The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt


5 Books to Better Understand Palestinian History

Books history nonfiction Palestine Palestinian Voices Save Palestine
5 Books to Better Understand Palestinian History
written by
Safy Allam

The Palestinian struggle has taken an even darker turn in the past couple of days, with souls suffering the most unimaginable of predicaments. Palestinians from all walks of life suffer from injustice and lack of resources to help alleviate the pain. However, as the media rushes to cover the various tragic events on the ground, it can be challenging to unravel and grasp the complexity of this crisis. We cannot directly resolve the injustice, but we can at least highlight some monumental works that have helped us understand the history of the Palestinian plight. Here are some books we hope might illuminate and provide some much-needed insight.


Men in The Sun (Rijal Fil Shams) by Ghassan Kanafani

Image via Amazon

Ghassan Kanafani, the iconic novelist, journalist, teacher, and Palestinian activist, wrote the stunning novella Men in the Sun in 1962, which was published originally in Arabic. Kanafani creatively tracks the journey of three Palestinian men, Abu Qais, Assad, and Marwan, attempting to provide their families with a better life by crossing the border to Kuwait.


The Question Of Palestine by Edward Said

Image via Amazon

In his book, published in 1979, Palestinian scholar Edward Said explores the tragic clash between two nations in the Middle East and how it has affected the lives of both the occupying force and the occupied people, as well as the moral consciousness of the Western world. Said has revised this influential work to reflect the evolving situation in Palestine and its population, taking into account significant events like the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Intifada, the Gulf War, and the ongoing peace efforts in the Middle East.


From the River to the Sea

Image via Amazon

From the River to the Sea: Palestine and Israel in the Shadow of “Peace” is a collective work of art written by editor Mandy Turner and writers Luigi Achilli, Diana Buttu, Tariq Dana, Toufic Haddad, Jamil Hilal, Cherine Hussein, Raja Khalidi, Yonatan Mendel, and Mansour Nasasra. The book offers an original insight into the development of various coping strategies and novel forms of political expression, interaction, and mobilisation following the 1993 peace agreement between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, generally referred to as the Oslo Accords. The book’s fundamental premise is that a realistic understanding of historical context is crucial for finding a way out of the post-Oslo deadlock, which has perpetuated and strengthened the existing power imbalances in the name of peace.


Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine

Image via Amazon

The talented author Noura Erkat’s book, published in 2019, concentrates on critical turning points, from the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to contemporary conflicts in Gaza. Erakat illustrates how the deliberate utilisation of legal mechanisms has influenced the prevailing circumstances. 

The book explores how international law has significantly shaped the Palestinian struggle, ultimately favouring Israel, and suggests that this outcome was not predetermined.


They Called Me a Lioness

Image via Amazon

Published in 2022 by Ahed Tamimi and Dena Takruri, They Called Me a Lioness is a heartfelt and deeply personal memoir by Palestinian advocate Tamimi, who was incarcerated at the age of sixteen following an encounter with Israeli soldiers. Her account sheds light on the daily challenges of living under occupation, providing a poignant portrayal of the realities at play in this ongoing struggle and presents a novel perspective on the concept of resistance. Through their unwavering and captivating narrative, Tamimi and Takruri reveal not only the inherent humanity within occupied Palestine but also the overlooked stories of individuals worldwide who are fighting for their freedom.