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Five top-rated books for comprehending the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Five top-rated books for comprehending the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Attempting to comprehend the conflict in Gaza and the various political and historical influences surrounding this area could potentially require years of study. As the reporter for the Guardian in Jerusalem, it is my responsibility to communicate the intricacies of the region through news articles.

There is always value in further exploration, but there are countless books that provide knowledge about the history and current state of Israel and Palestine. Among them, these are my preferred choices. They include non-fiction and fiction works that focus on the personal experiences of those residing in this area, and the varying perspectives and emotions surrounding the same matters and occurrences.

Out of It by Selma Dabbagh

It’s always a challenge to articulate the essence of Gaza, and I believe that many news reports also struggle to accurately depict the daily realities of living there. The feeling of being confined under constant siege is difficult to convey to outsiders. However, Selma Dabbagh’s debut novel, which takes place in Gaza City during the second intifada in the 2000s, captures this feeling adeptly. With a delicate touch, Dabbagh portrays the Mujahed family and their struggles, offering a glimpse into their aspirations and hardships.

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The Talmud instructs: “In a situation where someone intends to harm you, take action and eliminate them first.” The book “Rise and Kill First,” published in 2018 by New York Times journalist Ronen Bergman, delves into the history of Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad. It explores the extensive list of targets who were assassinated by the agency, including Nazis, Iranian nuclear scientists, and Palestinian leaders. However, the book also raises concerns over innocent bystanders and individuals who were mistakenly targeted. These assassinations have been carried out using various methods, such as poison-filled toothpaste and drone attacks. “Rise and Kill First” is a captivating read, based on numerous interviews with members of Israel’s intelligence services, that prompts contemplation around issues of ethics and strategy.

Return to Haifa by Ghassan Kanafani

Ghassan Kanafani, a known figure in both politics and literature hailing from Acre, was among those singled out and killed by the Mossad via a car bomb in Beirut back in 1972. He authored a total of four novels before his untimely death at the age of 36. His final work, Return to Haifa, delves into the story of a Palestinian couple who had no choice but to leave behind their infant son after the establishment of Israel in 1948, only to discover years later that he was adopted and raised by an Israeli family, and now serves as a soldier in the Israeli army. This book showcases Kanafani’s progression and maturity in his portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with well-developed Israeli characters who are also acknowledged as victims of displacement.

Apples from the Desert by Savyon Liebrecht

In 1998, a compilation of brief narratives featuring Israeli women was released, during a time when the Oslo accords were instilling hope for peace. The author, Liebrecht, portrays characters from diverse cultural and societal backgrounds united by the terror of the Holocaust, which continues to haunt their lives and shape their perception of Israel as a nation.

Liebrecht examines the complexities of Jewish and Israeli identity while coexisting with the Palestinian community. I am perplexed as to why her writing is not as renowned as that of Amos Oz, who is highly regarded as Israel’s top literary figure; her talent is on par.

The ongoing conflict over Palestine, known as the Hundred Years’ War, as written by Rashid Khalidi.

Rashid Khalidi’s perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as being driven by settler-colonialism may not be universally accepted, but he effectively highlights the current unequal power dynamics, as well as a long history of insincere attempts at resolution by Britain, the US, and Israel. He also addresses the shortcomings of Palestinian leadership that have contributed to the troubling state of the conflict today.

There is a scarcity of English historical accounts about Palestine, but this recent one is based on Khalidi’s personal archives and first-hand involvement as an activist and peace mediator. This articulate and convincing viewpoint from a Palestinian standpoint is highly anticipated.

Source: theguardian.com