Christians Witnessing for Palestine

Books

Against Our Better Judgment: how the U.S. was used to create Israel
by Alison Weir (CreateSpace, Charleston NC. 2014. 240 p.) A description of the effectiveness of the political Zionism over at least a century. More than half of the book is "endnotes," 373 of them, documenting the author's sources. Christians Witnessing for Palestine sponsored a 2015 lecture by Alison Weir in Rochester NY. (MLCS1)
The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 (AKA the "Saudi initiative")
This initiative is perhaps a starting point toward peace. In the proposal, about 500 words long, the Arabs agree to peace, security, and normal relations with Israel, provided Israel agrees to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, to a Palestinian state in the remainder, and to the right of return of refugees, including to Israel, under UN resolution 194. From a Jewish perspective, the problem is that UN 194 says "…the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date…" Israel views this as a demographic threat to the Jewish state proposed in UN 181. (online resource)
The Battle for Justice in Palestine
by Ali Abunimah (Haymarket Books. Chicago IL. 2014. 292 p.) A trusted and committed activist and advocate for Palestinian rights, the author sees hope in the battle for Palestinian self-determination and rights, and urges supporting legitimate resistance on the ground as well as the growing BDS solidarity movement. He also looks at other countries' struggles to live together and challenges Israel's claim that it must be a "Jewish state" instead of a democratic one.
Blood Brothers: the unforgettable story of a Palestinian Christian working for peace in Israel
by Elias Chacour (Chosen Books. Grand Rapids MI. 1994-2003. 239 p.) Autobiographical. Chacour and all his fellow villagers were evicted by the Israeli authorities in 1947 and became deportees and refugees in their own country. The term "Blood Brothers" refers both to Elias' friendship with a close school friend, Faraj Nakhleh, and to Jews and Palestinians. Chacour is now Archbishop of the Melkite Catholic Church in Galilee, with offices in Haifa, and has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize. (MLCS1)
Boycott Divestment Sanctions: the global struggle for Palestinian human rights
by Omar Barghouti (Haymarket Books. Chicago IL. 2011. 312 p.) International boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts helped topple South Africa's brutal apartheid regime. Barghouti makes the case for a rights-based BDS campaign to stop Israel's occupation, colonization, and apartheid against the Palestinian people.3
Chosen? Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
by Walter Brueggemann (Westminster John Knox Press. Louisville KY. 2015. 114 p.) The author "explores the situation in modern-day Israel that raises questions for many Christians when reading biblical accounts of God's saving actions with the Israelites. Are modern Israeli citizens the descendants of the Israelites in the Bible whom God called chosen? Was the promise of land to Moses permanent and irrevocable? What about others living in the promised land? How should we read the Bible in light of the modern situation? Who are the Zionists, and what do they say?" – from the publisher's web site.
Dark Hope: working for peace in Israel and Palestine
by David Dean Shulman (University of Chicago Press. 2007. 226 p.) The author takes readers right into the heart of the conflict between Israel and Palestine in an attempt to discover how his beloved Israel went wrong, and how, through acts of compassionate disobedience, it might still be brought back. (MCLS1)
Democracy, History, and the Contest over the Palestinian Curriculum
by Nathan Brown (Adams Institute. 2001. 27 p.) The author investigates the oft stated premise that outside Palestine, "critics charge that [Palestinian education] incites rather than educates." Brown says, "[T]he Palestinian curriculum is not a war curriculum; while highly nationalistic, it does not incite hatred, violence, and anti-Semitism. It cannot be described as a 'peace curriculum' either, but the charges against it are often wildly exaggerated or inaccurate." (on-line resource, pdf)
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
by Ilan Pappé (Oneworld Publications. 2006. 313 p.) The author is one of the "revisionist" Israeli historians who, having reexamined the record, concludes that previous historical conclusions need modification. He defines ethnic cleansing and sees it the Israeli "Plan D" executed in 1947-48, i.e., dislocating or killing Palestinians and destroying many of their homes and villages. He also discusses how Palestinian views were put at a disadvantage or sidelined during many of the peace processes.

At the time of publication, he was senior lecturer of Political Science at Haifa University. In 2016 he is department member at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Exeter University, UK. (MCLS1)
Fast Times in Palestine: a love affair with a homeless homeland
by Pamela J. Olson (Seal Press. 2013. 306 p.) This twenty-something Stanford physics graduate tells her story of living and working in Ramallah in 2004-5. She was writer/editor for the Palestine Monitor and foreign press coordinator for Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi's 2005 campaign for president of the Palestinian Authority. On the margins of her personal journey, she gives a good introduction to the modern history of Israel/Palestine. Olson was a panelist during our 2013 Witness Palestine Film Series. (MCLS1)
Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land
by Mark Braverman (Fortress Press, 2010). An exploration of the complex and often conflictive relationship between Jewish tradition, Christian theology, and Zionist practice. Drawing on his own experiences as a Jewish American with deep roots in Israel, and a detailed study of Jewish and Christian writings, this is a clarion call to honest dialogue and courageous action. Braverman accepted Christians Witnessing for Palestine invitations to speak at Rochester NY events. (U/R2)
The General's Son: a journey of an Israeli in Palestine
by Miko Peled; forward by Alice Walker (Just World Books, 2012). The author's grandfather, Avraham Katzhelson, signed Israel's declaration of independence. The author's father, Matti Peled, was a leader in the 1947-48 war, a general in the 1967 war, and later a member of Israel's parliament. The author, born in Jerusalem in 1961, was a medic in the Israel Defense Forces.

After Miko Peled's niece, Smadar, 13, was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, he wrote, "The political reality in my homeland would continue to follow me, not to say haunt me, for as long as I lived …" After study and further travel, including to the West Bank, Peled concluded, "I came to the realization that establishing a secular, pluralistic democracy that includes all of Palestine/Israel was the best thing for Israelis and Palestinians and that a two-state solution was not a solution at all."

Miko Peled, now a U.S. as well as Israeli citizen, is a karate instructor in Southern California.

Miko Peled is the keynote speaker for our 2016 Witness Palestine Film Festival. (U/R2)
Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
by Max Blumenthal (Nation Books, 2013). A U.S. citizen of Jewish heritage, the author describes contemporary life and politics in Israel/Palestine based on his reporting trips from 2009-13. (MLCS1)
Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement
Rich Wiles, editor (Pluto Press, 2013) This book tells the story of the BDS campaign designed to secure justice for Palestine by mobilizing civil societies where governments have failed. It sets the historical context, drawing on precedents from India, South Africa, and the U.S. civil rights movement, to make the case for the Palestinian call for economic, academic, and cultural BDS.
Healing Israel/Palestine: A Path to Peace and Reconciliation
by Michael Lerner (Tikkun Books. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley CA. 2003. 273 p.) Rabbi Lerner believes it is possible to be both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian by being pro-peace. He includes a section on the history of the region. Included is the "Tikkun Resolution for Middle East Peace." Lerner's psychology perspective: the written treaty agreements are less important than a change of heart on both sides. (MCLS1)
A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples
by Ilan Pappé (Cambridge; New York. Cambridge University Press. 2004. 333 p.) A narrative that traces the emergence of modern Palestine and Israel from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twenty-first century, that challenges old ways in which the history has been written and sketches new understandings for the sake of a just peace. (MCLS1)
A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, second edition
by Mark Tessler (Indiana University Press. Bloomington IN. 2009. 1018 p.) This book represents the issues on both sides. The author, a political science professor in the U.S., emphasizes that the current conflict is not the extension of an ancient blood feud between Arab and Jews; rather he sees it as congruence in the history of both peoples. (MCLS1)
I Shall Hot Hate: a Gaza doctor's journey on the road to peace and human dignity
by Izzeldin Abuelaish (Walker & Co., New York. 2011. 237 p.) Three of the author's eight children; daughters Bessan, Mayar, and Aya; were killed in a January 16, 2009 Israeli attack on his home in Gaza. His niece, Noor, was also killed. Daughter Ghaida's eye was hanging out of its socket on her cheek; Israeli doctors were able to save her sight. His family is from Houg, near Sderot. They were displaced to Gaza in the Nakba. Izzeldin grew up in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. He is now a Canadian citizen and faculty member at the University of Toronto. (MCLS1)
The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood
by Rashid Khalidi (Beacon Press, Boston. 2006. 281 p.) Beginning in the era of the British Mandate (1920s and 1930s), Khalidi details the ways in which the British hemmed in Palestinians and Palestinian leadership, as Jewish immigration intensified, setting in place constrictions that have crippled efforts to establish an independent state in the present day. (MCLS1)
An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel, Second Edition
by Jeff Halper (Pluto Press. 2010. 352 p.). A critique of the creation of Israel as an exclusively 'Jewish state' at the price of imposing policies of ethnic cleansing, occupation, and discrimination on Palestinians, which offers ways Israel can redeem itself through cultural Zionism. (U/R2)
Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to 'Holy Land' Theology
by Gary Burge (Baker Academic. 2010. 176 p.). A valuable contribution to discussion of the land so contested by Palestinians and Israelis, which offers a counterbalance to dominant ideas about the role of Israel in the plan of God and has important consequences for Christian belief and behavior, including a critique of 'Christian Zionism.' (U/R2)
Learning Each Other's Historical Narrative in Israeli and Palestinian Schools
(Dual-Narrative History Project from the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East, PRIME. 2002-7. Part 1. 56 p. Part 2. 95 p.) A draft history curriculum from Israeli and Palestinian perspectives printed side by side.
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East
by Sandy Tolan (Bloomsbury Publishing. New York. 2006. 362 p.) National Public Radio reporter Tolan wonderfully crafts this story of a Jewish and a Palestinian family uprooted by World War II and the formation of Israel in 1947-8. Chapter 1, "Bell": in 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri returns to al-Ramla in Jewish Israel to visit his childhood home. He presses the doorbell. Eight chapters later in "Encounter," Dalia Ashkenazi opens the door of her house, the one with the lemon tree in the garden, and invites Bashir to come in. The intervening and following chapters relate the moving story of both families. A must read. (MCLS1)

(Note: Lemon Tree, the 2008 movie, also good, tells a different story. Israeli forces uproot a widow's lemon trees in the occupied West Bank to provide a security perimeter when Israel's defense minister moves in next door.)
My Enemy, My Self
by Yoram Binur (Doubleday New York. 1989. 215 p.) The author, a 34-year-old journalist for the Jerusalem weekly Kol Ha'ir (Voice of the City), is an Israeli Jew, speaks Arabic, and is sometimes confused for one. He decides to go undercover in order to personally gauge the Israeli reaction to someone they believe to be a West-Bank Arab working in Israel. (MCLS1)
Occupation Diaries
by Raja Shehadeh (Profile Books. 2012. 256 p.). A chronicle of the last two years before the Palestinian bid for UN statehood in September 2011, detailing daily life lived under siege. Shehadeh asks big questions: The effect of Arab Spring on the future of Palestine? Are any of life's pleasures untouched by politics? As he addresses these questions and others he discloses the frustrations, ignominies, and isolation, the pride, and moments of hope in adversity. (U/R2)
One Country: a bold proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian impasse
by Ali Abunimah (Metropolitan Books. 2006. 227 p.). As the title suggests, the author argues that the time has passed for separation to work. [Israel and Palestine] "are by now so intertwined – geographically and economically – that the pursuit of separation is doomed to fail …" There's also a comparison with South African Apartheid. The author is co-founder and executive director of the electronic intifada web site. (MCLS1)
Palestine Inside Out: an everyday occupation
by Saree Makdisi (W. W. Norton Company. New York, London. 2008. 365 p.) The Palestinian-Lebanese-American author argues for a one-state solution. What we didn't find is a path to get from here to there. (MCLS1)
The Palestine-Israeli Conflict: a beginner's guide
by Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Dawoud El-Alami (Oneworld Publications. Oxford. 2003. 238 p.) A 2008 "third edition" was published. A rabbi and a Palestinian provide point and counterpoint. (MCLS1)
A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation
by Naim Stifan Ateek (Orbis Books. 2008. 224 p.) A vision of the unity of all Palestinian Christians, of dialogue and solidarity between Christian and Muslim Palestinians, and of just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, by dismantling theologies and readings of the Bible that portray God as a God who chooses one people over others. (U/R2)
Palestinian Walks: forays into a vanishing landscape
by Raja Shehadeh (Scribner. New York. 2008. 200 p.). The author, who lives in Ramallah, is a Palestinian lawyer and founder of the human rights organization Al-Haq. The six walks described take place at a different stage of Palestinian history. The first walk features terraced hills dotted by olive and fruit trees; the last is dominated by Jewish settlements and the Wall. Readers are led through political terrain as well as the transformation of a landscape fast disappearing. (MLCS1)
A Possible Peace Between Israel & Palestine: an insider's account of the Geneva Initiative
by Menachem Klein, translated by Haim Watzman (Columbia University Press. New York. 2007. 235 p.) It's too bad that this was an unofficial process and that both Israelis and Palestinians rejected it. Author Klein tells how the Initiative was developed (also known as The Geneva Accords). (MCLS1)
The Question of Palestine
by Edward W. Said (Times Books. New York. 1979. 265p.) This is a must for the topic. The author (b. 1935 in Palestine, d. 2003 in New York) describes the history, demographics, and politics from a Palestinian perspective. (MCLS1)
Separate and Unequal: the inside story of Israeli rule in East Jerusalem
by Amir S Cheshin, Bill Hutman, and Avi Melamed (Harvard University Press. Cambridge MA. 1999. 275 p.) The three authors, who self-identify as "Jerusalemites and Jews," played a role in the city. They cover 1967 until the book was published. Their view, in summary: "It is our belief that Israeli policy in east Jerusalem has been misguided… Palestinian residents of Jerusalem live in conditions that are far inferior to those of their Jewish neighbors, and the Israeli government is to blame. Israel has failed to properly maintain Arab east Jerusalem, leaving its neighborhoods to deteriorate and residents with no choice but to leave the city, while nearby the government has built beautiful new Jewish neighborhoods to encourage Jews from Israel and around the world to move onto land expropriated from Arabs." (MLCS1)
United Nations resolutions 181, 194, 242, and 338
Because many other materials refer to these, we suggest you read them yourself.
We Belong to the Land
by Elias Chacour (University of Notre Dame Press. Notre Dame IN. 2001. 205 p.) A Melkite Catholic priest and an Israeli Palestinian citizen, the author tells of his priesthood in the village of Ibillin, Israel, where he built the first Palestinian High School (map). He continues to work for peace, believing that the land belongs neither to Jew nor Palestinian, but rather they as compatriots together belong to the land. (MLCS1)
We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: a plan that will work
by Jimmy Carter (Simon and Schuster. New York. 2009. 228 p.) Carter sees the following as elements for peace: (1) demilitarized Palestinian state, (2) agreement on borders, (3) sharing of Jerusalem, (4) right of Palestinians to return to the West Bank and Gaza, and (5) Palestinian unity in Gaza and the West Bank. (MCLS1)

 

1 Available through the Monroe County Library System (Rochester NY)

2 Available through the University of Rochester library

3 Thanks to the "2016 PCUSA Peacemaking Program Mosaic of Peace Reading List" for this annotation