    1. Arthur Hertzberg.  The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader.  (1972)  (Writings of Zionists writers from the late 19th to mid-20th century.)
    2. Walid Khalidi.  From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948.(1987) (Document collection by an important Palestinian scholar.)
    3. Walter Laquer and Barry Rubin.  The Israeli-Arab Reader (5th Ed., 2001) (Collection of documents about the Arab-Israeli conflict by a Jewish scholar.)

  3. Important Documents related to the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Peace Process (Except for Herzl, some or all of documents below can be found online and in documents collections, including at the following locations Israeli Foreign Ministry, MideastWeb, United Nations—UNISPAL
    1. Theodore Herzl.  Jewish State.  (1896)—The famous book that led to the formation of an organized Zionist movement.
    2. Husayn-McMahon Correspondence (1915)—British promise to Arabs
    3. Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916)—British-French Agreement
    4. Balfour Declaration (1917)—Famous British Declaration that gave the Jews had the right to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people"
    5. "Churchill" White Paper (1922)—Created the state of Transjordan
    6. Palestine Mandate (1922)—League of Nations Mandate
    7. League of Nations Peal Commission Partition Plan Maps (1937)
    8. White Paper (1939)—British retreat from Balfour Declaration
    9. UNGA Resolution 181 (1947)—Partition of Palestine
    10. Plan Dalet (1948)—Israeli plan for refugee relocation
    11. Israeli Declaration of Independence (1948)
    12. UNGA Resolution 194 (1948)—Return of Palestinian Refugees
    13. Fourth Geneva Convention—Protection of the Rights of Occupied Peoples
    14. UNSC Resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)—Land for Peace Framework
    15. Khartoum Resolutions (1968)—No negotiations, No recognition, No peace
    16. Palestinian National Charter (1968)
    17. UNSC 425 (1978)—Withdrawal from Lebanon
    18. Camp David Accords (1978) and Israel-Egyptian Peace Treaty (1979)
    19. Golan Heights Law (1981)—Extension of Israeli Law to the Golan Heights
    20. HAMAS Charter (1988)—Charter of the leading Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization
    21. King Hussein's speech renouncing Jordanian rights to the West Bank (1988)
    22. Israel-PLO Recognition Letter & Declaration of Principles (1993)
    23. Gaza-Jericho Agreement (1994) & Interim Agreement (Cairo) (1995)
    24. Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty (1994)
    25. Hebron Redeployment (1997) &. Wye River Memorandum (1998)
    26. Mitchell Commission Report (2001)

C. Journalistic Accounts

  1. Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War (1992)  (Account of a British journalist who covered the Lebanon War and Israel's invasion of Lebanon.  Considered pro-Palestinian.)
  2. Thomas Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989)  (Fascinating analysis from the NY Times correspondent in Jerusalem.  The book details both the Lebanon War and the early days of the Intifada.  Excellent introductory volume.)
  3. O'Brien, Conor Cruise.  The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism.  (1986)  (History of Arab-Israeli conflict by noted Irish journalist and diplomat.  Considered sympathetic to Israel.)
  4. David Shipler, Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirit in the Promised Land.  (1986)  (Account of a NY Times correspondent on the difficulties of the conflict between Arabs and Jews; PBS did an extremely balanced and informative on the history of the conflict.  Extremely balanced and informative video history.)

D. Political Memoirs

  1. Hanan Ashrawi.  This Side of Peace.  (1995) (A though-provoking memoir of Palestinian spokeswoman / cabinet minister.)
  2. Abba Eban.  Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes.  (1992) (Autobiography of the former Israeli Foreign Minister and UN Ambassador.  Also made into an accompanying 5-hour PBS documentary called Israel: A Nation is Born.)
  3. Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel's Fateful Hour (1988) (The former Chief of Israeli Military intelligence who evolved from a hardliner into an early advocate of a Palestinian State)
  4. Benjamin Netanyahu.  A Durable Peace: Israel and Its Place Among the Nations.  (2000) (Revised memoir of former right-wing Israeli Prime Minister defending his views of Israel and its place in the world.)
  5. Shimon Peres.  The New Middle East.  (1993) (Former Prime Minister's idealistic vision of the future of the Peace Process.)
  6. Yitzhak Rabin.  The Rabin Memoirs (Expanded Edition, 1996) (The former Prime Minister's early memoir includes revealing discussions of his role in War of Independence and uprooting of some Arab villages.)
  7. Edward Said.  Out of Place: A Memoir.  (2000) (Autobiography of the famous Palestinian academic and activist from Columbia University.)
  8. Uri Savir.  The Process: 1,100 Days That Changed the Middle East.  (1999) (Personal account of the Oslo Peace Process from one of its leading Israeli architects and chief negotiator from 1993-96.)
  9. Chaim Weizmann.  Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann.  (1949) (The autobiography of the first Israeli President whose long career as Zionist leader was highlighted by his efforts to get the British government to issue of the Balfour Declaration in 1917.)

E. Revisionist Histories

  1. Meron Benvenisti.  Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948.  (2000)  (The former deputy mayor of Jerusalem explores the process by which the geography of Israel has been Judaized in an effort to eliminate the Palestinian connection to the land.)
  2. Norman Finkelstein.  Image and Reality of Israel-Palestine Conflict.  (1995)  (Rather radical series of critiques of other revisionists including biting criticism of Benny Morris's book of Palestinian refugees.)
  3. Simha Flapan.  The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities.  (1987)  (Early revisionist work by a leading leftist politician addressing many of the myths surrounding the creation of the Israeli state.)
  4. Ephraim Karsh.  Fabricating Israeli History: The 'New Historians' (Rev, 2000)  (Karsh critiques the Revisionist Historigraphy of Shlaim, Morris, and Segev.)
  5. Lustick, Ian (Editor) Arab-Israeli Relations: A Collection of Contending Perspectives and Recent Research.  (1994) (A 10-volume collection of Articles on different aspects of Arab-Israeli relations over 50 years.)
  6. Benny Morris.  The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949.  (1987)  (Probably the most important early revisionist work taking apart the traditional Zionist position on the Palestinian refugee issue.  While widely criticized from all sides Morris's balanced and well-documented account has remains essential.)
  7. Benny Morris.  Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict,1881-1999.  (1999)  (A comprehensive history of the conflict from one of Israel's leading revisionist historians.
  8. Ilan Pappe.  Britain and the Arab-Israeli conflict, 1948-51.  (1988)  (Important revisionist work on the British role in the early Arab-Israeli conflict.)
  9. Tom Segev.  1949: The First Israelis.  (1986)  (Early re-examination of the issues surrounding Israel's founding by a leading Israeli journalist/historian.)
  10. Tom Segev.  One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate (2000)  (Extensive study of period of the Palestinian Mandate.)
  11. Avi Shlaim.  Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine (1990)  (Excellent account of the collusion by Israel & Jordan in 1948-49 to divide Palestine between them.)
  12. Avi Shlaim.  Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2000) (Excellent recent historical study of Israeli policy towards the Arab world.)
  13. Avi Shlaim and Eugene Rogan.  War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948.  (2001)  (Edited collection of essays on different aspects of the history of 1948 includes essays by Rashid Khalidi, Benny Morris and Edward Said.)
  14. Zeev Sternhell.  The Founding Myths of Israel.  (1997)  (A scholarly critique of the Israeli Labor Party that argues that it is the Labor party was not deeply committed to socialist ideals.)
  15. Tkuma (Rebirth) (1998) (Controversial Israeli video series done by Israeli Broadcast Authority for Israel's 50th birthday.  Incorporates many of the Revisionist themes.  Partially available in English.)

F. Peace Activists

  1. Websites of Israeli Peace and Human Rights Groups
    1. Peace Now—Mainstream Peace Movement
    2. Gush Shalom—More radical Peace Movement
    3. New Israel Fund—American Based Peace Group supporting peace and religious pluralism in Israel
    4. Seeds of Peace—Camp for Jewish and Palestinian kids
    5. B'Teselem—Israeli Human Rights Group
    6. IPCRI—Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information Joint Jerusalem-based Israeli-Palestinian Think Tank directed by Dr. Gershon Baskin and Dr. Zakaria al-Qaq—
    7. Other Israel—Israel Peace Organization
    8. FMEP—Foundation for Middle East Peace—Tracks settlement activity.
    9. Peacewatch—Peace site designed by Ami Isseroff
    10. Bat Shalom—Feminist Peace Organization
    11. Tikkun—Jewish Renewal publication of Rabbi Michael Lerner
    12. Jews United for a Just Peace—US-based Jewish group advocating An end of the occupation.
    13. Not in My Name—Chicago-based Jewish peace group
    14. MidEast Web—Extensive Site that includes links to an extensive Bibliography and archive of historical documents
    15. Jews for Justice in the Middle East—Includes link to their book, The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict
    16. Jewish Voice for Peace—San Francisco-based peace group

  2. Writings of Activists:

    1. Uri Avnery.  "80 Theses for a New Peace Camp." Tikkun (July/August, 2001): 17-23.  (Manifesto of Gush Shalom activist following new Intifada.)
    2. Adam Kellner.  Terrible Days: Social Divisions and Political Paradoxes in Israel.  (1987)  (Memoir of Israeli Peace Activist who went to jail for refusing to fight in the Lebanon War.)
    3. Warschawski, Michel.  Towards and Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society (2004); Monthly Review Press

  3. Outside Human Rights Reports:
    1. Amnesty International
    2. Human Rights Watch
    3. U.S. State Department Human Rights Report—2000 (released Feb, 2001)

  4. Websites for Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring groups and related sites
    1. LAW—Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment
    2. PCHR—Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
    3. Personal Diary of Nigel Parry—Diary of British Peace Activist who spent several years at BirZeit University
    4. CPT in Hebron—Christian Peacemaker Teams—Hebron
    5. Al-Haq—Palestinian Human Rights group
    6. Alternative Information Center
    7. Institute for Palestine Studies
    8. Electronic Intifada

  5. Websites for Jewish-Arab Dialogue
    1. Encounter—European NGO that develops projects in the West Bank and also conducts online dialogue
    2. Salaam-v-Shalom (;=1)

G. Religious Aspects

  1. Zias Abu-Amir.  Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza: Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad.(1994)  (Study of the development of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Palestinian teritories.)
  2. Hamad Enayat.  Modern Islamic Political Thought.  (1982)  (An academic study the conceptual basis of Islamic political thought.)
  3. John Esposito.  Islam: The Straight Path (1988)  (an excellent introduction to Islamic history and faith.)
  4. Robert I. Friedman.  The False Prophet: Rabbi Meir Kahane from FBI Informant to Knesset Member.  (1990) (A highly critical biography of the leading Israeli advocate of "transferring" all of the Arabs out of Israel.)
  5. David Hartman.  Conflicting Visions: Spiritual Possibilities in Modern Israel.  (1990)  (Hartman, an Orthodox American rabbi who moved to Israel about 30 years ago, presents an eloquent spiritual discussion of the Jewish issues raised by Israeli-Palestinian conflict for spiritual life in Israel.)
  6. Sam Heilman.  Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry.  (1992)  (Interesting sociological study of the ultra-Orthodox community of Mea Shearim.)
  7. Ian Lustick.  For the Land and the Lord: Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel.  (1988)  (Excellent study of the ideas and motivations of Jewish fundamentalists.)
  8. Roy Mottahedeh.  The Mantle of the Prophet.  (1985)  (Complex, personal look at life in post-revolutionary Iran.)
  9. Emmanuel Sivan & Menachem Friedman.  (Editors) Religious Radicalism and Politics in the Middle East.  (1990)  (A set of essays comparing and contrasting various aspects of Jewish and Islamic fundamentalism.)
  10. Ehud Sprinzak.  The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right.  (1991)  (Important historical study of the rising power of religious right radicals within Israel.)
  11. Robin Wright.  The Last Great Revolution.  (2000)  (Sweeping portrait of the effects of the Islamic Revolution in Iran by an American journalist who has been covering Iran for nearly 3 decades.)

H. Zionism & Post-Zionism

  1. Shlomo Avineri.  The Making of Modern Zionism (1981)  (An excellent study of ideas of 17 Zionist and pre-Zionist thinkers.)
  2. David Biale.  Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History (1986)  (Thoughtful study of concepts of power in Jewish history.)
  3. Amos Elon.  Israelis: Founders and Sons.  (1971)  (Classic portrait of the early days of Israel and Israel's conflicts and contradictions.)
  4. Amos Elon.  "Israel and the End of Zionism."  New York Review of Books (December 19, 2020)  (Reflections of issues of Zionism and Post-Zionism by a leading Israeli novelist and social critic.)
  5. Boas Evron and James Diamond.  Jewish State or Israeli Nation.  (1995)  (Analysis of the conflicts between Israel as a secular state and a religious nation.)
  6. Yaron Ezrahi.  Rubber Bullets: Power and Conscience in Modern Israel.  (1997)  (A fascinating one that delves into the Israeli mindset and the difficulties of dealing with Jews having power for the first time in generations.)
  7. Shulamit Hareven.  The Vocabulary of Peace.  (1995)  (Essays by a leading Israeli literary figure on numerous subjects.)
  8. Yoram Hazony.  The Jewish State: The Struggle for Israel's Soul.  (2000)  (A right-wing intellectual response to the leftist post-Zionist critique of Israel.)
  9. Barch Kimmerling.  (Editor) Israeli State and Society: Boundaries and Frontiers (1989)  (A collection on essays on the complex issues and cleavages within Israeli society.)
  10. Baruch Kimmerling.  Zionism and Territory: The Socio-Territorial Dimensions of Zionist Politics.  (1983) & Zionism and Economy.  (1983)  (Two works on Zionism by noted Hebrew University scholar.)
  11. Amos Oz. In the Land of Israel (1993) and Israel, Palestine, and Peace: Essays (1995)  (A Famous Israeli writer reflects in these books of essays on numerous aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict.)
  12. Ilan Pappe (Editor) Israel/Palestine Question.  (1999)  (Collection of revisionist essays covering many aspects of the conflict.)
  13. Ari Shavit.  "How Easily We Killed Them."  New York Times, May 27, 1996.  (Originally published in Hebrew in Ha'aretz.)  (Scathing critique of the Israeli bombing of Qana refugee camp in Operation Grapes of Wrath.  Reflects on how Israel's culture made it easy to dehumanize and kill its enemies.)
  14. Laurence J. Silberstein.  The PostZionism Debates: Knowledge and Power in Israeli Culture.  (1999) (Useful discussion of the debate within Israeli society over the future of Israeli identity as a Jewish state or a state of its citizens.)
  15. Michel Warschawski.  Towards and Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society (2004); Monthly Review Press
  16. Nathan Weinstock. Zionism: False Messiah (1989; Alan Adler, translator); Unwin Hyman (publisher)

I. The Palestinian Narrative

  1. Hadawi, Sami.  Bitter Harvest: A Modern History of Palestine (1990)  (A Palestinian History of the conflict.)
  2. Khalidi, Walid, All that Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948.  (1992)  (Encyclopedic account of Palestinian villages destroyed during the 1948 war.)
  3. Khalidi, Walid.  Before their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948. (1984)  (Photographic Description of Palestinian society before its destruction in the 1948 Nakba.)
  4. Muslih, Muhammad Y. The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism. (1988)  (Intelligent account of the early years of Palestinian Nationalism—thru 1920s)

J. Intifada and Occupation

  1. David Grossman.  The Yellow Wind.  (1988)  (Eloquent account of an Israeli novelist and his experiences during the early days of the Intifada.)
  2. Norman Finkelstein.  The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A Personal Account of the Intifada Years.(1996) (Finkelstein's account of the Intifada.)
  3. Amira Hass.  Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land under Siege.  (2000)  (An Israeli reporter's extraordinary account of her experiences living in Gaza.)
  4. Muna Hamzeh.  Refugees in Our Own Land: Chronicles from a Palestinian Refugee Camp in Bethlehem.  (September, 2001)  (Diary of Palestinian American woman living in Dheisheh Refugee camp.)
  5. Zachary Lockman & Joel Beinin (Editors).  Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Jewish Occupation.  (1989)  (Edited volume containing eyewitness accounts of the Intifada.)
  6. Ilan Peleg.  Human Rights in the West Bank and Gaza: Legacy and Politics.  (1996) (Study of the deterioration of human rights on West Bank and Gaza during the first Intifada.)
  7. Rosemary Radford Ruether and Marc H. Ellis (editors).  Beyond Occupation: American, Jewish, Christian, and Palestinian Voices for Peace.  (1990)  (Edited collection of essays about the Occupation.)
  8. Documentaries:
    1. Checkpoint: The Palestinians after Oslo (1998)—Account of Palestinians following the Oslo Accords directed by Tom Wright.
    2. Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone (1994)—Account of Israeli Housing Demolitions filmed by director Marty Rosenbluth.
    3. The People and the Land (1997)—A documentary discussing the American role in the supporting the Occupation by director Tom Hayes
    4. The Struggle for Peace: Israelis and Palestinians (1992) & The Road to Peace: Israelis and Palestinians (1995)—Two documentaries filmed during the first Intifada and the early days of the Oslo peace process, respectively, by Dr. Elizabeth Fernea

K. Palestinian Nationalism

  1. Baruch Kimmerling & Joel Migdal.  Palestinians: The Making of a People.  (1993)  (Historical account of the origins of the Palestinians.)
  2. Rashid Khalidi.  Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.  (1997)  (Excellent analysis of the development of the Palestinian National consciousness during the early part of the century.)
  3. Walid Khalidi.  Palestine Reborn.  (1993)  (Essays on Palestinian nationalism by a leading Palestinian academic.)
  4. Philip Mattar, The Mufti of Jerusalem: Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Palestinian National Movement.  (1988)  (An excellent revisionist biography attempts to demystify the life and times of the Mufti.)
  5. Don Peretz, Palestinians, Refugees, and the Middle East Peace Process.  (1993)  (Brief account of the situation of Palestinian refugees.)
  6. Danny Rubinstein.  The People of Nowhere: The Palestinian Vision of Hope.  (1991)  (Short account of the struggles of the Palestinian people by Ha'aretz's well-respected Arab Affairs correspondent.)
  7. Edward Said.  The Question of Palestine.  (1979)  (Dr. Said's analysis of The Palestine Question.)
  8. Janet & John Wallach.  Arafat: In the Eyes of the Beholder.  (2nd Edition, 1997)  (Biography of Yasser Arafat who for many decades has been the living symbol and incarnation of the Palestinian national movement.)

L. Israeli Arabs

  1. Yoram Binur, My Enemy, My Self (1989)  (Binur, an Israeli Sephardic Jew, spent several months living undercover as an Israeli Arab— story is fascinating and disturbing.)
  2. David Grossman.  Sleeping on a Wire: Conversations with Jews in Israel.  (1993)  (Grossman's book on his discussions with Israeli Arabs.)
  3. David Kretzmer, The Legal Status of Arabs in Israel.  (1990)  (Good book on the Israeli legal framework for dealing with Israeli Arabs.)
  4. Jacob Landau.  The Arab Minority in Israel, 1967-91.  (1993)  (Excellent study of the states of Arabs living in Israel.)
  5. Ian Lustick, Arabs in a Jewish State: Israel's Control of a National Minority (1980)  (Although a bit dated, this book—based on his dissertation—was one of the first on the status of Israeli Arabs.  It describes the manner in which Israel had managed to maintain peaceful relations with its Arab minority for many decades.
  6. Shabtai Teveth.  Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War.  (1985)  (Teveth describes in detail the attitudes of the founder of the Israeli state towards the Palestinian Arabs.)

M. Jerusalem

  1. Armstrong, Karen.  Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths.  (1996)  (Eloquent book written by a scholar and former Catholic Nuns of a city holy to three faiths.)
  2. Meron Benvenisti.  City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem.  (1996)  (The former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem explores the complex history of a city that he knows intimately.)
  3. Amir Cheshin, Bill Hutman, and Avi Melamed.  Separate and Unequal: The Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem.  (1999)  (Fascinating insider's account of Israel's policies in East Jerusalem and its efforts to ensure that the city would remain "united" under Israeli sovereignty.)
  4. Amos Elon.  Jerusalem: City of Mirrors.  (1989)  (Eloquent discussion of the history and religion in a city holy to three faiths.)

N. Holocaust and Anti-Semitism

  1. Memoirs of Holocaust Survivors:
    1. Tadeusz Borowski.  This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman.  (1992)  (Unflinching account of account of Auschwitz.)
    2. Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl.  (1952)  (The famous the young Diary of the Dutch teenage girl who has become an emblem of the Holocaust.  There are several movie versions of this story.)
    3. Primo Levi.  Survival in Aushwitz (1947), The Reawakening (1963) and The Drowned and the Saved (1987)  (The various memoirs of Italian Jewish Auschwitz survivor who committed suicide in 1987.)
    4. Solomn Perel.  Europa, Europa (1997)  (The bizarre story of a Jewish boy who manages to survive the war by pretending to be German and hiding out in a school for Hitler Youth.  Excellent move adaptation is available with English subtitles.)
    5. Elie Wiesel.  Night.  (1961)  (The Nobel Peace Prize Winner's eloquent Memoir of his time in Auschwitz.  It is a book that is powerful beyond words.)
    6. Simon Wiesenthal.  The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.  (Revised, 1998)  (The story of how a dying Nazi asked a young Simon Wiesenthal—later a famous Nazi hunter—for forgiveness.  The book includes dozens of personal and theological responses to the question: "Can evil be forgiven?")
    7. Holocaust Documentaries:
      1. Night and Fog (1955)
      2. Shoah (1985)
      3. Long Way Home (1997)
      4. The Last Days (1998)

  2. The effects of the Holocaust on Israel, America and the Jewish people
    1. Hannah Arendt.  Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.  (New Edition, 1994)  (Arendt's classic account of the 1961 Trial in Israel on Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann.  The book is a meditation on the nature of evil and justice among other things.)
    2. Zygmunt Bauman.  "The Holocaust as Life's Ghost." Tikkun.  (July/August, 1998)  (An analysis of how the ghosts of the Holocaust affect the psychology of modern Jews.)
    3. Marc Ellis.  Beyond Innocence and Redemption: Confronting the Holocaust and Israeli Power: Creating a Moral Future for the Jewish People.  (1990)  (A radical Rabbi examines the theological Implications of the Holocaust for Jewish and Israeli perceptions of their own power.)
    4. Norman Finklestein.  The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering.  (2000)  (Finkelstein, in a response to Novick, sharply critiques the merchandise and commercial exploitation of the Holocaust.)
    5. Edward T. Linenthal.  Preserving Memory: The Struggle to Create America's Holocaust Museum.  (1995)  (Detailed history of the struggles and conflicts involved in building the Holocaust Museum.)
    6. Peter Novick.  The Holocaust and American Life (1999)  (Fascinating, ground-breaking analysis of America of how Americans have become obsessed with the Holocaust.  Doesn't deal very directly with Israel, but has lots of implications for US attitudes and ideas about Israel.)
    7. Tom Segev.  The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust.  (1993)  (Israeli journalist/scholar analyses the effect that the Holocaust has had on the Israeli psyche and how it has become a dominant theme in Israeli life.)
    8. Shabtai Teveth.  Ben-Gurion and the Holocaust.  (1996)  (Teveth's study of David Ben-Gurion's efforts to rescue Jews during the Holocaust and the complex relationship between Holocaust rescue and Zionism.)

  3. Postwar Anti-Semitism
    1. Hannah Arendt.  Antisemitism.  (1968)  (The German Jewish intellectual's Study of anti-Semitism, originally published as the first part of her study of her Origins of Totalitarianism.)
    2. Natan Sharansky.  Fear No Evil (1988)  (Eloquent Pre-Politician memoir of the famous soviet refusenik's time in a Soviet Gulag.)
    3. Jacobo Timerman.  Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number.  (1981)  (The eloquent memoir of the crusading Argentine Jewish editor who was imprisoned and tortured by a brutal military junta partly because he was Jewish.  While living in exile in Israel, Timmerman wrote a book critical Israel's invasion of Lebanon.  He returned to Argentina after the restoration of democratic rule.)
    4. Elie Wiesel, Jews of Silence.  (1966)  (Beautifully-written book describing the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union.)

O. Conflict Resolution

  1. Mohammed Abu-Nimer.  Dialogue, Conflict Resolution and Change: Arab-Jewish Encounters in Israel (1999) & Reconciliation, Justice and Coexistence: Theory and Practice (2001)  (Two scholarly books by American University professor.  The first is a case study of conflict issues between Arabs and Jews.  The second book examines the conditions necessary to achieve reconciliation across several conflict areas including Ireland, Rwanda, South Africa and Israel.)
  2. Kevin Avruch.  Culture and Conflict Resolution (1998)  (Avruch argues for the importance of considering culture as an important factor in conflict resolution.)
  3. Peter Coleman and Morton Deutsch (Editors).  The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (2000)  (Edited handbook of conflict resolution materials for theoreticians and practitioners.)
  4. Grace Feuerverger.  Oasis of Dreams: Teaching and Learning Peace in a Jewish-Palestinian Village in Israel (2001)  (A study of Neve Shalom, the unique joint bicultural, bilingual Arab-Jewish peace village.)
  5. Harold Saunders.  A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflict (1999)  (Saunders describes a public process for Resolving racial and ethnic conflicts.)
  6. Eugene Weiner, ed.  The Handbook of Interethnic Coexistence (1998)  (Lengthy edited handbook on coexistence, sponsored by the Abraham Fund, covering issues related to numerous ethnic conflicts around the world.)

P. Islam, Arabs & the West

  1. Fouad Ajami.  The Arab Predicament: Arab Political Thought and Practice Since 1967 & Dream Palace of the Arabs.  (Iconoclastic analyses of Arab-American scholar highly critical of Arab nationalism & sympathetic to Israel.)
  2. Robert Allison.  Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815.  (1995)  (Intriguing—an often unknown—history f early U.S. interactions and attitudes towards the Islamic world.)
  3. John Esposito.  The Islamic Threat?: Myth or Reality (1992)  (Book by a leading scholar of Islam discusses the commonly-held view of Islam as threat to the West.)
  4. Paul Findley.  Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam.  (2001) (Former Congressman addresses the negative stereotypes that many Americans hold about Islam.)
  5. Samuel Huntington.  Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order.  (1998)  (Seminal article is republished here with several critical responses.  The author argues that the post-Cold War conflicts will occur along civilization fault lines including Islam vs.  West.)
  6. Bernard Lewis.  Islam and the West.  (1994) (Eleven essays by the prominent Princeton historian on the relationship between Islam and the West.  Includes a scathing critique of Said's Orientalism.)
  7. Edward Said.  Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World.  (1981)  (Edward Said analyzes The negative manner in which the US media reports about Islam.)
  8. Edward Said.  Orientalism (1978)  (Said's now classic analysis of the negative stereotypes and perceptions of the Middle East as perceived by Western—particularly European—society.)
  9. Jack Shaheen.  Arab and Muslim Stereotypes in American Popular Culture.  (1997)  (A report from the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University on Arab and Muslims stereotypes in American popular culture.)
  10. Michael Suleiman.  Arabs in the Mind of America.  (1988)  (A well-researched academic study of the negative images the American public has of Arabs.)
  11. Keith Whitelam.  The Invention of Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History.  (1996) (A study that tries to explain why the academic discourse has focused primarily on the narrative of ancient Israel to the exclusion of all other historical narratives.)

Q. The US-Israel Relationship

  1. Yaakov Ariel.  On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes Towards Jews, Judaism, and Zionism, 1865-1945.  (1991)  (Academic study of the Christian fundamentalist attitudes supporting Jews and Zionism.)
  2. George Ball.  The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present.  (A highly critical analysis of the U.S. support for Israel by a former Assistant Secretary State.)
  3. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Decade of Transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the Origins of the American-Israeli Alliance.  (1998) (Academic study based on declassified documents that explain the origins of the US-Israel alliance between 1958-1968.)
  4. Avner Cohen.  Israel and the Bomb.  (1998)  (Currently, the best work available on the Israel's acquisition of nuclear weapons and U.S.'s role in the process.)
  5. Noam Chomsky.  Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians.  (1983)  (Chomsky argues that the U.S.-Israel relationship is based on America's strategic interest in enhancing its imperialistic world hegemony.)
  6. Kathleen Christenson.  Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy.  (1999)  (Readable history of how U.S. Foreign policy has constantly ignored Palestinian interests in favor of Israeli interests.)
  7. Richard Curtiss.  Stealth PACs: How Israel's American Lobby took Control of U.S. Middle East Policy.  (1990)  (Argues for the power of pro-Israel PACs in creating the US-Israel Alliance via PAC contributions to lawmakers.)
  8. Paul Findley.  They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby.  (1985)  (The former Congressman argues that the powerful of the pro-Israel lobby terrorizes Congress and limits free speech about MidEast policy.)
  9. J.J. Goldberg.  Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment.  (1996)  (Highly readable, journalistic study of the power and influence of the Jewish establishment in determining American policy decisions.)
  10. Peter Grose.  Israel in the American Mind.  (1983)  (Excellent historical study of the manner in which Israel has been perceived by Americans.)
  11. Rashid Khalidi, "What's Final Status?" New York Times (October 3, 2020)  (Khalidi's article following the 1996 tunnel riots discusses the process by which Israel has used archaeology to privilege Jewish history over Palestinian history.)
  12. Camille Mansour.  Beyond Alliance: Israel in U.S. Foreign Policy.  (1994)  (Careful, well-researched, scholarly work by a Palestinian scholar that debunked some of the standard arguments about the U.S.-Israel alliance and argues that it is more closely related to culture than to strategic concerns.)
  13. Steven Spiegel.  The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict, the Making of American Foreign Policy, from Truman to Reagan.  (1985)  (Argues that U.S. Foreign Policy has been based primarily on strategic factors; sympathetic to Israel.)
  14. Richard Stockton.  "Christian Zionism: Prophecy and Public Opinion." Middle East Journal.  (Spring, 1987)  (Well-researched article on Christian Zionism argues that Zionism is deeply-rooted in American Christian culture.)