Published on December 14, 2023

Resources for Learning

Readings about the Israel-Palestine Conflict

By Nived Dharmaraj and Alexandra Sweny

Amidst heavy political censorship both abroad and at home, many readers are looking for additional context to understand both the present-day Israel-Palestine relationship and the events leading up to the brutality of the past months. To this end, we have created a list of books from our member publishers and Quebec-based writers that aim to elucidate the longstanding conflict. Like many publishers, artists, and writers, we believe in the power of the written word to facilitate learning and empathy, and believe these to be essential in approaching any conflict. Published from 1989 to 2023 and featuring academic texts, poetry, memoirs, and works of fiction, the list is a reminder that the roots of this conflict are longstanding, far-reaching and deserving of sustained engagement.

Leftwing Books

Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance in Palestine, by Remi Kanazi

Leftwing Books, 2011

From the publisher’s website:

Poetic Injustice is a diverse mix of unabashed resistance poems. Laced with searing indictments of occupation, ethnic cleansing, and war, Remi tackles some of the most important issues facing the world today. Additionally, included in the collection are forty-eight three-line poems for Palestine and a full-length spoken word poetry CD. Pulitzer Prize winner and Nation Institute senior fellow Chris Hedges said, ‘There is more truth, and perhaps finally more news, in Remi Kanazi’s poems than the pages of your daily newspaper or the sterile reports flashed across your screens.’ Former US Congresswoman and Green Party nominee for president Cynthia McKinney said ‘Poetic Injustice is breathtakingly honest prose that shakes the reader’s preconceived notions of the Middle East…run out and get this collection today.'” 

McGill-Queen’s University Press

Settler Indigeneity in the West Bank, edited by Rachel Feldman and Ian McGonigle

McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2023

From the publisher’s website:

Settler-Indigeneity in the West Bank asks what Israeli settlers mean when they say they are indigenous; how settler indigeneity is felt, performed, and mediated; and what the implications of indigeneity claims are on the international stage. Building on foundational scholarship that has come out of post-colonial and indigeneity studies, the volume theorizes settler-indigeneity as a cultural phenomenon and product of transnational settler-colonial histories, while also interrogating the dialectic of ‘settler’ and ‘indigenous’ to illustrate their co-constitution. Considering agriculture, clothing, food, language, and religious practices, the chapters explore how feelings of indigeneity are fashioned and how these feelings continue to transform the landscape of the West Bank.”

The Domestic Battleground: Canada and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, edited by David Taras and David H. Goldberg

McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1989

From the publisher’s website:

“Few international issues have aroused as much passionate interest and political activity among Canadians. The contest on “the domestic battleground” has been decisive in determining Canada’s policies in the Middle East. The Domestic Battleground provides the history and background needed to understand Canadian attitudes toward both the explosive unrest occurring in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the participants in the conflict – Israel, the Palestinians, and the rest of the Arab world. Taras and Goldberg analyse the struggles over the levers of decision making in Ottawa and the battle between moral stances and convictions that has taken place among concerned Canadians.”

No Balm in Gilead, by Sylva M. Gelber

McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1989

From the publisher’s website:

“This book is a rare personal record by a Canadian of the last fifteen years of the British mandate in Palestine. Gelber writes about her experiences as a young Jewish woman during the birth of Israel, and without attributing blame, describes worsening tensions among the factions involved.”

Baraka Books

Israel: A Beachhead in the Middle East
From European Colony to US Power Projection Platform
, by Stephen Gowans

Baraka Books, 2019

From the publisher’s website:

“Stephen Gowans challenges the specious argument that Israel controls US foreign policy, tracing the development of the self-declared Jewish state, from its conception in the ideas of Theodore Herzl, to its birth as a European colony, through its efforts to suppress regional liberation movements, to its emergence as an extension of the Pentagon, integrated into the US empire as a pro-imperialist Sparta of the Middle East.”

Linda Leith Publishing

The Philistine, by Leila Marshy

Linda Leith Publishing, 2018

From the publisher’s website:

“Nadia Eid doesn’t know it yet, but she’s about to change her life. It’s the end of the ‘80s and she hasn’t seen her Palestinian father since he left Montreal years ago to take a job in Egypt, promising to bring her with him. But now she’s twenty-five and he’s missing in action, so she takes matters into her own hands. Booking a short vacation from her boring job and Québecois boyfriend, she calls her father from the Nile Hilton in downtown Cairo. But nothing goes as planned and, stumbling around, Nadia wanders into an art gallery where she meets Manal, a young Egyptian artist who becomes first her guide and then her lover. 

Through this unexpected relationship, Nadia rediscovers her roots, her language, and her ambitions, as her father demonstrates the unavoidable destiny of becoming a Philistine – the Arabic word for Palestinian. With Manal’s career poised to take off and her father’s secret life revealed, the First Intifada erupts across the border.”

Black Rose Books

Filtering the News: Essays on Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model, edited by Jeffery Klaehn

Black Rose Books, 2005

From the publisher’s website:

Filtering The News explores the continuing critical relevance of Herman and Chomsky’s influential propaganda model for the analysis of media reporting of the environment, the war against Iraq, journalism post 9/11, media reporting of the Israel/Palestine conflict and other case studies.”

Note: While Filtering The News does mention the Israel/Palestine conflict, it also discusses several other case studies of war and media reporting. However, we felt that the larger theoretical lens employed was useful in generally understanding how media operates during such times of crisis.

Daraja Books

Mental Health and Human Rights in Palestine: The Life of Gaza’s Pioneering Psychiatrist Dr Eyad Sarraj, by Wasseem El Sarraj

Daraja Books, 2022

From the publisher’s website:

“This is a biography of the life of Dr Eyad El Sarraj, Gaza’s pioneering psychiatrist and founder of the Gaza Community Mental Healthcare Programme, written by his son, Wasseem El Sarraj. It is also a history of Palestine with a focus on Gaza. Eyad’s life was intimately intertwined with Palestine’s struggles so his choices and reactions reflected many of the major historical moments of the last 70 years. The book is an effort to provide a perspective on how the forces around him impacted his life, and how he took control of what he could achieve in an intractable situation. The book is interspersed with Wasseem’s own reflections as a mixed-race Palestinian, and as someone who has lived under occupation in Gaza.”

Non-AELAQ-Affiliated Books by Quebec-Based Authors

Driving in Palestine, by Rehab Nazzal

Fernwood Publishing, 2023

From the publisher’s website:

“During the past seven decades, Palestine has been sealed from the Arab world and shattered into fragmented and coded areas: 1948 area, 1967 area, Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and A, B and C areas within the West Bank. Each area is ruled by different laws, including different roads and permits that control the mobility of Palestinians and privilege Jewish settlers.

Driving in Palestine is a research-creation project by acclaimed artist Rehab Nazzal, who explores the visible indices of the politics of mobility that she encountered firsthand while traversing the occupied West Bank between 2010 and 2020. This photography book consists of 160 black and white photographs, hand-drawn maps and critical essays in Arabic and English by Palestinian and Canadian scholars and artists.

The photographs were all captured from moving vehicles on the roads of the West Bank. They focus on Israel’s architecture of movement restrictions and surveillance structures that proliferate in the West Bank, including the Apartheid Wall, segregation walls surrounding illegal colonies, gates, fences, watchtowers, roadblocks and military checkpoints among other obstacles to freedom of movement.”

I Am Ariel Sharon, by Yara El-Ghadban (translated by Wayne Grady)

House of Anansi Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website:

A bold and innovative novel, I Am Ariel Sharon dives into the tortured mind of the controversial Israeli prime minister as he lies comatose and faces an ultimate reckoning.

Award-winning Palestinian Canadian novelist Yara El-Ghadban imagines the confrontation at death’s door between Ariel Sharon, the “King of Israel,” and the women closest to him — his mother, his wives, and the mysterious nurse Rita. Like latter-day Greek furies, they lament the brutality of his life and maltreatment of the Palestinian people and demand he face up to his part in the bloodshed of Israel’s wars.

Here is an extraordinary, magical, and impassioned story of nearly impossible empathy, the singular work of a novelist in full flight.”

To Love a Palestinian Woman, by Ehab Lotayef

TSAR Publications, 2010

From the bookstore’s website:

“Inspired by the rich poetic tradition of the author’s native Arab culture, To Love a Palestinian Woman includes works written over eight years. Richly evocative and often passionate, these poems can be described as personal and romantic, as well as public and political. While the condition in Palestine is a dominant theme, so is love. Conciliatory in tone or passionately confrontational, these poems stem from a deep humanity that cannot fail to engage the reader.”

Wall of Dust by Timothy Niedermann

Deux Voiliers, 2015

From the publisher’s website:

Wall of Dust is a story of the human spirit—of the pain of loss and the struggle to recover. Aisha, a Palestinian schoolteacher, becomes deranged after most of her class is accidentally killed by a missile fired from an Israeli gunship. She begins a strange ritual, throwing stones at the “security barrier,” the eight-meter-tall concrete wall that separates much of the West Bank from Israel. […] Lyrically written, full of compassion for the people of Palestine and Israel and for the land they inhabit together, Wall of Dust is a story of revelation, redemption, and the persistence of hope.”