A Summer 2020 Book List for Shropshire Friends of Palestine

Below is a list of 10 titles about Palestine- a mix of background history, travel and fiction- followed by slightly more detailed reviews of those of the 10 that are asterisked. We have not included prices as these vary greatly depending on seller and condition. All titles are available online for no more than £14, mostly much less. We hope you feel tempted.

On Palestine by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé (2015)

A good historical overview of the issues around Palestine and Israel’s Occupation, written after Israel’s 2015 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Includes thoughtful discussion of the two state solution versus a secular democratic state. Available on line as a paperback and as a free pdf.

Walking to Jerusalem: Blisters, hope and other facts on the ground by Justin Butcher (2018)*.

A lively  and engaging account of  the ‘Just Walk to Jerusalem’ from the UK in 2017 with human rights charity Amos Trust. A passionate counter to Theresa May’s celebration ‘with pride’ of the centenary of the Balfour Agreement in the autumn of that year.

Balfour’s Shadow by David Cronin (2017)

A sweeping history exposing the motives of those involved in drawing up the infamous Balfour Declaration in 1917 and its devastating consequences.*

Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar (1949). *

A powerful, haunting novella about the violent removal of the inhabitants of a Palestinian village on one day in 1948, as seen through the eyes of an Israeli soldier and told by a widely admired Israeli writer.

Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel’s Separation for Fun by Mark Thomas (2011)

In 2011 comedian Mark Thomas walked the Separation Barrier, crossing in and out of Palestine and Israel and meeting Israelis and Palestinians, settlers, soldiers, farmers and zookeepers along the way. Told with his mix of humour, lacerating detail, bathos and a gimlet eye for the incongruous and the unjust.

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa (2006)

A beautifully written and heart-breaking novel based in the refugee camp of Jenin on the West Bank about Amal, a Palestinian girl born to a family who have lost home, country and heritage. *

Palestinian Walks – Notes on a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadah (2007).

Shehadeh is a Palestinian human rights lawyer and also a keen rambler and this book shares his deep love for the Palestinian countryside. He describes six walks taken between 1978 and 2006 and the transformation of his beloved landscape into a more dangerous and tense place.

A Month By the Sea by Dervla Murphy (2015).

In 2011, the acclaimed travel writer spent a month in Gaza. A keen-eyed and keen- eared account of the place and the people she met, rich and poor, Islamists and liberals, Hamas and Fatah supporters alike.

One Palestine Complete. Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate by  Tom Segev (2001) .

This is a must read for anyone hoping to understand the origins of the state of Israel and the current subjection of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and within Israel. A serious work of history, it is as gripping as a novel, its length (over 500 pages, plus notes) allowing Segev to weave together the stories of its protagonists, British, Palestinian and Jewish, during the fateful thirty years of the Mandate.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappé (2006)

The story of the establishment of Israel in 1948.*

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