In the month of May, violence between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas reached record-highs, with a death toll that especially affected the Palestinian people. Over the course of 11 days, over 250 lives were lost. Activists and scholars took to social media to protest, educate, and dissent. An end to the conflict seems nowhere in sight, despite a ceasefire agreement last month.
The circumstances within the occupied Palestinian land hold a long and layered history. One that goes beyond the media’s reportage of events. Narratives from both sides of the occupation are pertinent in the pursuit of understanding this history and its rippling consequences to this day. In the journey towards justice, literary and narrative works are a stepping stone. Here are some works that shed light on the occupation, on the realities of the oppressed, and the search for peace.
This novel tells the tale of a mother’s fierce love for her son, who is sent back to the Israeli army for an offense. Israeli author, Grossman, faced a personal tragedy himself when his son was killed whilst serving in the Israeli Defense Forces during the 2006 Lebanon War. His stories often address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Grossman staunchly supporting the solution of peace as a vocal advocate of Palestine. The bestselling book, told from the perspective of the mother, Ora, is a haunting portrait of war, nation, and family.
American philosopher and social critic Noam Chomsky perhaps needs no introduction. Chomsky, along with Israeli political activist Ilan Pappé, wove together a startling depiction of Palestine’s history. The book looks into the path Palestinians will encounter on their quest for liberation.
This book, rooted in academia and research, gives holistic, nuanced insight to the conflict at hand. Going through key points in history along with outlining opposing viewpoints, it is essential reading in gaining a wider understanding of the struggle.
Israeli historian Shlomo Sand put together a controversial but essential unpacking of Jewish origins, with the focal point of his learning being the contested Jewish homeland. The book also looks into Christian Zionism, the science behind the Jewish population, and the implications of Israeli democracy.
Ghada Karmi’s family grew up in exile in the United Kingdom, after her family fled Palestine. The author has written stunning fiction works in the past, but Return follows her quest to find her homeland once again. She visits memories of her childhood, encounters politicians, soldiers, and fellow Palestinians. The book is a thoughtful and poignant examination of her country and its fraught future.