This page contains details of books previously listed on the 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)
Jesse Bier: Mapping Israel, mapping Palestine: How Occupied landscapes shape scientific knowledge (2017)
Ian Black: Enemies and neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel (2017)
Irus Braverman: Planted flags: Trees, land & the law in Israel (2014)
Hillel Cohen: Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli conflict 1929 (2015)
David Cronin: Balfour’s shadow: A century of British support for Zionism and Israel (2017)
Richard Falk: Palestine: The legitimacy of hope (2015)
Gary Fields: Enclosure: Palestinian landscapes in a historical mirror (2017)
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)
Norman Finkelstein: Gaza: an inquest into its martyrdom (2018)
Katerina Galor: Finding Jerusalem: Archaeology between science and ideology (2017)
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)
Toufic Haddad: Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territories (2016)
Cherine Hussein: The re-emergence of the Single State Solution in Palestine/Israel (2015)
Lena Jayyusi (Ed.): Jerusalem interrupted: Modernity and colonial transformation 1917 – present (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)
Mehran Kamrava: The impossibility of Palestine: History, geography and the road ahead (2016)
Menachem Klein: Lives in common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa & Hebron (2014)
Guy Laron: The Six-Day War: The breaking of the Middle East (2017)
Mansour Nasasra et al. (Eds.): The Naqab Bedouin and colonialism (2015)
Dion Nissenbaum: A street divided (2015)
Alona Nitzan-Shiftan: Seizing Jerusalem: The architectures of universal unification (2017)
Mohammed Omer & Petter Bauck: The Oslo Accords: A critical assessment (2016)
Ilan Pappe: The idea of Israel: A history of power and knowledge (2014)
Ilan Pappe: Ten myths about Israel (2017)
Ilan Pappe: The biggest prison on earth: A history of the Occupied Territories (2017)
Anders Persson: The EU and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 1971-2013: In pursuit of a just peace (2015)
Elie Podeh: Chances for peace: Missed opportunities in the Arab-Israeli conflict (2016)
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)
Bernard Regan: The Balfour Declaration: Empire, the Mandate and resistance in Palestine (2017)
Ron Schleifer: Psychological warfare in the Arab-Israeli conflict (2014)
Sarah Seiklay: Men of capital: Scarcity and economy in Mandate Palestine (2015)
Robert Serry: The endless quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace: A reflection from no-man’s land (2017)
Gershon Shafir: A half-century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine and the world’s most intractable conflict (2017)
Anne Shlay & G.Rosen: Jerusalem: The spatial politics of a divided metropolis (2015)
Thomas Suarez: State of Terror (2016)
Nathan Thrall: The only language they understand: Forcing compromise in Israel and Palestine (2017)
Leslie Turnberg: Beyond the Balfour Declaration: The 100-year quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace (2017)
Milton Vorst: Zionism: The birth and transformation of an ideal (2016)
Ben White: The 2014 Gaza war: 21 questions and answers (2016)
Lawrence Wright: Thirteen days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David (2014)
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
Jesse Bier: Mapping Israel, mapping Palestine: How Occupied landscapes shape scientific knowledge (MIT Press, 2017, £27.95)
Publisher’s description: Maps are widely believed to be objective, and data-rich computer-made maps are iconic examples of digital knowledge. It is often claimed that digital maps, and rational boundaries, can solve political conflict. But in Mapping Israel, Mapping Palestine, Jess Bier challenges the view that digital maps are universal and value-free. She examines the ways that maps are made in Palestine and Israel to show how social and political landscapes shape the practice of science and technology. How can two scientific cartographers look at the same geographic feature and see fundamentally different things? In part, Bier argues, because knowledge about the Israeli military occupation is shaped by the occupation itself. Ongoing injustices—including checkpoints, roadblocks, and summary arrests—mean that Palestinian and Israeli cartographers have different experiences of the landscape. Palestinian forms of empirical knowledge, including maps, continue to be discounted. Bier examines three representative cases of population, governance, and urban maps. She analyzes Israeli population maps from 1967 to 1995, when Palestinian areas were left blank; Palestinian state maps of the late 1990s and early 2000s, which were influenced by Israeli raids on Palestinian offices and the legacy of British colonial maps; and urban maps after the Second Intifada, which show how segregated observers produce dramatically different maps of the same area.
Reviews: none yet available
Ian Black: Enemies and neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel (Penguin, 2017, £25)
Publisher’s description: A century after Britain’s Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish ‘national home’ in Palestine, veteran Guardian journalist Black has produced a major new history of one of the most polarising conflicts of the modern age. Drawing on a wide range of sources – from declassified documents to oral testimonies and his own decades of reporting – Enemies and Neighbours brings much-needed perspective and balance to the long and unresolved struggle between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land. Beginning in the final years of Ottoman rule and the British Mandate period, when Zionist immigration transformed Palestine in the face of mounting Arab opposition, the book re-examines the origins of what was a doomed relationship from the start. It sheds fresh light on critical events such as the Arab rebellion of the 1930s; Israel’s independence and the Palestinian catastrophe (Nakba in Arabic) of 1948; the watershed of the 1967 war; two Intifadas; the Oslo Accords and Israel’s shift to the right. It traces how – after five decades of occupation, ever-expanding Jewish settlements and the construction of the West Bank ‘separation wall’ – hopes for a two-state solution have all but disappeared, and explores what the future might hold.
Reviews: The Guardian
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
Hillel Cohen: Year Zero of the Arab-Israeli conflict 1929 (Brandeis, 2015, paperback, £20)
Publisher’s description: In late summer 1929, a countrywide outbreak of Arab-Jewish-British violence transformed the political landscape of Palestine forever. In contrast with those who point to the wars of 1948 and 1967, historian Hillel Cohen marks these bloody events as year zero of the Arab-Israeli conflict that persists today. The murderous violence inflicted on Jews caused a fractious—and now traumatized—community of Zionists, non-Zionists, Ashkenazim, and Mizrachim to coalesce around a unified national consciousness arrayed against an implacable Arab enemy. While the Jews unified, Arabs came to grasp the national essence of the conflict, realizing that Jews of all stripes viewed the land as belonging to the Jewish people. Through memory and historiography, in a manner both associative and highly calculated, Cohen traces the horrific events of August 23 to September 1 in painstaking detail. (…) Sifting through Arab and Hebrew sources—many rarely, if ever, examined before—Cohen reflects on the attitudes and perceptions of Jews and Arabs who experienced the events and, most significantly, on the memories they bequeathed to later generations.
Reviews: Jewish Book Council
David Cronin: Balfour’s shadow: A century of British support for Zionism and Israel (Pluto Books, 2017, paperback, £16.99)
Publisher’s description: This is the controversial history of the British government’s involvement in the Zionist project, from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to the present day. Written by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, the Declaration stated `His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.’ Its impact on history has been immense and still reverberates a century later, starting what has been referred to as a hundred years of war against the Palestinian people. This history focuses on the devastating events which resulted from the Declaration, such as the Arab Revolt, the Nakba and establishment of the state, the 1956 and 1967 wars, the Cold War and the Oslo period.
Reviews: Global Research
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
Gary Fields: Enclosure: Palestinian landscapes in a historical mirror (University of California Press, 2017, paperback, £24.95)
Publisher’s description: Enclosure marshals bold new arguments about the nature of the conflict in Israel/Palestine. Fields examines the dispossession of Palestinians from their land—and Israel’s rationale for seizing control of Palestinian land—in the contexts of a broad historical analysis of power and space and of an enduring discourse about land improvement. Focusing on the English enclosures (…), Amerindian dispossession in colonial America, and Palestinian land loss, Fields shows how exclusionary landscapes have emerged across time and geography. Evidence that the same moral, legal, and cartographic arguments were used by enclosers of land in very different historical environments challenges Israel’s current claim that it is uniquely beleaguered. This comparative framework also helps readers in the US and the UK understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the context of their own histories.
Reviews: NY Review of Books
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.
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 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.
New Left Project (review by JfJfP signatory)
Norman Finkelstein: Gaza: an inquest into its martyrdom (University of California Press, 2018, £27.95)
Publisher’s description: The Gaza Strip is among the most densely populated places in the world. More than two-thirds of its inhabitants are refugees, and more than half are under eighteen years of age. Since 2004, Israel has launched eight devastating “operations” against Gaza’s largely defenseless population. Thousands have perished, and tens of thousands have been left homeless. In the meantime, Israel has subjected Gaza to a merciless illegal blockade. What has befallen Gaza is a man-made humanitarian disaster. Based on scores of human rights reports, Finkelstein’s new book presents a meticulously researched inquest into Gaza’s martyrdom. He shows that although Israel has justified its assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact these actions constituted flagrant violations of international law. But Finkelstein also documents that the guardians of international law (…) ultimately failed Gaza. One of his most disturbing conclusions is that, after Judge Richard Goldstone’s humiliating retraction of his UN report, human rights organizations succumbed to the Israeli juggernaut. Finkelstein’s magnum opus is both a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and an act of resistance against the forgetfulness of history.
Reviews: Amazon (review by JJP signatory)
Katerina Galor: Finding Jerusalem: Archaeology between science and ideology (University of California Press, 2017, paperback, £25, also available as free download here)
Publisher’s description: Archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem capture worldwide attention in various media outlets. The continuing quest to discover the city’s physical remains is not simply an attempt to define Israel’s past or determine its historical legacy. In the context of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is also an attempt to legitimate—or undercut—national claims to sovereignty. Bridging the ever-widening gap between popular coverage and specialized literature, Finding Jerusalem provides a comprehensive tour of the politics of archaeology in the city. Through a wide-ranging discussion of the material evidence, Galor illuminates the complex legal contexts and ethical precepts that underlie archaeological activity and the discourse of “cultural heritage” in Jerusalem. This book addresses the pressing need to disentangle historical documentation from the religious aspirations, social ambitions, and political commitments that shape its interpretation.
Reviews: none yet available
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
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
Toufic Haddad: Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territories (I.B.Taurus, 2016, £69)
Publisher’s description: Despite their failure to yield peace or Palestinian statehood, the role of these organisations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is generally overlooked owing to their depiction as tertiary actors engaged in technical missions. In Palestine Ltd., Toufic Haddad explores how neoliberal frameworks have shaped and informed the common understandings of international, Israeli and Palestinian interactions throughout the Oslo peace process. Drawing upon more than 20 years of policy literature, field-based interviews and recently declassified or leaked documents, he details how these frameworks have led to struggles over influencing Palestinian political and economic behaviour, and attempts to mould the class character of Palestinian society and its leadership. A dystopian vision of Palestine emerges as the by-product of this complex asymmetrical interaction, where nationalism, neo-colonialism and ‘disaster capitalism’ both intersect and diverge
Cherine Hussein: The re-emergence of the Single State Solution in Palestine/Israel (Routledge, 2015, £90)
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.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Journal of Palestine Studies
Lena Jayyusi (Ed.): Jerusalem interrupted: Modernity and colonial transformation 1917 – present (Interlink, 2015, paperback, £39.99)
Publisher’s description: Most histories of twentieth-century Jerusalem published in English focus on the city’s Jewish life and neighborhoods. This book offers a crucial balance to that history. On the eve of the British Mandate in 1917, Jerusalem Arab society was rooted, diverse, and connected to other cities, towns, and the rural areas of Palestine. A cosmopolitan city, Jerusalem saw a continuous and dynamic infusion of immigrants and travelers, many of whom stayed and made the city theirs. Over the course of the three decades of the Mandate, Arab society in Jerusalem continued to develop a vibrant, networked, and increasingly sophisticated milieu. No one then could have imagined the radical rupture that would come in 1948, with the end of the Mandate and the establishment of the State of Israel. This groundbreaking collection of essays (…) follows the history of Jerusalem from the culturally diverse Mandate period through its transformation into a predominantly Jewish city. Essays detail often unexplored dimensions of the social and political fabric of a city that was rendered increasingly taut and fragile, even as areas of mutual interaction and shared institutions and neighborhoods between Arabs and Jews continued to develop.
Reviews: Palestine Book Awards
Middle East Eye
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
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
Mehran Kamrava: The impossibility of Palestine: History, geography and the road ahead (Yale University Press, 2016, £25)
Publisher’s description: The “two-state solution” is the official policy of Israel, the United States, the United Nations, and the Palestinian Authority alike. However, international relations scholar Mehran Kamrava argues that Israel’s “state-building” process has never risen above the level of municipal governance, and its goal has never been Palestinian independence. He explains that a coherent Palestinian state has already been rendered an impossibility, and to move forward, Palestine must redefine its present predicament and future aspirations. Based on detailed fieldwork, exhaustive scholarship, and an in-depth examination of historical sources, this controversial work will be widely read and debated by all sides.
Reviews: The National
Middle East Monitor
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.
Guy Laron: The Six-Day War: The breaking of the Middle East (Yale University Press, 2017, £20)
Publisher’s description: An enthralling, big-picture history that examines the Six-Day War, its causes, and its enduring consequences against its global context
(…) Many scholars have documented how the Six-Day War unfolded, but little has been done to explain why the conflict happened at all. As we approach its fiftieth anniversary, Guy Laron refutes the widely accepted belief that the war was merely the result of regional friction, revealing the crucial roles played by American and Soviet policies in the face of an encroaching global economic crisis, and restoring Syria’s often overlooked centrality to events leading up to the hostilities. (…) In this important new work, Laron’s fresh interdisciplinary perspective and extensive archival research offer a significant reassessment of a conflict—and the trigger-happy generals behind it—that continues to shape the modern world.
Reviews: NY Review of Books
Mansour Nasasra et al. (Eds.): The Naqab Bedouin and colonialism (Routledge, 2015, £90)
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.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
British Society For Middle Eastern Studies (page downloads as a PDF)
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
Alona Nitzan-Shiftan: Seizing Jerusalem: The architectures of universal unification (University of Minnesota Press, 2017, paperback, £33)
Publisher’s description: After seizing Jerusalem’s eastern precincts from Jordan at the conclusion of the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel unilaterally unified the city and plunged into an ambitious building program, eager to transform the very meaning of one of the world’s most emotionally charged urban spaces. The goal was as simple as it was controversial: to both Judaize and modernize Jerusalem. Seizing Jerusalem chronicles how numerous disciplines, including architecture, landscape design, and urban planning, as well as everyone from municipal politicians to state bureaucrats, from Israeli-born architects to international luminaries such as Louis Kahn, Buckminster Fuller, and Bruno Zevi, competed to create Jerusalem’s new image. This decade-long competition happened with the Palestinian residents still living in the city, even as the new image was inspired by the city’s Arab legacy. (…) Drawing on previously unexamined archival documents and in-depth interviews with architects, planners, and politicians, Nitzan-Shiftan analyzes the cultural politics of the Israeli state and, in particular, of Jerusalem’s influential mayor, Teddy Kollek, whose efforts to legitimate Israeli rule over Jerusalem provided architects a unique, real-world laboratory to explore the possibilities and limits of modernist design—as built form as well as political and social action.
Reviews: none yet available
Mohammed Omer & Petter Bauck: The Oslo Accords: A critical assessment (American University in Cairo Press, 2016, paperback, £24.95)
Publisher’s description: More than twenty years have passed since Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization concluded the Oslo Accords, or Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements for Palestine. It was declared “a political breakthrough of immense importance.” Israel officially accepted the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the PLO recognized the right of Israel to exist. Critical views were voiced at the time about how the self-government established under the leadership of Yasser Arafat created a Palestinian-administered Israeli occupation, rather than paving the way towards an independent Palestinian state with substantial economic funding from the international community. Through a number of essays written by renowned scholars and practitioners, the years since the Oslo Accords are scrutinized from a wide range of perspectives.
Reviews: none yet available
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.
Ilan Pappe: Ten myths about Israel (Verso, 2017, paperback, £)
Publisher’s description: In this groundbreaking book (…) Ilan Pappe examines the most contested ideas concerning the origins and identity of the contemporary state of Israel. The “ten myths” that Pappe explores—repeated endlessly in the media, enforced by the military, accepted without question by the world’s governments—reinforce the regional status quo. He explores the claim that Palestine was an empty land at the time of the Balfour Declaration, as well as the formation of Zionism and its role in the early decades of nation building. He asks whether the Palestinians voluntarily left their homeland in 1948, and whether June 1967 was a war of “no choice.” Turning to the myths surrounding the failures of the Camp David Accords and the official reasons for the attacks on Gaza, Pappe explains why the two-state solution is no longer viable.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
Ilan Pappe: The biggest prison on earth: A history of the Occupied Territories (Oneworld Books, 2017, £20)
Publisher’s description: Pappe offers a comprehensive exploration of one of the world’s most prolonged and tragic conflicts. Using recently declassified archival material, Pappe analyses the motivations and strategies of the generals and politicians – and the decision-making process itself – that laid the foundation of the occupation. From a survey of the legal and bureaucratic infrastructures that were put in place to control the population of over one million Palestinians, to the security mechanisms that vigorously enforced that control, Pappe paints a picture of what is to all intents and purposes the world’s largest “open prison”.
Reviews: Electronic Intifada
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: Middle East Eye
Elie Podeh: Chances for peace: Missed opportunities in the Arab-Israeli conflict (University of Texas Press, 2016, paperback, £33)
Publisher’s description: This innovative reexamination of thirty pivotal episodes in the Arab-Israeli conflict, beginning with the 1919 Faysal-Weizmann Agreement and ending with the 2008 Abu Mazen-Olmert talks, reveals both missed opportunities and realistic possibilities to negotiate lasting peace.
Reviews: none yet available
John Quigley: The international diplomacy of Israel’s founders: Deception
at the UN in the quest for Palestine (Cambridge UP, 2016, paperback, £21.99)
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: Middle East Eye
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
Yakov Rabkin: What is modern Israel? (Pluto Press, 2016, paperback, £16.99)
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
Media with Conscience
Bernard Regan: The Balfour Declaration: Empire, the Mandate and resistance in Palestine (Verso, 2017, £16.99)
Publisher’s description: A hundred years after its signing, Bernard Regan recasts the history of the Balfour Declaration as one of the major events in the story of the Middle East. Offering new insights into the imperial rivalries between Britain, Germany and the Ottomans, Regan exposes British policy in the region as part of a larger geopolitical game. Yet, even then, the course of events was not straightforward and Regan charts the debates within the British government and the Zionist movement itself on the future of Palestine. The book also provides a revealing account of life in Palestinian society at the time, paying particular attention to the responses of Palestinian civil society to the imperial machinations that threatened their way of life. Not just a history of states and policies, Regan manages to brilliantly present both a history of people under colonialism and an account of the colonizers themselves.
Reviews: none yet available
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
Sarah Seiklay: Men of capital: Scarcity and economy in Mandate Palestine (2015, Stanford University Press, paperback, £17.99)
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
Robert Serry: The endless quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace: A reflection from no-man’s land (Springer, 2017, paperback, £22.99)
Publisher’s description: In this book a former United Nations Envoy offers an insider perspective on conflict management and peace efforts during the three most recent failed peace initiatives and three wars in Gaza. Robert Serry shares his reflections on walking the tight rope of diplomacy between Israel and Palestine and his analysis of what has gone wrong and why a “one-state reality” may be around the corner. Offering fresh thinking on how to preserve prospects for a two-state solution, this book examines the UN’s uneasy history in the Arab-Israeli conflict since partition was proposed in resolution 181 (1948) and provides a rare insight into the life of a United Nations Envoy in today’s Middle East.
Reviews: The Diplomatic Envoy
Gershon Shafir: A half-century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine and the world’s most intractable conflict (University of California Press, 2017, £21.95)
Publisher’s description: The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the world’s most polarizing confrontations. Its current phase, Israel’s “temporary” occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, turned a half century old in June 2017. In these timely and provocative essays, Shafir asks three questions—What is the occupation, why has it lasted so long, and how has it transformed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? His cogent answers illuminate how we got here, what here is, and where we are likely to go. Shafir expertly demonstrates that at its fiftieth year, the occupation is riven with paradoxes, legal inconsistencies, and conflicting interests that weaken the occupiers’ hold and leave the occupation itself vulnerable to challenge.
Reviews: NY Review of Books
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: LSE Review of Books
Thomas Suarez: State of Terror (Skyscraper Books, 2016, £20)
Publisher’s description: The massacre of innocent Arab villagers at Deir Yassin is now generally acknowledged to be an atrocity, but has often been described as an isolated act. But this new book shows how the use of terror by supporters of the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine was systematic, routine and accepted by Jewish leaders as necessary to achieve their aims. At the height of the British Mandate in Palestine, terrorist acts were carried out at a frequency and with an intensity that has been forgotten nowadays, and that compares with the worst acts of terrorism by Palestinians in Israel, or ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In this book, Suarez present the terrorists’ own accounts in secret internal papers boasting of their successes. This book uses meticulous archive research, much of it never before published, to show the systematic way in which, from the beginning of political Zionism, violence and terror were seen as legitimate tools to deny the rights of the indigenous inhabitants to the land they had lived in for generations.
Labour Briefing (review by JfJfP signatory)
Nathan Thrall: The only language they understand: Forcing compromise in Israel and Palestine (Metropolitan Books, 2017, paperback, £22)
Publisher’s description: In a myth-busting analysis of the world’s most intractable conflict, a star of Middle East reporting argues that only one weapon has yielded progress: force. Scattered over the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea lie the remnants of failed peace proposals, international summits, secret negotiations, UN resolutions, and state-building efforts. The conventional story is that these well-meaning attempts at peacemaking were repeatedly, perhaps terminally, thwarted by violence. Through a rich interweaving of reportage, historical narrative, and powerful analysis, Nathan Thrall presents a startling counter-history. He shows that force—including but not limited to violence—has impelled each side to make its largest concessions, from Palestinian acceptance of a two-state solution to Israeli territorial withdrawals. This simple fact has been neglected by the world powers, which have expended countless resources on initiatives meant to diminish friction between the parties. (…) Thrall’s important book upends the beliefs steering these failed policies, revealing how the aversion of pain, not the promise of peace, has driven compromise for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Reviews: Kirkus Reviews
NY Review of Books
Leslie Turnberg: Beyond the Balfour Declaration: The 100-year quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace (Biteback Publishing, 2017, £20)
Publisher’s description: 2017 marks one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration (…). A century later, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians rages on, without prospect of a peace agreement any time soon. This timely book explores why innumerable efforts to resolve the conflict have always failed, and questions how an agreement could ever be reached. Shedding some much-needed light on many of the misconceptions of the Declaration, this book also navigates the complex history of the situation ever since. (…) At a time of global uncertainties and fears of terrorism, Turnberg offers a balanced look at how best to plot a course amongst shifting alliances and an ever-changing political climate. Why have negotiations between Palestine and Israel consistently broken down? Beyond the Balfour Declaration details what an agreement might look like, and the steps that need to be taken to begin the process.
Reviews: Jewish Chronicle
Milton Vorst: Zionism: The birth and transformation of an ideal (Thomas Dunne, 2016, £18.99)
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.
Reviews: Jewish Book Council
Times of Israel
Ben White: The 2014 Gaza war: 21 questions and answers (Kindle edition, 2016, £4.99)
Publisher’s description: Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014 was unprecedented in its scope and brutality. Two years on, and many key issues surrounding the offensive remain poorly understood. Is Gaza still occupied? How and why did Israel launch ‘Operation Protective Edge’? Did Israel’s armed forces commit war crimes? Does Hamas use human shields – and what about the rockets? In this concise, well-sourced book, these commonly-asked questions and more are answered by journalist and author Ben White.
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