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We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters, informing them of issues, events, debates and the wider context of the conflict. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
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Leon Rosselson, letter to the Guardian, 28 July 2014

“Before the current round of violence, the West Bank had been relatively quiet for years,” writes Jonathan Freedland (Israel’s fears are real, but this war is utterly self-defeating, 26 July). According to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights centre, 90 West Bank Palestinians were killed, 16 of them children, by the IDF or by settlers between January 2009 and May 2014. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there have been 2,100 settler attacks since 2006, involving beatings, shootings, vandalising schools, homes, mosques, churches and destroying olive groves. According to Amnesty International, between January 2011 and December 2013, Israeli violence resulted in injuries to 1,500 Palestinian children. “Relatively quiet” for whom?
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Posts

Most Recently Published Books

RECENT BOOKS RELATING TO ISRAEL/PALESTINE

It is planned to try to update this section every 8 to 10 weeks. 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:

1. MEMOIRS/BIOGRAPHY/ORAL TESTIMONIES
2. THE ARTS – FICTION/POETRY/PHOTOGRAPHY
3. HISTORY
4. CURRENT AFFAIRS/POLITICS

 

Posted 27 July 2014

 

MEMOIRS/BIOGRAPHY/ORAL TESTIMONIES

Diana Allen: Refugees of the revolution: Experiences of Palestinian exile (2013)

 

THE ARTS – FICTION/POETRY/PHOTOGRAPHY

Rada Ashour: The woman from Tantoura (2014)

 

Henry Bell & Sarah Irving (eds.): A bird is not a stone: An anthology of Palestinian poetry (2014)

 

Najwan Darwish: Nothing more to lose (2014)

 

Khaled Mattawa: Mahmoud Darwish: The poet’s art and his nation (2014)

 

Atef Abu Saif (ed.): The book of Gaza: A city in short fiction (2014)

 

HISTORY

Lori Allen: The rise and fall of human rights: Cynicism and politics in Occupied Palestine (2013)

 

Ahron Bregman: Cursed victory (2014)

 

Galia Golan: Israeli peacemaking since 1967 (2014)

 

Mustafa Kabha: The Palestinian people: Seeking sovereignty and state (2013)

 

Ari Shavit: My Promised Land: The triumph and tragedy of Israel (2014)

 

Leslie Stein: Israel since the Six-Day war (2014)

 

CURRENT AFFAIRS/POLITICS

Mark LeVine & Mathias Mossberg: One land: Israel and Palestine as two parallel states (2014)

 

 

MEMOIRS/BIOGRAPHY/ORAL TESTIMONIES

Diana Allen: Refugees of the revolution: Experiences of Palestinian exile (Stanford University Press, 2013, paperback £21.50)

Publisher’s description: Some sixty-five years after 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homeland, the popular conception of Palestinian refugees still emphasizes their fierce commitment to exercising their “right of return.” Exile has come to seem a kind of historical amber, preserving refugees in a way of life that ended abruptly with “the catastrophe” of 1948 and their camps—inhabited now for four generations—as mere zones of waiting. While reducing refugees to symbols of steadfast single-mindedness has been politically expedient to both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict it comes at a tremendous cost for refugees themselves, overlooking their individual memories and aspirations and obscuring their collective culture in exile. Refugees of the Revolution is an evocative and provocative examination of everyday life in Shatila, a refugee camp in Beirut. Challenging common assumptions about Palestinian identity and nationalist politics, Diana Allan provides an immersive account of camp experience, of communal and economic life as well as inner lives, tracking how residents relate across generations, cope with poverty and marginalization, and plan––pragmatically and speculatively—for the future. (…) This groundbreaking book offers a richly nuanced account of Palestinian exile, and presents new possibilities for the future of the community.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews

 

 
THE ARTS – FICTION/POETRY/PHOTOGRAPHY

Rada Ashour: The woman from Tantoura (American University in Cairo Press, 2014, paperback, £12.99)

Publisher’s description: Palestine. For most of us, the word brings to mind a series of confused images and disjointed associations—massacres, refugee camps, UN resolutions, settlements, terrorist attacks, war, occupation, checkered kuffiyehs and suicide bombers, a seemingly endless cycle of death and destruction. This novel does not shy away from such painful images, but it is first and foremost a powerful human story, following the life of a young girl from her days in the village of al-Tantoura in Palestine up to the dawn of the new century. We participate in events as they unfold, seeing them through the uneducated but sharply intelligent mind of Ruqayya, as she tries to make sense of all that has happened to her and her family. With her, we live her love of her land and of her people; we feel the repeated pain of loss, of diaspora, and of cross-generational misunderstanding; and above all, we come to know her indomitable human spirit.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada

 

Henry Bell & Sarah Irving (eds.): A bird is not a stone: An anthology of Palestinian poetry (Freight Books, 2014, paperback, £9.99)

Publisher’s description: A major collection of contemporary Palestinian poetry translated by 25 of Scotland’s very best writers including Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead, James Robertson, Jackie Kay, William Letford,  Aonghas MacNeacail, DM Black, Tom Pow, Ron Butlin and John Glenday. Edited by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. A Bird is Not a Stone is a unique cultural exchange, giving both English and Arabic readers a unique insight into the political, social and emotional landscape of today’s Palestine. Includes both established and emerging Palestinian poets.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada

 

Najwan Darwish: Nothing more to lose (NYRB Poets, 2014, paperback, £7.99)

Publisher’s description: Nothing More to Lose is the first collection of poems by Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish to appear in English. Hailed across the Arab world and beyond, Darwish’s poetry walks the razor’s edge between despair and resistance, between dark humor and harsh political realities. With incisive imagery and passionate lyricism, Darwish confronts themes of equality and justice while offering a radical, more inclusive, rewriting of what it means to be both Arab and Palestinian living in Jerusalem, his birthplace.

Reviews: NPR Books
Electronic Intifada

 

Khaled Mattawa: Mahmoud Darwish: The poet’s art and his nation (Syracuse University Press, 2014, £14.72)
 Publisher’s description: In Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation, Mattawa pays tribute to one of the most celebrated and well-read poets of our era. With detailed knowledge of Arabic verse and a firm grounding in Palestinian history, Mattawa explores the ways in which Darwish’s aesthetics have played a crucial role in shaping and maintaining Palestinian identity and culture through decades of warfare, attrition, exile, and land confiscation. Mattawa chronicles the evolution of his poetry, from a young poet igniting resistance in occupied land to his decades in exile where his work grew in ambition and scope. In doing so, Mattawa reveals Darwish’s verse to be both rooted to its place of longing and to transcend place, as it reaches for the universal and the human.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada

 

Atef Abu Saif (ed.): The book of Gaza: A city in short fiction (Comma Books, 2014, paperback, £9.99)

Publisher’s description: Under the Israeli occupation of the ’70s and ’80s, writers in Gaza had to go to considerable lengths to ever have a chance of seeing their work in print. Manuscripts were written out longhand, invariably under pseudonyms, and smuggled out of the Strip to Jerusalem, Cairo or Beirut, where they then had to be typed up. Consequently, fiction grew shorter, novels became novellas, and short stories flourished as the city’s form of choice. Indeed, to Palestinians elsewhere, Gaza became known as ‘the exporter of oranges and short stories’. This anthology brings together some of the pioneers of the Gazan short story from that era, as well as younger exponents of the form, with ten stories that offer glimpses of life in the Strip that go beyond the global media headlines; stories of anxiety, oppression, and violence, but also of resilience and hope, of what it means to be a Palestinian, and how that identity is continually being reforged; stories of ordinary characters struggling to live with dignity in what many have called ‘the largest prison in the world’.

Reviews: Electronic Intifada 

 

HISTORY

Lori Allen: The rise and fall of human rights: Cynicism and politics in Occupied Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2013, paperback, £21.50)

Publisher’s description: The Rise and Fall of Human Rights provides a groundbreaking ethnographic investigation of the Palestinian human rights world—its NGOs, activists, and “victims,” as well as their politics, training, and discourse—since 1979. Though human rights activity began as a means of struggle against the Israeli occupation, in failing to end the Israeli occupation, protect basic human rights, or establish an accountable Palestinian government, the human rights industry has become the object of cynicism for many Palestinians. But far from indicating apathy, such cynicism generates a productive critique of domestic politics and Western interventionism. This book illuminates the successes and failures of Palestinians’ varied engagements with human rights in their quest for independence.

Reviews: H-Net
Allegra

 

Ahron Bregman: Cursed victory (Allen Lane, 2014, £25)

Publisher’s description: Cursed Victory tells the story of Israel’s troubled presence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula since its sweeping victory in the 1967 Six Day War. Drawing on countless high-level interviews, never-before-seen letters and top secret memos, distinguished Israeli historian Ahron Bregman traces the evolution of the military occupation over four decades. Cursed Victory provides vivid portraits of the key players in this unfolding drama, including Moshe Dayan, Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat, yet always reminds the reader how diplomatic negotiations in Madrid, New York and Oslo impacted the daily lives of millions of Arabs.

Reviews: Guardian
Economist

 

Galia Golan: Israeli peacemaking since 1967 (Routledge, 2014, paperback, £28.99)

Publisher’s description: Examining the Israeli-Arab conflict as an “intractable conflict,” Israeli Peacemaking since 1967 seeks to determine just which factors, or combination of factors, impacted on Israel’s position in past peace-making efforts, possibly accounting for breakthroughs or failures to reach agreement. From King Hussein’s little known overtures immediately after the Six-Day War, through President Sadat’s futile efforts to avoid war in the early 1970s, to repeated third-party-mediated talks with Syria, factors including deep-seated mistrust, leadership style, and domestic political spoilers contributed to failures even as public opinion and international circumstances may have been favourable. How these and other factors intervened, changed or were handled, allowing for the few breakthroughs (with Egypt and Jordan) or the near breakthrough of the Annapolis process with the Palestinians, provides not only an understanding of the past but possible keys for future Israeli-Arab peace efforts. Employing extensive use of archival material, as well as interviews and thorough research of available sources, this book provides insight on just which factors, or combination of factors, account for breakthroughs or failures to reach agreement; a framework useful for examining both the Israeli-Arab conflict and intractable conflicts in general.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Mustafa Kabha: The Palestinian people: Seeking sovereignty and state (Lynne Reiner, 2013, £51.50)

Publisher’s description: Mustafa Kabha plumbs the complex story of the Palestinian people, from the revolts of 1936-1939 to the present, focusing on their efforts to establish a viable independent state—and the internal factors that have thwarted them. With unparalleled access to primary sources, as well as secondary material in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, Kabha provides an abundance of new information in a sweeping historical context.  Uniquely combining his overarching narrative with the narratives of the multiple Palestinian communities throughout the Middle East, he makes a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of the political, social, and cultural dimensions of Palestinian history.

Reviews: Middle East Media & Book Reviews Online

 

Shavit, Ari: My Promised Land: The triumph and tragedy of Israel (Scribe Publications, 2014, £20)

Publisher’s description: Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. My Promised Land tells the story of Israel as it has never been told before, and asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? And can Israel survive? Through revealing stories of significant events and lives of ordinary individuals — the youth group leader who recognised the potential of Masada as a powerful symbol for Zionism; the young farmer who bought an orange grove from his Arab neighbour in the 1920s, and helped to create a booming economy in Palestine; the engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program; the religious Zionists who started the settler movement — Israeli journalist Ari Shavit illuminates the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing and uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present.
Reviews: Guardian
New York Review of Books

 

Leslie Stein: Israel since the Six-Day war (Polity Books, 2014, £25)

Publisher’s description: Completing his acclaimed trilogy on the history of Israel, Leslie Stein brings readers right up to contemporary events in Israel Since the Six-Day War. Stein vividly chronicles Israel’s wars and military engagements, but he also incorporates fascinating assessments of many other issues, including Israel’s economic development, the nature of the PLO and Palestinian Authority, and Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, Stein explores broader social issues, such as extremist Jewish movements and the varying fortunes of migrants from Russia and Ethiopia, to convey clearly a sense of the diversity and complexity of modern Israel.

Reviews: none yet available

 

CURRENT AFFAIRS/POLITICS

Mark LeVine & Mathias Mossberg: One land: Israel and Palestine as two parallel states (University of California Press,2014, paperback, £19.95)

 
Publisher’s description: One Land, Two States imagines a new vision for Israel and Palestine in a situation where the peace process has failed to deliver an end of conflict. “If the land cannot be shared by geographical division, and if a one-state solution remains unacceptable,” the book asks, “can the land be shared in some other way?” Leading Palestinian and Israeli experts along with international diplomats and scholars answer this timely question by examining a scenario with two parallel state structures, both covering the whole territory between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, allowing for shared rather than competing claims of sovereignty. Such a political architecture would radically transform the nature and stakes of the Israel-Palestine conflict, open up for Israelis to remain in the West Bank and maintain their security position, enable Palestinians to settle in all of historic Palestine, and transform Jerusalem into a capital for both of full equality and independence—all without disturbing the demographic balance of each state. Exploring themes of security, resistance, diaspora, globalism, and religion, as well as forms of political and economic power that are not dependent on claims of exclusive territorial sovereignty, this pioneering book offers new ideas for the resolution of conflicts worldwide.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews

 

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