Most Recently Published Books
RECENT BOOKS RELATING TO ISRAEL/PALESTINE
It is planned to try to update this section every 3 to 4 months. Please contact us if you have any comments or ideas for new books to be included in a future posting.
When the page is updated, all books previously posted on this page are transferred to a set of pages organised under the following headings:
RECENT BOOKS RELATING TO ISRAEL/PALESTINE
Posted 15th October 2015
THE ARTS – FICTION/POETRY/PHOTOGRAPHY
Publisher’s description: In 2007, in a chance conversation with her mother, a kibbutznik, Jasmine Donahaye stumbled upon the collusion of her family in the displacement of Palestinians in 1948. She set out to learn the story of what happened, and discovered an earlier and rarely discussed piece of history during the British Mandate in Palestine. Her discoveries challenged everything she thought she knew about the country and her family, and transformed her understanding of the place, and of herself. (…) Losing Israel is a moving and honest account which spans travel writing, nature writing and memoir. Losing Israel works on many levels – family relationships, the nature of patriotism and nationalism, cultural dislocation, the story of the Jewish diaspora and Israel, how history changes from one generation to the next, the histories of the dispossessed and the oppressed.
Publisher’s description: Children of the Stone is the unlikely story of Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, a boy from a Palestinian refugee camp in Ramallah who confronts the occupying army, gets an education, masters an instrument, dreams of something much bigger than himself, and then inspires scores of others to work with him to make that dream a reality. That dream is of a music school in the midst of a refugee camp in Ramallah, a school that will transform the lives of thousands of children through music. (…) Children of the Stone is a story about music, freedom and conflict; determination and vision. It’s a vivid portrait of life amid checkpoints and military occupation, a growing movement of nonviolent resistance, the past and future of musical collaboration across the Israeli-Palestinian divide, and the potential of music to help children see new possibilities for their lives. against the odds to create something lasting and beautiful in a war-torn land.
Publisher’s description: In the summer of 2014, Gaza was attacked by Israel for the fourth time since 2006. This attack lasted fifty-one days. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor, had worked at al-Shifa Hospital during each previous conflict, and in July 2014 he went back there. While he was helping the wounded, he kept a camera in the pocket of his green operating scrubs. In this book, he tells the story in words and images of the fifteen days of bombing and human suffering that he witnessed. At the same time, this book is a tribute to the courage, endurance and almost inconceivably strong spirit of Palestinian health workers and volunteers, a spirit replicated throughout the severely tested society of Gaza, occupied Palestine.
Publisher’s description: What does it take to discover the truth? Betrayal? Deception? Risking one’s own life? Omar Ouda did it all. Vanished is a fictional story set against the political unrest in Palestine, following a young boy trying to find his father. The deeper he delves into his father’s mysterious disappearance, the more he finds himself forced to make terrible choices, testing his loyalty to his country and his family. The book is also about friendship born out of difficult circumstances, presented here through the character of Ahmed who risks his life to help his friend in the quest to find his father. (…) While politics provide an important background to the story, the novel does not aim to put forth any political arguments. Instead, it sheds light on what it is like for two young boys to lead an ordinary life in an extraordinary place often described as ‘hell on earth.’
Publisher’s description: A crossroads of religions, politics, and cultures with deep symbolic and historical significance, the holy land of Palestine has a resonance far greater than its size. Notably, the centuries-old conflict there has catapulted this tiny area to the center of the world stage. For reasons such as these, Palestine has long been a source of fascination for photographers, and it is one of the most frequently photographed places in the world. This engrossing publication examines images of Palestine taken over the course of nearly 200 years, showing the various phases of its pictorial history. Elias Sanbar provides commentaries on this impressive and visually stunning opus, showing how a highly symbolic place and its people have been both captured and abstracted by the camera.
Reviews: none yet available
Fazal Sheikh: The erasure trilogy: Memory trace; Desert bloom; Independence/Nakba (Steidl, 2015, £78)
Publisher’s description: The Erasure Trilogy explores the anguish caused by the loss of memory—by forgetting, amnesia or suppression—and the resulting human desire to preserve memory, all seen through the prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Memory Trace depicts the ruins caused by the Arab-Israeli War of 1948: portraits of those traumatized by violence, devastated landscapes and fragments of buildings. This visual poem suggests the irreparable loss of a lingering past that augurs a painful and difficult future. Tracing the ironic consequences of David Ben-Gurion’s dream of settling the Negev and making the “desert bloom,” the aerial photographs in Sheikh’s Desert Bloom reveal the myriad actions that have displaced and erased the Bedouins who have lived in the desert for generations. Here we see the extreme transformation of the landscape through erosion, mining, military training camps, the demolition of villages and afforestation. Through Sheikh’s lens the desert becomes both an archive of violence and a record of human attempts to erase it. Independence | Nakba consists of sixty-six diptychs — one for each year since 1948 — pairing people from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of gradually increasing age. The double portraits query the relations between Israelis and Palestinians before the founding of the Israeli State (each image depicts either someone who lived in Palestine before the founding of the Israeli State, or someone whose ancestors did). Desert Bloom Notes (…) explores the historical and contemporary clues along the shifting surface of the desert, and what lies hidden, sealed within Sheikh’s aerial landscapes of the Negev.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: Hundreds of Palestinian villages were left empty across Israel when their residents became refugees after the 1948 war, their lands and property confiscated. Most of the villages were razed by the new State of Israel, but in dozens of others, communities of Jews were settled—many refugees in their own right. The state embarked on a systematic effort of renaming and remaking the landscape, and the Arab presence was all but erased from official maps and histories. Israelis are familiar with the ruins, terraces, and orchards that mark these sites today—almost half are located within tourist areas or national parks—but public descriptions rarely acknowledge that Arab communities existed there within living memory or describe how they came to be depopulated. Using official archives, kibbutz publications, and visits to the former village sites, Noga Kadman has reconstructed this history of erasure for all 418 depopulated villages.
Publisher’s description: It has been the home to priests and prostitutes, poets and spies. It has been the stage for an improbable flirtation between an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy living on opposite sides of the barbed wire that separated enemy nations. It has even been the scene of an unsolved international murder. This one-time shepherd’s path between Jerusalem and Bethlehem has been a dividing line for decades. Peacekeepers that monitored the steep fault line dubbed it “Barbed Wire Alley.” To folks on either side of the border, it was the same thing: A dangerous no-man’s land separating warring nations and feuding cultures. The barbed wire came down in 1967. But it was soon supplanted by evermore formidable cultural, emotional and political barriers separating Arab and Jew. For nearly two decades, coils of barbed wire ran right down the middle of what became Assael Street, marking the fissure between Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem and Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem. In a beautiful narrative, A Street Divided offers a more intimate look at one road at the heart of the conflict, where inches really do matter.
Publisher’s description: Popular Protest in Palestine provides an overview and analysis of the role and significance of unarmed civil (popular) resistance in the Palestinian national movement. The main focus is on the contemporary popular resistance movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), but it is prefaced by a historical review of the thread of unarmed civil resistance that has run throughout the history of the Palestinian liberation struggle. It informs a contemporary readership about this under-emphasised dimension of the Palestinian struggle, arguing that at the present juncture the popular resistance movement, especially in the West Bank, is the most significant form of struggle against the ongoing occupation. Popular Protest in Palestine also addresses the international dimensions of the Palestinian struggle, focusing in particular on the BDS campaign, the role of international solidarity activists in the OPT and beyond, and the changing forms of engagement developed by international agencies seeking to work on the roots of the conflict whilst fulfilling their humanitarian aid mandates.
Reviews: Peace News
Publisher’s description: Israelis are bold and visionary, passionate and generous. But they can also be grandiose and self-absorbed. Emerging from the depths of Jewish history and the drama of the Zionist rebellion against it, they have a deeply conflicted identity. They are willing to sacrifice themselves for the collective, but also to sacrifice that very collective for a higher, and likely unattainable, ideal. Resolving these internal conflicts and coming to terms with the trauma of the Holocaust are imperative to Israel’s survival as a nation and to the stability of the world. Alon Gratch, a clinical psychologist whose family has lived in Israel for generations, is uniquely positioned to confront these issues. (…) Drawing on a broad cultural and historical canvas, and weaving in the author’s personal and professional experience, The Israeli Mind presents a provocative, first-hand portrait of the Israeli national character.
Publisher’s description: War Against the People is a disturbing insight into the new ways world powers such as the US, Israel, Britain and China forge war today. It is a subliminal war of surveillance and whitewashed terror, conducted through new, high-tech military apparatuses, designed and first used in Israel against the Palestinian population. Including hidden camera systems, sophisticated sensors, information databases on civilian activity, automated targeting systems and, in some cases, unmanned drones, it is used to control the very people the nation’s leaders profess to serve. Drawing from years of research, as well as investigations and interviews conducted at international arms fairs, Jeff Halper reveals that this practice is much more insidious than was previously thought.
Publisher’s description: In Israel and South Africa, Ilan Pappé, one of Israel’s preeminent academics and a noted critic of the current government, brings together lawyers, journalists, policy makers, and historians of both countries to assess the implications of the apartheid analogy for international law, activism and policy making.
Reviews: none yet available