Resources for studying theological issues relating to Israel-Palestine

On this page are some resources for people wanting to find out more about Israel Palestine.

These resources cover the history of the region, the current geo-political situation, and theological perspectives.   The books, poems and films reflect some of the different stories and voices of Israel Palestine.  Readers are encouraged to explore a wide range of resources in order to appreciate the different narratives.

The resources have been suggested by an informal group of people with a knowledge of the region, but these individuals have not endorsed the list as a whole.

It is not an “approved” list. The inclusion of a particular book does not mean that resource represents the position of the Methodist Church.  The position of the Methodist Church is to be found in the resolutions of the Conference.

General History
Politics and Contemporary Situation
Theological Reflection
Personal Accounts
Novels and Poetry
Websites and News
Films, Documentaries and Podcasts

General History

A Line in the Sand by James Barr (2011)

The politics and intrigue in the relations between Britain and France in the early part of the 20th century and how this helped led to the current map and status of the modern Middle East. Based on declassified papers from the British and French archives.

Enemies and Neighbours by Ian Black (2017)

Combining engaging narrative with political analysis and social and cultural insights, Enemies and Neighbours is both an accessible overview and a fascinating investigation into the deeper truths of a furiously contested history.

Israel and Palestine: Competing Histories by Mike Berry and Greg Philo (2006)

A short but very thorough and readable survey of the dual narrative and different perspectives on the history of the region.  A very useful and fair introduction to those new to the subject.

Six Days by Jeremy Bowen (2003)

A detailed history of the Six Day War of 1967, from the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen.  Very readable and a narrative that allows the reader to gain a detailed understanding of the causes, events of and outcome of the conflict, with an understanding of the behind the scenes events from different sides.

The Jewish State by Theodor Herzl (1896)

The original work by one of the fathers of early Zionism, Theodor Herzl, giving his vision of a Jewish state and how it could be achieved. A short work and widely available in English translation.

Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore (2011)

A long general history of Jerusalem, told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem.

Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine by Eyal Naveh and Sami Adwan (2012)

In 2000, a group of Israeli and Palestinian teachers gathered to address what too many people seemed an unbridgeable gulf between the two societies. Struck by how different the standard Israeli and Palestinian textbook histories of the same events were from one another, they began to explore how to “disarm” the teaching of the history of the Middle East in Israeli and Palestinian classrooms.  The result is a riveting “dual narrative” of Israeli and Palestinian history. Side by Side comprises the history of two peoples, in separate narratives set literally side-by-side, so that readers can track each against the other, noting both where they differ as well as where they correspond.

The Forgotten Palestinians: A History of Palestinians in Israel by Ilan Pappe (2011)

A history of the Palestinians who live within Israel, including their struggles over land, their status in the early days of Israel and their campaigns to ensure what they feel is adequate representation and influence in the affairs of the country.

The Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim (2000)

A scholarly, detailed and very well written account of the diplomatic history of relations between Israel and its neighbours for most of the period of the 20th century.  Gives a compelling account as to how decisions and relationships of the past have led to the current situation.



























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Politics and contemporary situation

The Palestine-Israeli Conflict: A Beginner's Guide by Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Dawoud El-Alami (2015 edition)

A good, short, accessible account of the history behind the Palestine-Israeli conflict, its roots, and the possibilities for the future. Written by Jewish and Palestinian authors who share their own visions for the future.

Still Life with Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terrorism by David Horovitz (2004)

Written from the perspective of an Israeli in Jerusalem during the bombings of that city in the 2000s.

If Only My People, Zionism in my life by Immanuel Jacobovits (1984)

Lord Jacobovits, a former Chief Rabbi, was a religious traditionalist whilst politically he was a liberal.  His moderate stand on Israel-Palestine and as a supporter of the religious peace movement in Israel, he experienced abuse and criticism.  In this book he argues his case.

Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi (2018)

An attempt by Yossi Klein Halevi to address his Palestinian neighbours and describe how the conflict appears through Israeli eyes. In a series of letters, he explains what motivated him to leave his native New York in his twenties and move to Israel to participate in the drama of the renewal of a Jewish homeland, which he is committed to see succeed as a morally responsible, democratic state in the Middle East.

Future Tense: A Vision for Jews and Judaism in the Global Culture – Jonathan Sacks (2010)

Lord Sacks, a former Chief Rabbi, argues that Jews can no longer be 'The people that dwells alone.' In the current global environment, he argues, Jews and non-Jews alike must be persuaded that Jews, Judaism and Israel have something unique to contribute to the future. Future Tense offers a vision for the future of Judaism, Jewish life and Israel for the twenty-first century.

The Question of Palestine by Edward Said (1979)

Published in 1979, this was one of the first books to raise the issue of the conflict from a Palestinian perspective. World renowned scholar, and Palestinian exile, Edward Said, traces the history of the conflict and its repercussions in the lives of each side. There are updates to this book up to as far as the start of the Oslo Accords.

Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh (2008)

The author is a hill walker and in this book he takes us on 7 walks that he has made in Palestine over a period of 27 years, each at a different stage of Palestinian history. The walks help us to understand the current impasse in a new way and invite a new perspective on an endangered land.

Not the Enemy: Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands by Rachel Shabi (2009)

In this book, Rachel Shabi who comes from an Iraqi Jewish family, describes some of the tensions and divisions within Israeli society between Ashkenazi Jews who originate from Eastern Europe and those of a Sephardic and Mizrachi background who originate from Arab countries. Through research and interviews she describes some of the prejudices in the society and how these could cause difficulties in the future if ever Israel wished to integrate into the wider Middle East.

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit (2013)

This books tells stories from individuals’ lives - the youth group leader who recognised the potential of Masada as a powerful symbol for Zionism; the young farmer who bought an orange grove from his Arab neighbour in the 1920s, and helped to create a booming economy in Palestine; the engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel's nuclear program; the religious Zionists who started the settler movement – to tell the story of Israel and the issues and threats it currently faces. 


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Theological reflection

A Palestinian Cry for Reconciliation by Naim Ateek (2008)

In this book Rev. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian refugee in 1948, outlines the history of the conflict from the perspective of a Palestinian Christian. He provides a theological analysis of peace, justice and reconciliation between both people groups, based on Liberation Theology.

Chosen? Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli Palestinian Conflict by Walter Brueggemann (2015)

A short theological reflection by an American Old Testament scholar on the nature of the promises made in the Bible for ownership of the Holy Land. He bases his reflections on his belief in the chosen-ness of the Jewish people but also in the conditionality of the promises and the difference between ancient and modern Israel.

Whose Land? Whose Promise? By Gary M Burge (2003)

Gary Burge is an American Professor of the New Testament. He describes the tension between his commitment to Judaism, which he feels is stated clearly in the Bible, and the injustices that he sees are affecting Arab Christians – his brothers and sisters in Christ - in the region. Provides detailed history of the land as well as thought-provoking and helpful theological analysis.

Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour (1984)

The famous and seminal account of the life of Elias Chacour, his early childhood in Palestine, the removal of himself and his family around the time Israel was formed in 1948 and his work since then to establish peace and reconciliation between both people groups.

God’s People, a Series of Bible Studies Reflecting on the Holy Land, by Revd Richard Jones (2007)

A Bible Study written by Revd Richard Jones, a former President of the Conference.

Through my Enemy’s Eyes by Salim Munayer and Lisa Loden (2014)

Palestinian Christians and Israeli Messianic Jews share a belief in Jesus as the son of God and Messiah. Often, though, that is all they have in common. This remarkable book, written in collaboration by a local Palestinian Christian and an Israeli Messianic Jew, seeks to bridge this gap by addressing head on, divisive theological issues (as well as their political implications) such as land, covenant, prophecy and eschatology which separate their two communities.

Faith in the face of Empire by Mitri Raheb (2014)

A Palestinian reading of the Bible begins with an awareness of the role of empire a constant feature of Palestine for thousands of years, from the Babylonians and Egyptians, to the Romans, Ottomans, and beyond. The book ends, hopefully, by representing a future vision for the Middle East.


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Personal Accounts

A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz (2002)

A semi-autobiographical account of the events of 1948 from an Israeli perspective.

An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel by Jeff Halper (2008)

A personal account of the journey of an Israeli campaigner for peace and how his experiences and some of the people he met have informed his understanding of the nature of the conflict. Provides pointers as to how, in the view of the author, regional peace and reconciliation may be possible.

In Search of Fatima by Ghada Karmi (2002)

The autobiography of Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian who was born in Jerusalem, had her childhood in Palestine, but was forced to flee to Britain after 1948. A powerful testimony to displacement and loss amidst the major political events of the time.

Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices by Moab Hassan Youssef (2010)

Moab Hassan Youssef was the son of a founding member of Hamas.  This book tells how he left Hamas and of his conversion to Christianity. 

The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish-Arab Divide by Susan Nathan (2005)

The journey of a British born Jew called Susan Nathan after she emigrates to Israel under the “Law of Return” and then traverses the divide between Jewish and Arab Israelis to settle in a majority Muslim town. A description of her experiences witnessing institutionalised injustices.

Letters from Bethlehem – Two years living in the West Bank by Rev John Howard

24 letters from Rev John Howard, from his two years in the region with the Methodist Liaison Office. The letters were published as a regular feature in the Methodist Recorder.


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Redeeming our Sacred Story, The Death of Jesus and Relations between Jews and Christians by Mary C Boys (2013)

Reveals the shadow side of Christian teaching about the passion and death of Jesus Christ, its tragic effects on the Jewish people, and illumines new possibilities for reinterpreting and transforming troubling texts.

The Devil that Never Dies, The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (2013)

Goldhagen argues that the age-old hatred of Jewish people has new forms, from its strategic use by states, its powerful appeal to individuals and groups, to how technology has fuelled the flames.

Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony Julius (2010)

Anthony Julius identifies four distinct versions of English anti-Semitism over time, culminating in contemporary anti-Semitism, described as “a new configuration of anti-Zionism, emerging in the late 1960s and the 1970s, which treats Zionism and the State of Israel as illegitimate Jewish enterprises”.

Faith and Fratricide, The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism by  Rosemary Reuther (1974)

Since the Nazi holocaust took the lives of a third of the Jewish people of the world, the Christian Church has been engaged in a self-examination of its own historical role in the creation of anti-Semitism. In this major contribution to that search, theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether explores the roots of anti-Semitism from new perspectives.

Preaching without Contempt, Overcoming Unintended Anti-Judaism by Marilyn J Salmon (2006)

Marilyn Salmon's persuasive and practical work helps preachers to identify the ways that Christian preachers perpetuate the long tradition of Christian anti-Judaism. She situates the Gospels precisely as Jewish literature then addresses specific thorny issues that arise in preaching: supersessionism; portrayals of the Law; the Pharisees; the relationship between the Testaments; preaching the Passion; and misrepresentations of Judaism. Using examples from many sermons, she shows how to avoid the pitfalls of misportraying the people of Jesus.

Antisemitism: What it is.  What it isn’t.  Why it matters by Julia Neuberger (2019)

An analysis of the roots of antisemitism and its manifestations today by a prominent Reform Rabbi.

Echoes of Contempt: A History of Judeophobia and the Christian Church by Bruce D Thompson (2018)

Beginning with the Jerusalem house church, the book traces that history through medieval pogroms and the Parisian salons of the Enlightenment, right up to the present-day focus on the Israel/Palestine conflict. Far from being something new, Judeophobia is a recycling of misinformation, prejudice, and hatred. Methodist minister, Bruce Thompson, argues that the old lies are echoed in the present at political rallies, church conferences, and in classrooms.


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Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco (2009)

Brilliant and very accessible portrayal of the situation in Gaza during the Suez Crisis. The book describes, through the medium of cartoons, the author’s quest to get to the bottom of what happened in Khan Yuanis and Rafah in 1956. He interweaves it with events happening in 2009 when it was written, such as the bulldozing of homes and the death of Rachel Corrie.


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Novels and poetry

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa (2006)

Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian whose family fled after the 1967 war.  This is her first of two novels and tells the story of a mother forced into a refugee camp, exiled from the village and how they struggle to rebuild their world.

The Hilltop by Assaf Gavron (2013)

On a rock-strewn hilltop in the heart of the West Bank stands a lone second-hand shipping container, a generator and some goats. On this contested land, Othniel Assis – under the wary gaze of the neighbouring Palestinian village – installs his ever-expanding family. As he cheerfully manipulates government agencies, more settlers arrive and, with a hodge-podge of bankers, teachers, kibbutzniks and townies, religious and secular, the outpost takes root. But when a curious journalist stumbles into their midst, the settlement becomes the focus of an international diplomatic scandal.

A Little Piece of Ground by Elizabeth Laird (2003)

A young adult novel set in the early 2000s. Ramallah is in lock down after a Palestinian suicide bombing. Karim longs to play football outside but is stuck in the house during the curfew. When the curfew ends, he and his friends discover a perfect site for a football pitch and bulldozed buildings as a den.  But danger is never far away, especially when Karim is found outside during the next curfew

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan (2006)

In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967.

“A Lover From Palestine” by Mahmoud Darwish (

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish was highly regarded for his award-winning works on Palestinian nationalism, including “Identity Card” and “A Lover From Palestine.”

“If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem” by Yehuda Amichai (

Yehuda Amichai is considered Israel’s greatest modern poet, with works such as “If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem” and “A Man In His Life.”

“Unfortunately, it was Paradise” by Mahmoud Darwish

A collection of poems from the Palestinian national poet. As the name of the collection suggests, the poems reflect the author’s experience of living with dispossession and loss and attempting to express feelings that are both intense and shared.


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Websites and news

+972 Blog - Combination of Israeli and Palestinian Journalists

+972 blog is a left-wing news and opinion website which was started by four journalists in Tel Aviv. This blog aims to provide a younger perspective of the conflict which combines articles and opinion pieces from both Israeli and Palestinian writers throughout the region.

Haaretz -

The longest running newspaper in Israel, having been established in 1918. Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper with a left-wing stance on both domestic and international issues.   Provides detailed, frequent and ongoing reports, analysis and opinion from Israel on the situation in the region

Jerusalem Post- Israeli Journalism:

The Jerusalem Post - “the leading online newspaper for English speaking Jewry” - was founded in 1932.  It provides a centrist/conservative stance and lens on Israeli and Middle Eastern politics.

Palestine News Network - Palestinian Journalism

Palestine News Network is comprised of a variety of left and right wing journalists which aim to inform the world of the events in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Adalah -

This is the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and its website gives detailed information on an often forgotten aspect of the situation in Palestine/Israel – that of Palestinian citizens living within Israel itself

Amnesty International -

Detailed information from this well respected UK human rights organisation on the situation in Palestine/Israel. They produce regular and well researched reports and statements on the Human Rights situation in the region

B’tselem -

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied territories.  A resource for up-to-date information and historical data


The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions provides detailed information on a specific aspect of the Occupation, which is the demolition of Palestinian homes.  It also provides details of Study Tours of the region.  Its work has been specifically praised by the Methodist Conference


The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territories.  A frequently updated, and very detailed official resource from the United Nations on the situation in Palestine

Kairos Palestine -

A key campaigning voice of Palestinian Christians in the region highlighting their plight as they experience it.  It has received the support of the Methodist Conference and this website provides further information about their campaign


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency who are the official UN agency responsible for the support of Palestinian refugees. Detailed resources are available here on their work

Rabbis for Human Rights -

A Rabbinical voice within Israel working for human rights and representing over 100 Israeli rabbis and rabbinical students.  Their website gives details of their work to inform the Israeli public about human rights abuses

The Geneva Initiative’s Two-State Index – Assessment of the Road to the Two-State Solution


Utilizing over fifty different parameters, the Two-State Index (TSI) strives to determine whether recent developments in Israeli-Palestinian relations have led to progression or regression in establishing a solution to the conflict. The website allows users to view current and previous logs of assessments, considering factors such as PLO cohesion, the Paris Agreement, and the geopolitical role of Jerusalem.

‘Is Peace Possible’ – S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace

An interactive map with four of the key components in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Refugees, Borders, Security and Jerusalem. This resource provides you with a great general overview about the obstacles to peace, placing you at the negotiating table.

The Council of Christians and Jews

The leading British forum for Christian-Jewish engagement, which amongst other things offers resources on holding dialogue on Israel Palestine.


The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel has long been supported by the Methodist Conference and the Methodist Church. Numerous Methodists have gone to the region for periods of three months in order to witness the situation and report back. This link provides further information about the scheme.

Solutions Not Sides

Solutions Not Sides seeks to tackle Antisemitism, Anti-Muslim Hate and polarisation around the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the UK. The programme provides humanising encounters and focuses on possible solutions based on understanding both sides’ narratives. The aim is to shift attitudes away from supporting one side against the other, and towards seeking a solution for the human beings involved.

IHRA Definition and examples

For further Methodist resources on anti-Semitism see p17 and the 2018 Conference reply to Memorial 26 on p38 at


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Films, Documentaries and Podcasts

‘5 Broken Cameras’ (2012) – Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi

Trailer: (Available on Netflix)

Warning: Contains scenes of graphic violence.

Beginning in 2005, Palestinian Emad Burnet records his village's resistance to the encroachment of Israeli settlements. A documentary on a Palestinian farmer's chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.

‘Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs’ (2005) – Norma Percy

(Available on YouTube at


Warning: Contains graphic images.

A three-part documentary series examines the last years of the Arab-Israeli peace process from the point of view of presidents and prime ministers, their generals and ministers and those behind the suicide bombs and assassinations. The series reveals what happened behind closed doors as the peace process failed and the violence of the intifada exploded.

‘The Gatekeepers’ (2012) – Dror Moreh



A documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets.

‘The Lemon Tree’ (2008) - Eran Riklis


A 2008 Israeli film about the legal efforts of a Palestinian woman to stop her next door neighbour, the Israeli Defence Minister, from destroying her lemon trees on the family farm. Meanwhile, she develops a human bond with the minister’s wife. 

‘Louis Theroux: The Ultra Zionists’ (2011) – Louis Theroux

Trailer: (Available on YouTube and Netflix)


Louis Theroux spends time with a small and very committed subculture of ultra- nationalist Jewish settlers. He discovers a group of people who consider it their religious and political obligation to populate some of the most sensitive and disputed areas of the West Bank, especially those with a spiritual significance dating back to the Bible.

The MartyrMade Podcast: Fear and Loathing in the New Jerusalem - Darryl Cooper (6 episodes)


The conflict between Israel and Palestine can often seem like a permanent feature of the global order. The wars, intifadas, refugee camps, suicide vests, UN resolutions, and peace talks have been painfully burned into our collective consciousness. But how could this have happened? Was it always this way? That’s what is investigated in Fear & Loathing in the New Jerusalem, a multi-part series exploring the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

‘Paradise Now’ (2005) -  Hany Abu-Assad


A 2005 film directed by Hany Abu-Assad about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Israel. It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category. The plot centres around their preparations, why they attempt to do it, and why one does and one does not succeed.

‘The Promise’ (2011) – Peter Kosminsky

A 2011 British 4 part serial shown on Channel 4 and directed by Peter Kosminsky. A young girl finds her Grandfather’s diary where he was serving in British army at the creation of state of Israel.  Because she has a Jewish friend who is doing national service, she goes to Palestine/Israel and retraces her Grandfather's footsteps. The film presents two narratives at once between 1948 and decades later.

‘Waltz with Bashir’ (2008) – Ari Folman



A 2008 Israeli animated war documentary depicting the Director, Ari Folman, searching for lost memories of his experiences of the 1982 Lebanon War.

‘Breaking the Silence: Video Testimonies’

Breaking the Silence is an organisation of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since 2002 and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.

‘Britain in Palestine 1917 – 1948’ (2015)


A short film made by The Balfour Project, discussing Britain’s role in historical events. The film uses some amazing vintage photographs to tell the story, many of them taken by the American Colony Photographic Department in Jerusalem.

‘Parents Circle’ (2010) – Families Forum

A short film of testimonies of bereaved family members on both sides of the conflict.

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