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JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

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Posts

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 2013 or later; earlier books previously listed on this page can be found here.

HISTORY
Elliot Abrams: Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict (2013)
Lori Allen: The rise and fall of human rights: Cynicism and politics in Occupied Palestine (2013)
Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman & Khali Shiklaki: Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and peacemaking in the Middle East (2013)
Gershon Baskin: Negotiator (2013)
Ifrat Ben-Ze’ev: Remembering Palestine in 1948: Beyond national narratives (2014)
Irus Braverman: Planted flags: Trees, land & the law in Israel (2014)
Michael Broning: Political parties in Palestine: Leadership and thought (2013)
Martin Bunton: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict: A very short introduction (2013)
Daniel Byman: A high price: The triumphs and failures of Israeli counterterrorism (2013)
Daniel Deeb: Israel, Palestine and the quest for Middle East peace (2013)
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)
James Gelvin: The Israel-Palestine conflict: One hundred years of war (2013)
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)
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)
Rashid Khalidi: Brokers of deceit: How the U.S. undermined peasce in the Middle East (2013)
Menachem Klein: Lives in common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa & Hebron (2014)
Dina Matar & Zahera Harb (Eds.): Narrating conflict in the Middle East (2013)
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)
Anne Shlay & G.Rosen: Jerusalem: The spatial politics of a divided metropolis (2015)
Ahmed Qurie: Peace negotiations in Palestine: From the second Intifada to the Roadmap (2014)
Itamar Rabinovich: The lingering conflict: Israel and the Arabs, 1948 – 2011 (2013)
Shira Robinson: Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the birth of Israel’s liberal settler state (2013)
Shlomo Sand: The invention of the land of Israel: From Holy Land to homeland (2013)
Jonathan Schanzer: State of failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abba and the unmaking of the Palestinian state (2013)
Ron Schleifer: Psychological warfare in the Arab-Israeli conflict (2014)
Anne Shlay & G.Rosen: Jerusalem: The spatial politics of a divided metropolis (2015)
Lawrence Wright: Thirteen days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David (2014)
Husam Said Zomlot: Building a state under occupation: Peacemaking and reconstruction in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (2013)

 

Elliot Abrams: Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2013, £18.99)
Publisher’s description: This book tells the full inside story of the Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Written by a top National Security Council officer who worked at the White House with Bush, Cheney, and Rice and attended dozens of meetings with figures like Sharon, Mubarak, the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian leaders, it brings the reader inside the White House and the palaces of Middle Eastern officials. How did 9/11 change American policy toward Arafat and Sharon’s tough efforts against the Second Intifada? What influence did the Saudis have on President Bush? Did the American approach change when Arafat died? How did Sharon decide to get out of Gaza, and why did the peace negotiations fail? In the first book by an administration official to focus on Bush and the Middle East, Elliott Abrams brings the story of Bush, the Israelis, and the Palestinians to life.

Reviews: Middle East Peace Council
Washington Post

 

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

 

Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman & Khalil Shikaki: Arabs and Israelis: Conflict and peacemaking in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, paperback, £24.99)

Publisher’s description: The Arab-Israeli conflict has proven to be one of the most protracted and bitter struggles of modern times, and has been extraordinarily resilient in the face of all efforts to resolve it. Written by a distinguished team of authors comprising an Israeli, a Palestinian, and an Egyptian presenting a broader Arab perspective, this textbook offers a balanced and nuanced introduction to this highly contentious subject. This innovative approach provides:
an essential overview of the key developments in the history of the conflict;a sense of the competing narratives that the principle protagonists have developed regarding these developments; a unique analytical framework through which the major developments can be understood; suggested further reading and links to key historical documents to support in-depth exploration of the subject.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Gershon Baskin: Negotiator (Toby Press, 2013, £18.99)

Publisher’s description: On June 25, 2006, Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit was kidnapped by a group of Gaza militants. The abduction, which drew international headlines and shook the Israeli public, sent Israel and Hamas into five years of hardline bargaining and stalemated discussion. Decades of animosity and distrust thwarted any attempt at a prisoner exchange. The Negotiator is the firsthand account of Gershon Baskin, an American-Israeli peace activist who made it his mission to liberate Gilad Schalit. Acting on his own initiative and in no formal capacity, Baskin drew on his ties to Hamas to create a secret back channel between the two sides. Through behind-the-scenes negotiations and clandestine meetings, nightly e-mails and frantic text messages, a great deal of persistence and no small amount of chutzpa, he succeeded where official mediators had failed, paving the way for the deal that – ultimately – brought Gilad home.

Reviews: History News Network

 

Efrat Ben-Ze’ev: Remembering Palestine in 1948: Beyond national narratives (Cambridge University Press, 2014, paperback, £19.99)

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

 

Irus Braverman: Planted flags: Trees, land & the law in Israel (Cambridge University Press, 2014, paperback, £20.99)

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

 

Michael Bröning: Political parties in Palestine: Leadership and thought (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, £57.50)

Publisher’s description: Political Parties in Palestine is an up-to-date elucidation of the Palestinian political landscape. The book offers vital background information on movements such as Hamas and Fatah, as well as smaller political factions that have defined the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades but, due to lack of available information, have not been subject to academic scrutiny. The book provides a comprehensive discussion of the ideological outlook, historical development, and political objectives of all major political actors in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). A well-informed but accessible overview, it combines analytical introductions with engaging profiles of party founders, interviews with current party leaders, organizational charts, and excerpts from party programs previously unavailable in English.

Reviews: LSE Books
Foreign Affairs

 

Martin Bunton: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict: A very short introduction (OUP, 2013, paperback, £7.99)
Publisher’s description: The conflict between Palestine and Israel is one of the most highly publicized and bitter struggles in history. In this accessible and stimulating Very Short Introduction, Martin Bunton clearly explains the history of the problem, reducing it to its very essence – a modern territorial contest between two nations and one geographical territory. Adopting a fresh and original approach, each section covers a twenty-year span, to highlight the historical complexity of the conflict throughout successive decades. Each chapter starts with an examination of the relationships among people and events that marked particular years as historical moments in the evolution of the conflict, including the 1897 Basle Congress; the 1917 Balfour Declaration and British occupation of Palestine; and the 1947 UN Partition Plan and the war for Palestine. Providing a clear and fair exploration of the main issues, Bunton explores not only the historical basis of the conflict, but also looks at how and why partition has been so difficult and how efforts to restore peace continue today.

Reviews: Middle East in Europe
Palestine Book Awards

 

Daniel Byman: A high price: The triumphs and failures of Israeli counterterrorism (OUP, 2013, paperback, £14.99)
Publisher’s description: The product of painstaking research and countless interviews, A High Price offers a nuanced, definitive historical account of Israel’s bold but often failed efforts to fight terrorist groups. Beginning with the violent border disputes that emerged after Israel’s founding in 1948, Daniel Byman charts the rise of Yasir Arafat’s Fatah and leftist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (…). Byman reveals how Israel fought these groups and others, such as Hamas, in the decades that follow, with particular attention to the grinding and painful struggle during the second intifada. Israel’s debacles in Lebanon against groups like the Lebanese Hizballah are examined in-depth, as is the country’s problematic response to Jewish terrorist groups that have struck at Arabs and Israelis seeking peace. In surveying Israel’s response to terror, the author points to the coups of shadowy Israeli intelligence services, the much-emulated use of defensive measures such as sky marshals on airplanes, and the role of controversial techniques such as targeted killings and the security barrier that separates Israel from Palestinian areas. Equally instructive are the shortcomings that have undermined Israel’s counterterrorism goals, including a disregard for long-term planning and a failure to recognize the long-term political repercussions of counterterrorism tactics.

Reviews: Wall Street Journal
Washington Times

 

Daniel Deeb: Israel, Palestine and the quest for Middle East peace (University Press of America, 2013, paperback, £15.95)
Publisher’s description: After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, Pakistan’s then President Pervez Musharraf declared: “The Palestinian front is affecting the entire Muslim world. All terrorists and militant activity in the world today has been initiated because of the Palestinian problem. This is because of the sense of hopelessness, alienation, and powerlessness.” The decade following the aftermath of September 11th has only proven that a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East and a resolve to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are a crucial necessity to global stability. In this well-researched and thoroughly-documented work, Deeb objectively aims to provide both a historical narrative of the events surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a historiography exploring the failures to achieve the end result of a final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. What went wrong with peace? This book explores the issues of contention that must be resolved between the parties to reach a lasting settlement.

Reviews: none yet available

 

Richard Falk: Palestine: The legitimacy of hope (Just World Books,2015, paperback, £15)

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
 

Jean-Pierre Filiu: Gaza: A history (Hurst & Co, 2014, £25)

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.

Reviews: Independent
New York Review of Books

 

Norman Finkelstein: Old wine, broken bottle: Avi Shavit’s Promised Land (OR Books, 2014, paperback, £6)

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.

Reviews: Amazon (review by JfJfP signatory)
New Politics
New York Review of Books

 

Norman Finkelstein: Method and madness: The hidden story of Israel’s assaults on Gaza (OR Books, 2015, paperback, £11)

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.

Reviews: Independent
New Left Project (review by JfJfP signatory)

 

James Gelvin: The Israel-Palestine conflict: One hundred years of war (Cambridge University Press, 2013 [3rd edition], paperback, £19.99)

Publisher’s description: Now entering its third edition, James L. Gelvin’s award-winning account of the conflict between Israelis and their forebears, on the one hand, and Palestinians and theirs, on the other, offers a compelling, accessible and current introduction for students and general readers. Newly updated to take into account the effects of the 2010–11 Arab uprisings on the conflict and the recognition of Palestinian statehood by the United Nations, the book traces the struggle from the emergence of nationalism among the Jews of Europe and the Arab inhabitants of Ottoman Palestine through the present, exploring the external pressures and internal logic that have propelled it. Placing events in Palestine within the framework of global history, The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War skilfully interweaves biographical sketches, eyewitness accounts, poetry, fiction, and official documentation into its narrative.

Reviews [of previous edition]: Monthly Review
Foreign Affairs
 

Ran Greenstein: Zionism & its discontents: A century of radical dissent in Israel/Palestine (Pluto Press, 2014, paperback, £17.99)

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.

Reviews: Middle East Monitor
Electronic Intifada
 

Galia Golan: Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking since 1967: Factors behind the breakthroughs & failures (Routledge, 2014, paperback, £21.99)

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.

Reviews: none yet available
 

John Judis: Genesis: Truman, American Jews and the origins of Israel (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2014, £18)

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.

Reviews: Boston Globe
Tikkun
Electronic Intifada

 

Noga Kadman: Erased from space and consciousness: Israel and the depopulated villages of 1948 (Indiana University Press, 2015, paperback, £21.99)

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.

Reviews: Publishers Weekly
Electronic Intifada

 

Rashid Khalidi: Brokers of deceit: How the U.S. undermined peasce in the Middle East (Beacon Press, 2013, £17.01)

Publisher’s description: For more than seven decades the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people has raged on with no end in sight, and for much of that time, the United States has been involved as a mediator in the conflict. In this book, acclaimed historian Rashid Khalidi zeroes in on the United States’s role as the purported impartial broker in this failed peace process. Khalidi closely analyzes three historical moments that illuminate how the United States’ involvement has, in fact, thwarted progress toward peace between Israel and Palestine. The first moment he investigates is the “Reagan Plan” of 1982, when Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin refused to accept the Reagan administration’s proposal to reframe the Camp David Accords more impartially. The second moment covers the period after the Madrid Peace Conference, from 1991 to 1993, during which negotiations between Israel and Palestine were brokered by the United States until the signing of the secretly negotiated Oslo accords. Finally, Khalidi takes on President Barack Obama’s retreat from plans to insist on halting the settlements in the West Bank. Through in-depth research into and keen analysis of these three moments, as well as his own firsthand experience as an advisor to the Palestinian delegation at the 1991 pre-Oslo negotiations in Washington, DC, Khalidi reveals how the United States and Israel have actively colluded to prevent a Palestinian state and resolve the situation in Israel’s favor.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
Foreign Affairs

 

Menachem Klein: Lives in common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa & Hebron (Hurst & Co., 2014, £16.25)

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.

Reviews: Guardian
Electronic Intifada

 

Dion Nissenbaum: A street divided (Palgrave Macmillan,2015, £18.99)

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.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
Star Tribune

 

Dina Matar & Zahera Harb (Eds.): Narrating conflict in the Middle East (I.B.Taurus, 2013, paperback, £16.99)

Publisher’s description: The term conflict has often been used broadly and uncritically to talk about diverse situations ranging from street protests to war, though the many factors that give rise to any conflict and its continuation over a period of time vary greatly. The starting point of this innovative book is that it is unsatisfactory either to consider conflict within a singular concept or alternatively to consider each conflict as entirely distinct and unique; Narrating Conflict in the Middle East explores another path to addressing long-term conflict. The contributors set out to examine the ways in which such conflicts in Palestine and Lebanon have been and are narrated, imagined and remembered in diverse spaces, including that of the media. They examine discourses and representations of the conflicts as well as practices of memory and performance in narratives of suffering and conflict, all of which suggest an embodied investment in narrating or communicating conflict. In so doing, they engage with local, global, and regional realities in Lebanon and in Palestine and they respond dynamically to these realities.

Reviews: LSE Review of Books

 

Ilan Pappe: The idea of Israel: A history of power and knowledge (Verso, 2014, £16.99)

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.

Reviews: Guardian
Palestine Chronicle
 

Anders Persson: The EU and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 1971-2013: In pursuit of a just peace (Lexington Books, 2015, £51.95)

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: none yet available
 

Ahmed Qurie: Peace negotiations in Palestine: From the second Intifada to the Roadmap (I.B.Taurus, 2014, £25)

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
 

Itamar Rabinovich:The lingering conflict: Israel and the Arabs, 1948 – 2011 (Brookings Institution, 2013 [revised edition], paperback, £16.99)

Publisher’s description: In The Lingering Conflict, Itamar Rabinovich, a former chief negotiator for Israel, provides unique and authoritative insight into the prospects for genuine peace in the Middle East. His presentation includes a detailed insider account of the peace processes of 1992–96 and a frank dissection of the more dispiriting record since then. Rabinovich’s firsthand experiences as a negotiator and as Israel’s ambassador to the United States provide a valuable perspective from which to view the major players involved. Fresh analysis of ongoing situations in the region and the author’s authoritative take on key figures such as Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu shed new light on the long and tumultuous history of Arab-Israeli relations.  (…) While Rabinovich explains the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians—a classic dispute between two national movements claiming the same land—The Lingering Conflict also considers the broader political, cultural, and increasingly religious conflict between the Jewish state and Arab nationalism. He approaches the troubled region in an international context, offering provocative analysis of America’s evolving role and evaluation of its diplomatic performance.

Reviews: Foreign Affairs
Jerusalem Post

 

Shira Robinson: Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the birth of Israel’s liberal settler state (Stanford University Press, 2013, paperback, £15.72)

Publisher’s description: Following the 1948 war and the creation of the state of Israel, Palestinian Arabs comprised just 15% of the population but held a much larger portion of its territory. Offered immediate suffrage rights and, in time, citizenship status, they nonetheless found their movement, employment, and civil rights restricted by a draconian military government put in place to facilitate the colonization of their lands. Citizen Strangers traces how Jewish leaders struggled to advance their historic settler project while forced by new international human rights norms to share political power with the very people they sought to uproot. For the next two decades Palestinians held a paradoxical status in Israel, as citizens of a formally liberal state and subjects of a colonial regime. Neither the state campaign to reduce the size of the Palestinian population nor the formulation of citizenship as a tool of collective exclusion could resolve the government’s fundamental dilemma: how to bind indigenous Arab voters to the state while denying them access to its resources. More confounding was the tension between the opposing aspirations of Palestinian political activists. Was it the end of Jewish privilege they were after, or national independence along with the rest of their compatriots in exile? As Shira Robinson shows, these tensions in the state’s foundation—between privilege and equality, separatism and inclusion—continue to haunt Israeli society today.

Reviews: Middle East Media & Book Reviews
Electronic Intifada

 

Shlomo Sand: The invention of the land of Israel: From Holy Land to homeland (Verso, 2013, £16.99)

Publisher’s description: What is a homeland and when does it become a national territory? Why have so many people been willing to die for such places throughout the twentieth century? What is the essence of the Promised Land? Following the acclaimed and controversial The Invention of the Jewish People, Shlomo Sand examines the mysterious sacred land that has become the site of the longest-running national struggle of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Invention of the Land of Israel deconstructs the age-old legends surrounding the Holy Land and the prejudices that continue to suffocate it. Sand’s account dissects the concept of “historical right” and tracks the creation of the modern concept of the “Land of Israel” by nineteenth-century Evangelical Protestants and Jewish Zionists. This invention, he argues, not only facilitated the colonization of the Middle East and the establishment of the State of Israel; it is also threatening the existence of the Jewish state today.

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
Guardian

 

Jonathan Schanzer: State of failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abba and the unmaking of the Palestinian state (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, £17.99)

Publisher’s description: With Iran’s nuclear program heating up, and rockets once again firing between Tel Aviv and Gaza, the whole world’s eyes are once again on Israel’s difficult relationship with their neighbors in the Middle East. At the heart of this conflict is Palestine, which many believe Israel keeps downtrodden as a barrier against its own enemies. In State of Failure,Palestinian-Israeli expert Jonathan Schanzer argues that the reasons behind Palestine’s inertia are far more complex than its supporters believe, and that, despite recent rumblings, the dream of statehood may again be scuttled by internal corruption and incompetence. Drawing on exclusive sources within the Palestinian Authority, he shows how Mahmoud Abbas used President George W. Bush’s support to catapult himself into the presidency. Schanzer reveals how Abbas, now four years past the end of his legitimate term, may cost the Palestinians everything.

Reviews: Man of la Book
academia.edu

 

Ron Schleifer: Psychological warfare in the Arab-Israeli conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, £62.50)

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

 

Anne Shlay & G.Rosen: Jerusalem: The spatial politics of a divided metropolis (Polity, 2015, paperback, £15.99)

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: none yet available
 

Lawrence Wright: Thirteen days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David (Knopf, 2014, £20 – paperback April 2015)

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.

Reviews: New York Review of Books
The Telegraph
 

Husam Said Zomlot: Building a state under occupation: Peacemaking and reconstruction in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (I.B.Tauris, 2013, £54.50)

Publisher’s description: In the wake of the settlement of the Oslo Accords in 1993, billions were pledged and disbursed by international donors in support of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. As a result, the international community had a large stake in the maintenance of the fragile attempts at peace in the Middle East. In “Building a State under Occupation”, Husam Zomlot assesses the reasons why, despite this outpouring of international aid into the situation, the Oslo Accords ultimately failed. By focusing on donors and the political economy of peacebuilding and reconstruction, Zomlot highlights the assumptions which inform policy-making when attempting to mediate conflict. He therefore suggests that, in addition to a lack of appropriate political will, the international community gravely misread the political realities in both sides, particularly Israel’s intentions with regards to the final outcome.

Reviews: none yet available

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