Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations

Acclaimed reflections on the causes and consequences of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
With characteristic rigor and readability, Avi Shlaim reflects on a range of key issues, transformations and personalities in the Israel–Palestine conflict. From the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the 2008 invasion of Gaza, Israel and Palestine places current events in their proper historical perspective, and assesses the impact of key political and intellectual figures, including Yasir Arafat and Ariel Sharon, Edward Said and Benny Morris. It also re-examines the United States’ influential role in the conflict, and explores the many missed opportunities for peace and progress. Clear-eyed and meticulous, Israel and Palestine is an essential tool for understanding the fractured history and future prospects of the region.


  • “Highly recommended: Everyone interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—general readers and academics alike—will want to consult this book.”
  • “A valuable collection.”
  • “Shlaim … provides a realpolitik reading of the history, demolishing the heroic and innocent image of Israel in its relations with the Palestinians.”
  • “Wonderful … Not often today do we find historians who are this honest and this bleak and this able to express truth so simply.”
  • “Shlaim does not aim at a comprehensive overview of the conflict so much as a running rebuttal of Israel’s version of it; an insurgency in the public relations war.”
  • “… a welcome and timely addition to the continuing debate on the Palestine-Israel conflict and its possible resolution.”


  • John Berger: The dead help the living to resist in Palestine

    As tensions escalate once again in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in what is now being described by some as the Third Intifada, we share this extract from John Berger's Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance about the devastating, deadly effects of the Israeli occupation. Earlier this week, Berger sent a letter to the Palestinian resistance in support of the upsurge. 

    Continue Reading

  • On the one-year anniversary of Israel's attack on Gaza: An interview with Max Blumenthal

    Glenn Greenwald interviews Max Blumenthal, author of The 51 Day War. Originally published on The Intercept.

    One year ago today, Israel invaded, bombed and shelled Gaza, and continued to do that for the next seven weeks. According to the U.N., at least 2,104 Gazans were killed — 1,462 of whom (69 percent) were civilians, including 495 children. A total of 6 Israeli civilians, and 66 soldiers, were killed. The shockingly high civilian death rate in Gaza included the now-iconic imagery of four young boys from the same family being killed by Israeli warships while they played on a beach in front of a hotel filled with foreign journalists.

    Continue Reading

  • The horrifying reality of living in the West Bank for Palestinian families

    What follows is an extract from Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation.

    Laith Al-Hlou

    Farmer, day laborer, 32
    Born in Bethlehem, West Bank
    Interviewed in the West Bank

    [Editors] The first thing we notice as we drive to Laith Al-Hlou’s home southeast of Bethlehem is the challenge presented by the roads. Some roads are almost too steep to climb, and others almost too muddy or rocky to navigate. The bottom of our car crunches and scrapes as we creep along toward his village. Eventually we reach the compound where Laith lives with his family. Laith’s house, the family’s olive trees, and two other houses belonging to his extended family are surrounded by a short rock wall topped with barbed wire. When we pull up in our car, a dozen or more kids come spilling out to greet us—Laith’s children and nieces and nephews. Some wear cracked plastic shoes, some wear no shoes at all.  Laith is a skinny thirty-two-year-old with a wife and five young kids. The seven of them sleep in a twelve-foot by twelve-foot room that includes a wardrobe, a crib for the baby, and twin bunk beds piled with blankets. This is the main room of the family’s living space. They also have a small kitchen and toilet, all of which is on the second floor, above a chicken coop.

    After a tour of his house, we sit with Laith on plastic chairs outside, and he tells us about the ways his community has changed since 1996, when Israeli settlers first moved near his home. His wife stays close by, and even though she is hard of hearing, she interjects periodically with her own stories. Laith is one of up to 300,000 Palestinians living in Area C—the roughly 60 percent of the West Bank that is still under full military and administrative control of Israel following the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993.1 Area C also contains many of the West Bank’s Israeli settlements, a collection of villages established by Israeli citizens following the occupation of the region in 1967. Today, there are 400,000–500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank outside of Jerusalem. The guard tower of a nearby settlement looms above Laith’s property as we sit and talk. He tears up as he tells us that pressure from the settlements may force him to someday relocate his family.

    Continue Reading