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Books to Understand the Israel-Palestine Conflict

As one of the most contentious and controversial relationships in the world, the Israel-Palestine conflict has found its way into the headlines for various reasons over the last few decades. Often, those reasons are tied to the reignition of tensions or the crumbling of peace talks. It is a particular hot-button issue within U.S. politics with large contingents in both major parties weighing in on the issue. Like any conflict of this scale, the decades-long struggle between Israel and Palestine is a complex one. The books listed below should provide some insight into both the conflict itself and the very human toll it inflicts.

  1. 1
    I Saw Ramallah Book Cover Picture
    I Saw Ramallah Book Cover Picture

    I Saw Ramallah

    by Mourid Barghouti

    Barred from his homeland after 1967’s Six-Day War, the poet Mourid Barghouti spent thirty years in exile—shuttling among the world’s cities, yet secure in none of them; separated from his family for years at a time; never certain whether he was a visitor, a refugee, a citizen, or a guest. As he returns home for the first time since the Israeli occupation, Barghouti crosses a wooden bridge over the Jordan River into Ramallah and is unable to recognize the city of his youth. Sifting through memories of the old Palestine as they come up against what he now encounters in this mere “idea of Palestine,” he discovers what it means to be deprived not only of a homeland but of “the habitual place and status of a person.”
    I Saw Ramallah Book Cover Picture
    I Saw Ramallah Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.00

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  2. 2
    Six Days of War Book Cover Picture
    Six Days of War Book Cover Picture

    Six Days of War

    by Michael B. Oren

    While it technically lasted only six days, the aftereffects of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War — also known as the Six-Day War — continue to ripple across the Middle East. Historian and politician Michael B. Oren (he served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013) gives the definitive account of the Six-Day War and the ways it continues to shape Israeli-Palestinian relations.
    Six Days of War Book Cover Picture
    Six Days of War Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $20.00

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  3. 3
    Ally Book Cover Picture
    Ally Book Cover Picture

    Ally

    by Michael B. Oren

    Michael B. Oren — a dual U.S./Israeli Citizen — as mentioned above, served as Israel’s Ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013, a tumultuous period that saw another failed attempt at peace between Palestine and Israel, the Arab Spring, and fears of Iran’s nuclear program. His book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide offers a frank behind-the-scenes view of the complicated, oft-strained relationship between the U.S. and Israel.
    Ally Book Cover Picture
    Ally Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  4. 4
    In Search of Fatima Book Cover Picture
    In Search of Fatima Book Cover Picture

    In Search of Fatima

    by Ghada Karmi

    Ghada Karmi’s acclaimed memoir relates her childhood in Palestine, flight to Britain after the catastrophe, and coming of age in Golders Green, the north London Jewish suburb. A powerful biographical story, In Search of Fatima reflects the author’s personal experiences of displacement and loss against a backdrop of the major political events which have shaped conflict in the Middle East. Speaking for the millions of displaced people worldwide who have lived suspended between their old and new countries, fitting into neither, this is an intimate, nuanced exploration of the subtler privations of psychological displacement and loss of identity.
    In Search of Fatima Book Cover Picture
    In Search of Fatima Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $19.95

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  5. 5
    My Promised Land Book Cover Picture
    My Promised Land Book Cover Picture

    My Promised Land

    by Ari Shavit

    Utilizing the stories of various Israelis, journalist Ari Shavit weaves together a powerful portrait of Israel’s history. Drawing on interviews, historical documents, diaries, and his own family’s history, Shavit gives a frank and deeply personal take on the state of Israel and its tenuous and contentious position in the region.
    My Promised Land Book Cover Picture
    My Promised Land Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $20.00

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  6. 6
    Out of Place Book Cover Picture
    Out of Place Book Cover Picture

    Out of Place

    by Edward W. Said

    From one of the most important intellectuals of our time comes an extraordinary story of exile and a celebration of an irrecoverable past. A fatal medical diagnosis in 1991 convinced Edward Said that he should leave a record of where he was born and spent his childhood, and so with this memoir he rediscovers the lost Arab world of his early years in Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt.
    Out of Place Book Cover Picture
    Out of Place Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

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  7. 7
    The Way to the Spring Book Cover Picture
    The Way to the Spring Book Cover Picture

    The Way to the Spring

    by Ben Ehrenreich

    Over the past three years, American writer Ben Ehrenreich has been traveling to and living in the West Bank, staying with Palestinian families in its largest cities and its smallest villages. Along the way he has written major stories for American outlets, including a remarkable New York Times Magazine cover story. Here is his powerful work that has always been his ultimate goal, The Way to the Spring.
    The Way to the Spring Book Cover Picture
    The Way to the Spring Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

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  8. 8
    To the End of the Land Book Cover Picture
    To the End of the Land Book Cover Picture

    To the End of the Land

    by David Grossman

    Through the story in this riveting novel, Israeli author David Grossman explores the strain of war on the families of deployed soldiers, centering on Ora, a divorced mother who is devastated by her son’s decision to voluntarily to return to military service. It is a shattering and unflinching enunciation of the very human toll of the struggle between Israel and Palestine.
    To the End of the Land Book Cover Picture
    To the End of the Land Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

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