On My TBR – Reading about Palestine

I wasn’t sure I’d post on here about what’s happening in Palestine, but it’s really disheartening to see so many members of the book community taking the easy way out and hiding behind “It’s too complicated” when there are numerous books and free resources out there. I mean – we’re readers, aren’t we?

Before I start, and because apparently it still bears repeating : there’s nothing antisemitic in educating oneself in the reality of the apartheid regime Israel is conducting. Jewish people have been calling it out, too, and people using Israel’s behavior as an excuse to perform antisemitic attacks against Jewish people around the world must be strongly punished in accordance with anti-discrimination laws.

At its heart, it’s a colonization issue – to learn more about it you can check the reports published by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN to mention a few.

First of all, if you don’t know where to start, I strongly recommend you visit Decolonize Palestine, because this website offers so many resources, including a reading list! You can also find numerous donation threads on Twitter by checking the #FreePalestine hashtag, or start with this thread :

Non-fiction books I’m currently reading

  • The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine : A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 by Rashid Khalidi | 2020 | Blurb (from Goodreads) : A landmark history of one hundred years of war waged against the Palestinians from the foremost US historian of the Middle East, told through pivotal events and family history. In 1899, Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi, mayor of Jerusalem, alarmed by the Zionist call to create a Jewish national home in Palestine, wrote a letter aimed at Theodore Herzl: the country had an indigenous people who would not easily accept their own displacement. He warned of the perils ahead, ending his note, “in the name of God, let Palestine be left alone.” Thus Rashid Khalidi, al-Khalidi’s great-great-nephew, begins this sweeping history, the first general account of the conflict told from an explicitly Palestinian perspective. Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival materials and the reports of generations of family members—mayors, judges, scholars, diplomats, and journalists—The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine upends accepted interpretations of the conflict, which tend, at best, to describe a tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same territory. Instead, Khalidi traces a hundred years of colonial war on the Palestinians, waged first by the Zionist movement and then Israel, but backed by Britain and the United States, the great powers of the age. He highlights the key episodes in this colonial campaign, from the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the destruction of Palestine in 1948, from Israel’s 1982 invation of Lebanon to the endless and futile peace process. Original, authoritative, and important, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine is not a chronicle of victimization, nor does it whitewash the mistakes of Palestinian leaders or deny the emergence of national movements on both sides. In reevaluting the forces arrayed against the Palestinians, it offers an illuminating new view of a conflict that continues to this day.
  • The Ethnic Cleaning of Palestine by Ilan PappĂ© | 2006 | Blurb (from Goodreads) : Since the Holocaust, it has been almost impossible to hide large-scale crimes against humanity. In our communicative world, few modern catastrophes are concealed from the public eye. And yet, Ilan Pappe unveils, one such crime has been erased from the global public memory: the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948. But why is it denied, and by whom? The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine offers an investigation of this mystery.

I’ve decided to read those twos because they’ve been recommended to me as great starting points in the sea of non-fiction books about the colonization of Palestine. Over the years I’ve read many resources published by NGOs but I’m ashamed to admit that I had never read books on that subject before now. If you’re like me and don’t know where to start, I can already recommend these ones!

Memoirs on my TBR

  • Return. A Palestinian Memoir by Ghada Karmi | 2015 | Blurb (from Goodreads) : An extraordinary memoir of exile and the impossibility of finding home, from the author of In Search of Fatima. Having grown up in Britain following her family’s exile from Palestine, doctor, author and academic Ghada Karmi leaves her adoptive home in a quest to return to her homeland. She starts work with the Palestinian Authority and gets a firsthand understanding of its bizarre bureaucracy under Israel’s occupation. In her quest, she takes the reader on a fascinating journey into the heart of one of the world’s most intractable conflict zones and one of the major issues of our time. Visiting places she has not seen since childhood, her unique insights reveal a militarised and barely recognisable homeland, and her home in Jerusalem, like much of the West Bank, occupied by strangers. Her encounters with politicians, fellow Palestinians, and Israeli soldiers cause her to question what role exiles like her have in the future of their country and whether return is truly possible.
  • Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora by Yasir Suleiman (Editor) | 2016 | Blurb (from Goodreads) : The first book of its kind, Being Palestinian draws together the voices of 102 well-known academics, poets, writers, faith leaders and singers, alongside ordinary Palestinians in North America and the United Kingdom, to explore in heartfelt personal reflections what it means to be Palestinian in diaspora.

That’s it for today! I hope you’ll take the time to check a few of these resources out!

7 thoughts on “On My TBR – Reading about Palestine

  1. This is a very well-thought-out post, thank you for sharing. I haven’t felt educated enough to comment on the situation, but that’s on me and not the topic. I need to do more research for sure.

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