Older books – History
This page contains details of books previously listed on the Most Recently Published Books page. Books are listed in alphabetical order of the author. All the books were published in 2014 or later; earlier books previously listed on this page can be found here.
Ifrat Ben-Ze’ev: Remembering Palestine in 1948: Beyond national narratives (2014)
Irus Braverman: Planted flags: Trees, land & the law in Israel (2014)
Richard Falk: Palestine: The legitimacy of hope (2015)
Jean-Pierre Filiu: Gaza: A history (2014)
Norman Finkelstein: Old wine, broken bottle: Avi Shavit’s Promised Land (2014)
Norman Finkelstein: Method and madness: The hidden story of Israel’s assaults on Gaza (2015)
Galia Golan: Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking since 1967: Factors behind the breakthroughs & failures (2014)
Ran Greenstein: Zionism & its discontents: A century of radical dissent in Israel/Palestine (2014)
Cherine Hussein: The re-emergence of the Single State Solution in Palestine/Israel (2015)
John Judis: Genesis: Truman, American Jews and the origins of Israel (2014)
Noga Kadman: Erased from space and consciousness: Israel and the depopulated villages of 1948 (2015)
Menachem Klein: Lives in common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa & Hebron (2014)
Mansour Nasasra et al. (Eds.): The Naqab Bedouin and colonialism (2015)
Dion Nissenbaum: A street divided (2015)
Ilan Pappe: The idea of Israel: A history of power and knowledge (2014)
Anders Persson: The EU and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 1971-2013: In pursuit of a just peace (2015)
Sarah Seiklay: Men of capital: Scarcity and economy in Mandate Palestine (2015)
Anne Shlay & G.Rosen: Jerusalem: The spatial politics of a divided metropolis (2015)
John Quigley: The international diplomacy of Israel’s founders: Deception at the UN in the quest for Palestine (2016)
Ahmed Qurie: Peace negotiations in Palestine: From the second Intifada to the Roadmap (2014)
Yakov Rabkin: What is modern Israel? (2016)
Ron Schleifer: Psychological warfare in the Arab-Israeli conflict (2014)
Anne Shlay & G.Rosen: Jerusalem: The spatial politics of a divided metropolis (2015)
Milton Vorst: Zionism: The birth and transformation of an ideal (2016)
Lawrence Wright: Thirteen days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David (2014)
Publisher’s description: The war of 1948 in Palestine is a conflict whose history has been written primarily from the national point of view. This book asks what happens when narratives of war arise out of personal stories of those who were involved, stories that are still unfolding. Efrat Ben-Ze’ev examines the memories of those who participated and were affected by the events of 1948, and how these events have been mythologized over time. This is a three-way conversation between Palestinian villagers, Jewish-Israeli veterans, and British policemen who were stationed in Palestine on the eve of the war. Each has his or her story to tell. These small-scale truths shed new light on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it was then and as it has become.
Reviews: Historical Dialogues
Publisher’s description:Planted Flags tells an extraordinary story about the mundane uses of law and landscape in the war between Israelis and Palestinians. The book is structured around the two dominant tree landscapes in Israel/Palestine: pine forests and olive groves. The pine tree, which is usually associated with the Zionist project of afforesting the Promised Land, is contrasted with the olive tree, which Palestinians identify as a symbol of their longtime connection to the land. What is it that makes these seemingly innocuous, even natural, acts of planting, cultivating, and uprooting trees into acts of war? How is this war reflected, mediated, and, above all, reinforced through the polarization of the ‘natural’ landscape into two juxtaposed landscapes? And what is the role of law in this story? Planted Flags explores these questions through an ethnographic study. By telling the story of trees through the narratives of military and government officials, architects, lawyers, Palestinian and Israeli farmers, and Jewish settlers, the seemingly static and mute landscape assumes life, expressing the cultural, economic, and legal dynamics that constantly shape and reshape it.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: The distinguished legal scholar Richard Falk recently completed his term as term as UN Special Rapporteur on occupied Palestine. Now, with Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope, he powerfully illuminates the transformation of the Palestinians’ struggle over recent years into a struggle for legitimacy, similar to that pursued by all the anti-colonial movements of the twentieth century. This shift, he writes in the Introduction, “is… reinforced by disillusionment with both Palestinian armed resistance and conventional international diplomacy, most recently dramatized by the collapse of direct negotiations on April 29, 2014… Such disillusionment also coincides with the spreading awareness that the so-called ‘two-state consensus’ has reached a dead end. Falk builds the book’s narrative around a series of essays originally published on his personal blog between 2010 and early 2014. It provides both a nuanced portrait of the development of the Palestinian resistance movement(s) and an appropriately strong focus on the key role that international law and institutions and global solidarity movements have played in this struggle. (…) He discerns numerous signs of hope that the Palestinian people can harness the growing international attention and solidarity their struggle has achieved and break free of the apartheid and occupation that they have long endured.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Publisher’s description: Through its millennium–long existence, Gaza has often been bitterly disputed while simultaneously and paradoxically enduring prolonged neglect. Jean-Pierre Filiu’s book is the first comprehensive history of Gaza in any language. Squeezed between the Negev and Sinai deserts on the one hand and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, Gaza was contested by the Pharaohs, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Fatimids, the Mamluks, the Crusaders and the Ottomans. Napoleon had to secure it in 1799 to launch his failed campaign on Palestine. In 1917, the British Empire fought for months to conquer Gaza, before establishing its mandate on Palestine.
In 1948, 200,000 Palestinians sought refuge in Gaza, a marginal area neither Israel nor Egypt wanted. Palestinian nationalism grew there, and Gaza has since found itself at the heart of Palestinian history. It is in Gaza that the fedayeen movement arose from the ruins of Arab nationalism. It is in Gaza that the 1967 Israeli occupation was repeatedly challenged, until the outbreak of the 1987 intifada. And it is in Gaza, in 2007, that the dream of Palestinian statehood appeared to have been shattered by the split between Fatah and Hamas.
Publisher’s description: My Promised Land by Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit has been one of the most widely discussed and lavishly praised books about Israel in recent years. (…) Were he not already inured to the logrolling that passes for informed opinion on this topic, Norman Finkelstein might have been surprised, astonished even. That’s because, as he reveals with typical precision, My Promised Land is riddled with omission, distortion, falsehood, and sheer nonsense. In brief chapters that analyze Shavit’s defense of Zionism and Israel’s Jewish identity, its nuclear arsenal and its refusal to negotiate peace, Finkelstein shows how highly selective criticism and sanctimonious handwringing are deployed to create a paean to modern Israel more sophisticated than the traditional our-country-right-or-wrong. In this way, Shavit hopes to win back an American Jewish community increasingly alienated from a place it once regarded as home. However, because the myths he recycles have been so comprehensively shattered, this project is unlikely to succeed.
Publisher’s description: In the past five years Israel has mounted three major assaults on the 1.8 million Palestinians trapped behind its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Taken together, Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and Operation Protective Edge (2014), have resulted in the deaths of some 3,700 Palestinians. Meanwhile, a total of 90 Israelis were killed in the invasions. On the face of it, this succession of vastly disproportionate attacks has often seemed frenzied and pathological. Senior Israeli politicians have not discouraged such perceptions, indeed they have actively encouraged them. After the 2008-9 assault Israel’s then-foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, boasted, “Israel demonstrated real hooliganism during the course of the recent operation, which I demanded.” However, as Norman G. Finkelstein sets out in this concise, paradigm-shifting new book, a closer examination of Israel’s motives reveals a state whose repeated recourse to savage war is far from irrational. Rather, Israel’s attacks have been designed to sabotage the possibility of a compromise peace with the Palestinians, even on terms that are favorable to it. Looking also at machinations around the 2009 UN sponsored Goldstone report and Turkey’s forlorn attempt to seek redress in the UN for the killing of its citizens in the 2010 attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla, Finkelstein documents how Israel has repeatedly eluded accountability for what are now widely recognized as war crimes.
Publisher’s description: Mainstream nationalist narratives and political movements have dominated the Israeli-Palestinian situation for too long. In this much-needed book, Ran Greenstein challenges this hegemony by focusing on four different, but at the same time connected, attempts which stood up to Zionist dominance and the settlement project before and after 1948. Greenstein begins by addressing the role of the Palestinian Communist Party, and then the bi-nationalist movement, before moving on to the period after 1948 when Palestinian attempts to challenge their unjust conditions of marginalisation became more frequent. Finally, he confronts the radical anti-Zionist Matzpen group, which operated from the early 1960s–80s. In addition to analyses of the shifting positions of these movements, Greenstein examines perspectives regarding a set of conceptual issues: colonialism and settlement, race/ethnicity and class, and questions of identity, rights and power, and how, such as in the case of South Africa, these relations should be seen as global.
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.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: Providing the first in-depth intellectual and organizational mapping of the single state idea’s recent resurgence in Palestine/Israel, this book enquires into its nature as a phenomenon of resistance, as well as into its potential as a counterhegemonic force in the making against the processes of Zionism. Reconstructing this moment of re-emergence through primary material and interviews with diverse influential intellectuals—its analysis highlights their self-understandings, worldviews, strategies and perceptions of the phenomenon in which they are involved, while questioning whether the single state idea has the potential to become a Gramscian inspired movement of resistance against Zionism.
Publisher’s description:There has been more than half a century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world. In Genesis, John B. Judis argues that, while Israelis and Palestinians must shoulder much of the blame, the United States has been the principal power outside the region since the end of World War II and as such must account for its repeated failed efforts to resolve this enduring strife. The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis shows, can be traced back to the Truman years. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century. As a result, understanding that period holds the key to explaining almost everything that follows—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace through holding elections among the Palestinians, and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both parties to the negotiating table. A provocative narrative history animated by a strong analytical and moral perspective, and peopled by colorful and outsized personalities, Genesis offers a fresh look at these critical postwar years, arguing that if we can understand how this stalemate originated, we will be better positioned to help end it.
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: Most books dealing with the Israeli–Palestinian conflict see events through the eyes of policy-makers, generals or diplomats. Menachem Klein offers an illuminating alternative by telling the intertwined histories, from street level upwards, of three cities — Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron — and their intermingled Jewish, Muslim and Christian inhabitants, from the nineteenth century to the present. Each of them was and still is a mixed city. Jerusalem and Hebron are holy places, while Jaffa till 1948 was Palestine’s principal city and main port of entry. Klein portrays a society in the late Ottoman period in which Jewish-Arab interactions were intense, frequent, and meaningful, before the onset of segregation and separation gradually occurred in the Mandate era. The unequal power relations and increasing violence between Jews and Arabs from 1948 onwards are also scrutinised. Throughout, Klein bases his writing not on the official record but rather on a hitherto hidden private world of Jewish-Arab encounters, including marriages and squabbles, kindnesses and cruelties, as set out in dozens of memoirs, diaries, biographies and testimonies.
Publisher’s description: The past decade has witnessed a change in both the wider knowledge production on, and political profile of, the Naqab Bedouin. This book addresses this change by firstly, endeavouring to overcome the historic isolation of Naqab Bedouin studies from the rest of Palestine studies by situating, studying and analyzing their predicaments firmly within the contemporary context of Israeli settler-colonial policies. Secondly, it strives to de-colonise research and advocacy on the Naqab Bedouin, by, for example, reclaiming ‘indigenous’ knowledge and terminology.
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:Since its foundation in 1948, Israel has drawn on Zionism, the movement behind its creation, to provide a sense of self and political direction. In this groundbreaking new work, Ilan Pappe looks at the continued role of Zionist ideology. The Idea of Israel considers the way Zionism operates outside of the government and military in areas such as the country’s education system, media, and cinema, and the uses that are made of the Holocaust in supporting the state’s ideological structure. In particular, Pappe examines the way successive generations of historians have framed the 1948 conflict as a liberation campaign, creating a foundation myth that went unquestioned in Israeli society until the 1990s. (…) The Idea of Israel is a powerful and urgent intervention in the war of ideas concerning the past, and the future, of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict.
Publisher’s description: Just peace has been much talked about in everyday life, but it is less well researched by academics. The rationale of this book is therefore to probe what constitutes a just peace, both conceptually within the field of peacebuilding and empirically in the context of the EU as a peacebuilder in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU has used the term just peace in many of its most important declarations on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict throughout the years. Defining a just peace is about these declaratory efforts by the EU to articulate a common formula of a just peace in the conflict. Securing and building a just peace are about the EU’s role in implementing this formula for a just peace in the conflict through the creation of a Palestinian state. As the EU enters its fifth decade of involvement in the conflict, there can be little doubt that in common with the rest of the international community it has failed in its efforts to establish a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. While this is an inescapable overall conclusion from four decades of EC/EU peacebuilding in the conflict, it is, at the same time, possible to draw a number of other conclusions from this book. Most importantly, it argues that the EU is a major legitimizing power in the conflict and that it has kept the prospects of a two-state solution alive through its support for the Palestinian statebuilding process.
Reviews: Middle East Eye
Publisher’s description: Few countries provoke as much passion and controversy as Israel. What is Modern Israel? convincingly demonstrates that its founding ideology – Zionism – is anything but a simple reaction to antisemitism. Dispelling the notion that every Jew is a Zionist and therefore a natural advocate for the state of Israel, the author points to the Protestant roots of Zionism, thus explaining the particular support Israel musters in the United States. Drawing on many overlooked pages of history (…) Yakov Rabkin shows that Zionism was conceived as a sharp break with Judaism and Jewish continuity. Israel’s past and present must be seen in the context of European ethnic nationalism, colonial expansion and geopolitical interests, rather than as an incarnation of Biblical prophecies or a culmination of Jewish history.
Reviews: Palestine Chronicle
Publisher’s description: During the early to mid-twentieth century, the Zionist Organization secured a series of political victories on the international stage, leading to the foundation of a Jewish state and to its ability to expand its territorial control within Palestine. The International Diplomacy of Israel’s Founders provides a revisionist account of the founding of Israel by exposing the misrepresentations and false assurances of Zionist diplomats during this formative period of Israeli history. By comparing diplomatic statements at the United Nations and elsewhere against the historical record, it sheds new light on the legacies of such leaders as Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, Abba Eban, and Shabtai Rosenne.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: The start of the twenty-first century in Palestine saw the breakdown of the Oslo Accords (which, signed in 1993 was an attempt to begin the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) give way to a turbulent period of dashed hope, escalating violence and internal division. Tracking developments from the Second Intifada of 2000 to Hamas’ 2006 electoral victory, former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie provides revealing and first-hand detail of the monumental changes that have rocked the peace process and the region as a whole. New proposals, such as the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map, and historic events, including the death of iconic leader Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza, are recognised to be of immense significance. However, it is Qurie’s unique position that reveals a new perspective of how they played out on the stages of Palestinian internal governance, regional politics and international diplomacy.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: Psychological warfare, or psywar, has been a fixture of warfare and political hostilities ranging from total war and low-intensity conflicts (LICs), to ideological and organizational struggles since biblical times. However, its impact on political life has been more strongly felt since the latter half of the twentieth century, partly due to the ever expanding influence of Media. The first study to examine psywar in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this book presents an analysis of the Arab and Israeli struggles to gain the world’s sympathy and support. Opening chapters provide an overview of the main ideas in psychological warfare and the principles of psywar engagement. The book then traces the history of the psywar struggle in the Arab-Israeli conflict from the British Mandate to the more recent HAMAS abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Reviews: none yet available
Publisher’s description: Men of Capital examines British-ruled Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s through a focus on economy. In a departure from the expected histories of Palestine, this book illuminates dynamic class constructions that aimed to shape a pan-Arab utopia in terms of free trade, profit accumulation, and private property. And in so doing, it positions Palestine and Palestinians in the larger world of Arab thought and social life, moving attention away from the limiting debates of Zionist–Palestinian conflict. Reading Palestinian business periodicals, records, and correspondence, Sherene Seikaly reveals how capital accumulation was central to the conception of the ideal “social man.” Here we meet a diverse set of characters—the man of capital, the frugal wife, the law-abiding Bedouin, the unemployed youth, and the abundant farmer—in new spaces like the black market, cafes and cinemas, and the idyllic Arab home.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Publisher’s description: Jerusalem has for centuries been known as the spiritual center for the three largest monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet Jerusalem’s other-worldly transcendence is far from the daily reality of Jerusalem, a city bombarded by conflict. The battle over who owns and controls Jerusalem is intensely disputed on a global basis. Few cities rival Jerusalem in how its divisions are expressed in the political sphere and in ordinary everyday life. Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis is about this constellation of competing on-the-ground interests: the endless set of claims, struggles, and debates over the land, neighborhoods, and communities that make up Jerusalem. Spatial politics explain the motivations and organizing around the battle for Jerusalem and illustrate how space is a weapon in the Jerusalem struggle. These are the windows to the world of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Based on ninety interviews, years of fieldwork, and numerous Jerusalem experiences, this book depicts the groups living in Jerusalem, their roles in the conflict, and their connections to Jerusalem’s development. Written for students, scholars, and those seeking to demystify the Jerusalem labyrinth, this book shows how religion, ideology, nationalism, and power underlie patterns of urban development, inequality, and conflict.
Reviews: LSE Review of Books
Publisher’s description: Viorst examines the evolution of Zionism, from its roots by serving as a cultural refuge for Europe’s Jews, to the cover it provides today for Israel’s exercise of control over millions of Arabs in occupied territories. Beginning with the shattering of the traditional Jewish society during the Enlightenment, Viorst covers the recent history of the Jews, from the spread of Jewish Emancipation during the French Revolution Era to the rise of the exclusionary anti-Semitism that overwhelmed Europe in the late nineteenth century. Viorst examines how Zionism was born and follows its development through the lives and ideas of its dominant leaders, who all held only one tenet in common: that Jews, for the first time in two millennia, must determine their own destiny to save themselves. But, in regards to creating a Jewish state with a military that dominates the region, Viorst argues that Israel has squandered the goodwill it enjoyed at its founding, and thus the country has put its own future on very uncertain footing.
Publisher’s description: A gripping day-by-day account of the 1978 Camp David conference (…). With his hallmark insight into the forces at play in the Middle East and his acclaimed journalistic skill, Lawrence Wright takes us through each of the thirteen days of the Camp David conference, illuminating the issues that have made the problems of the region so intractable, as well as exploring the scriptural narratives that continue to frame the conflict. In addition to his in-depth accounts of the lives of the three leaders, Wright draws vivid portraits of other fiery personalities who were present at Camp David (…) as they work furiously behind the scenes. Wright also explores the significant role played by Rosalynn Carter. What emerges is a riveting view of the making of this unexpected and so far unprecedented peace. Wright exhibits the full extent of Carter’s persistence in pushing an agreement forward, the extraordinary way in which the participants at the conference—many of them lifelong enemies—attained it, and the profound difficulties inherent in the process and its outcome, not the least of which has been the still unsettled struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians.