Palestine: Books & Films












The items below are valuable educational resources about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including books and films.


Arafat: From Defender to Dictator
By: Said K. Aburish (Bloomsbury USA, Oct. 1999)

In this biography, Said Aburish examines the life of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He chronicles Arafat's transformation from guerrilla to Nobel Peace Prizewinner and internationally recognized political leader. Aburish examines Arafat's leadership techniques and motivations, delves into the details of his private and public life, and speculates about the future of Palestinian leadership.

Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World, 2nd Edition
By: Edward Said (Vintage Books, Apr. 1997)

From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the bombing of the World Trade Center, the American news media have portrayed "Islam" as a monolithic entity, synonymous with terrorism and religious fanaticism. At the same time, Islamic countries use "Islam" to justify unrepresentative and often repressive regimes. In this new edition of his classic work, Edward Said reveals the hidden agendas and distortions of fact that underlie even the most "objective" coverage of the Islamic world.

Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City
By: Bernard Wasserstein (Yale University Press, Sept. 2001)

This book explores Jerusalem's complex diplomatic history and the ways in which the city's political and religious significance has varied over the centuries. Within this context, Wasserstein grapples with the seemingly intractable conflict that divides Jerusalem today, asking why it has lasted so long and what the possibilities are for resolution. Wasserstein is a professor of history at Glasgow University and the president of the Jewish Historical Society of England.

A Durable Peace: Israel and Its Place Among the Nations
By: Benjamin Netanyahu (Warner Books, Jan. 2000)

In an updated version of his earlier book, A Place Among the Nations, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly articulates a conservative, Zionist position on Israel and its relationship with the Palestinians. An important figure in Israeli politics, Netanyahu provides great insight into the arguments and perspectives of the Israeli government.

Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy Towards Palestine and Israel Since 1945, 2nd Edition
By: Donald Neff (Institute for Palestine Studies, Nov. 2002)

A former foreign correspondent for The Los Angeles Times and Time magazine, Donald Neff has written several books about U.S. policy during the various Middle East wars. This book draws on official U.S. documents to examine U.S. policy in Israel/Palestine in the second half of the twentieth century. It particularly focuses on the failure of the U.S. to comply with agreements regarding Jerusalem, the right of return, UN Resolution 242, and settlements. This updated edition (the first was published in 1995) also covers the Clinton administration, the failure of the Oslo peace process, and the first 18 months of the George W. Bush administration.

Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, 2nd Edition
By: Noam Chomsky (South End Press, Oct. 1999)

This new edition of Noam Chomsky's 1983 classic includes a new introduction, a forward by Edward Said, and new chapters on Israel's war in Lebanon, the first Palestinian Intifada, and the Oslo and Wye peace agreements. Chomsky explores the historical background of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the development of Israel's relationship with the U.S.

Finding Palestine: One American's Trek from the Midwest to the Middle East
By: Liza Elliot (Hope Publishing House, Dec. 2001)

Liza Elliot is an American nurse with a Ph.D. in Sociology. She has worked extensively with the Red Crescent Society in the Middle East since Lebanon's civil war. This book is an autobiographical account of her experience in Palestine. It documents her process of self-discovery and political awakening as she comes to understand the Palestinian cause.

If a Place Can Make You Cry: Dispatches from an Anxious State
By: Daniel Gordis (Crown Publishing, Oct. 2002)

Rabbi Daniel Gordis was the Vice-President of the University of Judaism in Southern California when he and his family decided to move to Israel in 1998 for a year-long sabbatical. After their year was up, Gordis decided to make Israel their permanent home. This collection of edited emails that he sent to family and friends from Israel records his thoughts on Judaism, spirituality, the significance of place, sacrifice, and the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. A liberal but religious Jew, Gordis is increasingly discouraged about the prospects for peace in Israel/Palestine as the peace negotiations collapse. His writings express his confusion and often-contradictory feelings about Israel, giving us more insight into the conflict within Gordis (and many Israelis) than into any clearly defined ideological or moral position.

Invisible Enemy: Israel, Politics, Media, and American Culture
By: Edward Abboud (Vox Publishing Company, Jun. 2001)

Edward Abboud, an Arab-American writer and Navy veteran, systematically dismantles U.S. arguments for continuing to support Israel. He documents the increasing power of organized Israeli influence over American media, social and political institutions, and the American public. He explains how this influence is damaging the United States culturally, socially, religiously, militarily, and politically. Abboud presents a convincing indictment of American media outlets and challenges them to clarify their political allegiances.

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
By: Avi Shlaim (W.W. Norton & Company, Jan. 2001)

The Iron Wall covers the history of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict from the creation of the state of Israel in the late 1940s to the election of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 1998. Shlaim, an Israeli scholar, examines the conflict between the conservative "hawks" and the liberal "doves" in Israel. He points to the hawks' uncompromising position as a key factor in Israel's isolation from the rest of the Middle East. Shlaim calls for a re-evaluation and revision of Israel's history based on primary documents and balanced analysis to replace the nationalistic interpretation of history that is so common within Israel.

The Israel Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict, 6th Edition
Ed: Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin (Penguin USA, Aug. 2001)

This 6th edition of The Israel Arab Reader consists of primary documents relating to the Arab/Israeli conflict. It includes documents from the early days of the modern Zionist movement through the Camp David talks that ended in 2000. This comprehensive collection contains speeches, letters, articles, reports, and agreements that the editors arrange in chronological order. Presented without analysis, these documents (from all sides of the conflict) are a useful resource for anyone studying Middle East politics.

Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948
By: Tanya Reinhart (Seven Stories Press, Oct. 2002)

Tanya Reinhart is an Israeli scholar and a columnist for the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot. In this book, she delves into the root causes of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, exposes the ways in which Israel has systematically worked to undermine the Oslo peace agreements, and highlights the connections between the Israeli/Palestinian issue and the U.S. War on Terrorism.

The Middle East, 9th Edition
(Congressional Quarterly Books, Jan. 2000)

This reference book covers the Palestinian/Israeli conflict from Israel's independence through the Oslo peace process. It also covers the rise of OPEC, the Persian Gulf War, and the role of Islam as a unifying force in the Middle East. The book includes country profiles, a timeline of important events in the Middle East since World War II, and biographies of the region's leaders.

The New Intifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid
Ed: Roane Carey (Verso Books, Oct. 2001)

This collection of essays addresses the failed Oslo peace process, the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2001, the consequences of these events for the Palestinian and Israeli people, and the prospects for future peace. Contributing writers include Noam Chomsky, Gila Svirsky, Alison Weir, Edward Said, and many others.

By: Joe Sacco (Fantographics, Jan. 2002)

This new one-volume edition of Joe Sacco's comic book documentary, Palestine, includes a forward by Edward Said. Sacco traveled to Palestine and Israel in the early 1990s and conducted over 100 interviews with Palestinians and Israelis. This resulting 288-page book is a unique visual adventure through his experiences there that is at the same time thought provoking, poignant, and entertaining.

Palestine and the Arab Israeli Conflict, 4th Edition
By: Charles D. Smith (Bedford/St. Martin's, Nov. 2000)

The completely revised fourth edition of this book is a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the history of Palestine before Israeli independence through the aftermath of the Oslo peace process. The first portion of the book covers the history of ancient Israel, Palestine under Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman rule, and the rise of modern Zionism. It details the complex chain of events and agreements that led to the creation of the state of Israel, as well as nearly every significant event after that through 1999. Each section includes several relevant primary documents and photographs. This book is an inclusive and detailed, but broad, survey of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on US-Middle East Policy
By: Kathleen Christison (University of California Press, 2000)

For most of the twentieth century, considered opinion in the United States regarding Palestine has favored the inherent right of Jews to exist in the Holy Land. That Palestinians, as a native population, could claim the same right has been largely ignored. Kathleen Christison's book shows how the endurance of such assumptions, along with America's singular focus on Israel and general ignorance of the Palestinian point of view, has impeded a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine
By: Raja Shehadeh (Steerforth Press, Jan. 2002)

Raja Shehadeh is a human rights attorney and founder of Al-Haq, a Palestinian affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists. In this memoir, he writes of his relationship with his family, his first romance, his intellectual development, travel, and, of course, life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Shehadeh's father, also a prominent attorney, was the first Palestinian to advocate for a two-state solution in the 1960s. He was later murdered for that belief. Shehadeh presents a moving narrative that is significant both as a personal story and as a political history.

The Struggle for Palestine
Ed: Lance Selfa (Haymarket Books, Jun. 2002)

This collection of essays by international pro-Palestinian activists including Tanya Reinhart, Edward Said, Naseer Aruri, Ahmed Shawki, and many others discusses the harsh reality of Palestinian life since the Oslo agreement. It records the Palestinians' struggle through the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The essays also examine the responsibility of the U.S. in supporting Israel's war against the Palestinians. The authors diverge from the commonly accepted two-state solution and instead present a vision of a single, unified, democratic state for Palestine and Israel.

Understanding the Palestinian - Israeli Conflict: A Primer
By: Phyllis Bennis (Trans Arab Research Institute, 2002)

If you have ever asked 'Why is there so much violence in the Middle East?' or 'What caused the current crisis?' or 'Why is the current level of violence so intense?' -- this book is for you. Using easy-to-understand and straight-forward language, Phyllis Bennis answers these and many other frequently asked questions regarding the ongoing Palestinian - Israeli Conflict.

U.S. Policy on Palestine: From Wilson to Clinton
Ed: Michael W. Suleiman (Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Inc., 1995)

This collection of essays offers a comprehensive analysis of American foreign policy towards Palestine during the twentieth century. The book begins with a presentation of American perceptions/ misperceptions of Palestine and the impact these have had on American policy. The contributors also discuss the specific policies of American presidents from Truman to Clinton.


Arna's Children
A film by Juliano Mer khamis

The film tells the story of a Palestinian theatre group that was established by Arna Mer Khamis in Jenin and shows suicide attackers in their childhood.

50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs
Directed By: Brian Lapping & Norma Percy (PBS Home Video, 2000)

This five-hour documentary utilizes archival footage and interviews to present the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict from the events surrounding the creation of Israel through the Oslo peace process. The film features interviews with a number of high level political, military, intelligence, and guerrilla leaders, including important figures such as Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Shamir, King Hussein of Jordan, Yasser Arafat, Hafez al-Assad, Jafaar Numeiry, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Jimmy Carter. Although criticized by some as being overly pro-Israeli (for example, it does not address the illegal settlement activity during the Oslo interim period), it offers a broad overview of the conflict in an understandable, easy-to-watch format and contains excellent film footage from throughout the conflict.

Palestine Is Still The Issue
Produced By: Produced by Christopher Martin (2002)

John Pilger returns to the Middle East and questions why there has been no progress towards peace. In 1977, the award-winning journalist and film-maker, John Pilger, made a documentary called Palestine Is Still The Issue. He told how almost a million Palestinians had been forced off their land in 1948, and again in 1967. In this in-depth documentary, he has returned to the West Bank of the Jordan and Gaza, and to Israel, to ask why the Palestinians, whose right of return was affirmed by the United Nations more than half a century ago, are still caught in a terrible limbo -- refugees in their own land, controlled by Israel in the longest military occupation in modern times.

People and the Land
Produced By: Tom Hayes (1997)

Challenging U.S. foreign policy, this film examines the concrete realities of Israel's conduct in the West Bank and Gaza, the level of U.S. support for that conduct through foreign aid, and the human cost of that aid in Palestine and the U.S. The film exposes the apartheid system under which the Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories live.