Book(s) on the origins of the Israel/Palestine conflict
May 8, 2024 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend a book or two for someone looking to get a better understanding of the origins and historical context of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Being "unbiased" or "objective" is less important than being interesting, but I'm not looking for a polemic (unless it's a really informative polemic).
posted by lex mercatoria to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The Hundred Years War on Palestine by Rashid Khalidi is essential, and interesting because it's a historian delving into his own family history and experiences.
posted by windbox at 1:11 PM on May 8 [6 favorites]

I asked this question a few months ago, and got some good recommendations. I read From Beirut to Jerusalem and Joe Sacco's Palestine - both interesting and informative.

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy, by Nathan Thrall doesn't seem to be about the origins of the conflict so much as its present consequences, but it just won a Pulitzer this week and I plan to read it shortly.
posted by hepta at 1:33 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]

Covering a range of ideological perspectives and time periods:

Simon Sebag Montefiore - Jerusalem
Benny Morris - Righteous Victims
Albert Hourani - A History of the Arab Peoples (More "big picture" but covers what you're asking about)
posted by allthethings at 2:51 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Ilan Pappé's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and Edward Said's The Question of Palestine are on my to-read list. Benny Morris coheres in his findings with what Pappé found but famously he lands on a different set of conclusions in his career compared to the other New Historians, but then it becomes a useful validation of objective facts. Said's The Question of Palestine has become seminal enough that title has become a bit of a riff and cultural reference for other writers on the topic.
posted by cendawanita at 3:54 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]

I liked The Shortest History of Israel and Palestine by Michael Scott-Baumann.
posted by enfa at 4:41 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]

The Arab-Israeli Conflict by Kirsten E. Schulze is a good overview, beginning with the origins of Zionism and Arab nationalism.
posted by Just the one swan, actually at 7:04 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Balfour's Shadow is explicitly anti-zionist, but also very informative in relation to the British Empire's early twentieth century machinations in the region. There's a particularly good chapter about the Black and Tans. (This is the ex-WW I auxilliary force sent to Ireland around 1919 to help squash rebellion there and, after Irish independence, sent to Palestine to do the same thing.)
posted by Morpeth at 7:00 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]

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