11 Books We Love About Israelis and Palestinians

In a follow-up to our last two joint posts, What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Visit Israel, and 13 Movies We Love About Israelis And Palestinians, we share with you a few of our favorite books about the conflict.  They’re novels, personal reflections and history books, some more mainstream than others.  All these books have played a role in our thinking and influenced our approach to the situation here.  


Let us know what books you have read, enjoyed and learned from.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine - An account of Plan D, based on classified documents released and researched in the 1980s.

Righteous Victims - One of the best single-book accounts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and one of Morris’ best works.

A Land of Two Peoples: Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs - An account of Buber’s Zionist opposition to the Yishuv’s and the early state’s policies, detailing his view of an alternate Zionism calling for coexistence.

Blood Brothers: The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel - A good book to begin with as it’s an easy read and a story many people have not heard about a Palestinian Christian reconciling his spirituality with the outcomes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East - Dalia Landau was my husband's Arabic teacher in high school and his family are from this area of the country. This story encapsulates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a human, individual level.

Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape -   This is about the author’s walks through the land from 1978-2006, and how things have changed.

Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family -  A story about growing up In the US as the daughter of two Palestinian immigrants and a daughter’s struggle to find her identity in the shadow of a prominent and influential figure in modern Palestine, Edward Said.

Mornings in Jenin: A Novel - A story about the life of a Palestinian family throughout the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, following their displacement from 1948 until today.

Menopausal Palestine: Women at the Edge - A beautiful book expressing the disappointment of the Palestinian struggle for nationhood through the stories of women.

The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas - A fascinating look at the efforts and political mobilization that took place to release the captive soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza in 2006.

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The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land - This is a great book to look beyond the politics at the diverse lives, aspirations and challenges of ordinary Israelis.

 

13 Movies We Love About Israelis And Palestinians

In our last Ask Us post, a reader requested what to expect upon a visit here, and how to prepare for the stay.  We decided to answer this in a series of lighter posts, which we started here.  In this post, our team shares a few of our favorite movies and why we like them.  Some of them might be insightful and informative for you before or after your visit.

The Lost Cities of Palestine - Some people say there was never a Palestinian people. This may change your mind.

5 Broken Cameras - An enlightening documentary sharing some serious eye-opening truths about journalism and its suppression.

Budrus - A beautiful film about nonviolent Palestinian resistance and  solidarity expressions by Israeli activists, with a positive message and example to our societies.

Ave Maria- A funny, light-hearted romp through the Judean desert, breaking man-made rules of religiosity as we go. 

With God on Our Side - An eye opening look at Christian Zionism, especially in the USA.

Junction 48 - A story of a Palestinian in Israel who dreams to become the first Palestinian rapper.

Omar - A love story amidst the occupation and working within a system of collaboration and manipulation.

Syrian Bride - The story reflects the situation of the villagers of Majdal Shams. A wedding celebration becomes a microcosm of political hardship and family disputes.

Amreeka -  A recollection of a Palestinian family’s experience of immigrating to the US.

Promises - A documentary that follows the lives of Palestinian and Israeli kids, and what happens to them when they grow up in conflict.

The Gatekeepers - An Israeli perspective on the Shin Bet security unit.

Bethlehem - Although (for me) one-sided, it is based on a true story and quite a good portrayal of the life of a collaborator.

Speed Sisters - The story of the only female Palestinian car racers’ team who share about their personal lives as women breaking through their societal roles to become race car racers.