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Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Reading List

Take the opportunity of summer break to get informed on the history, politics, and situation in Palestine. Knowledge is power. Here are some recommended readings:

Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide
By Ben White

A great place to start. A short book of about 100 pages, it includes a glossary of important terms, a list of resources for more info, and an FAQ section that responds to points that people frequently make in debates.

One fact I learned from this book: During the second intifada in 2000, the IDF fired 1.3 bullets before there was any violence from Palestinians. According to scholar Derek Gregory: "The IDF responded with astonishing violence; no Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinians until November, but by October Israel had already deployed high-velocity bullets, helicopter gunships, tanks, and missiles against the Palestinian population."

Popular Resistance in Palestine
By Mazin B. Qumsiyeh

How many times have you heard people say that the Palestinians would be better off if only they would resort to non-violent tactics? If only there was a "Palestinian Gandhi"? This book chronicles decades of non-violent resistance in Palestine.

One fact I learned from this book: During a period of 12 months starting in 1987, there were 2,882 documented instances of popular resistance (demonstrations, strikes, petitions, etc) by Palestinians. No Israeli soldiers were killed during this time but 204 Palestinians, mostly children, were killed.

The Lemon Tree
By Sandy Tolan

If you're looking for something more readable and less dry than a politics or history book, this is the perfect book. Although it is a non-fiction book, it reads like a novel and gives you a good overview of historical events over the past century while following the personal story of two individuals. You won't notice you're learning.

One fact I learned from this book: In 1977, the Sunday Times of London published a detailed investigation of "allegations of systematic torture by Israel of Arab prisoners... Torture is organized so methodically that it cannot be dismissed as a handful of 'rogue cops' exceeding orders. It is systematic. It appears to be sanctioned at some level as deliberate policy." By 1985, after 18 years of occupation, about 40% of Palestinian men had been to jail.

The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

Why should Americans care about Israel/Palestine? Our government is funding the Occupation as the Israel Lobby has an unchallenged grip on Congress. Learn about it so that you can change it.

One fact I learned from this book: Israel receives more aid from the U.S. than any other country in the world; it evens receives more aid than the entire continent of Africa. The vast majority of this aid is in military aid and it amounts to around $8.2 million a day to Israel.

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