Denver Journal

Denver Journal

Israel And Palestine - Selected Annotated Bibliography - 2003

01.01.03 | Denver Journal, Ethics, M. Daniel Carroll R.

    A selected annotated bibliography in the Ethics of Israel and Palestine, compiled by Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R.

    1. Historical Perspectives

    La Guardia, Anton. War Without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land (St. Martins Press, 2001).
    The author is an editor for the British paper, The Daily Telegraph. This book has been billed as the most definitive work since Friedman's From Beirut to Jerusalem (winner of National Book Award; updated edition 1990). It is designed more as an attempt to portray the complex, interconnected, and multi-layered cultural and historical backgrounds, realities, and personalities of the region than as simply a chronicle of political events, and in this the work wonderfully succeeds.

    Telhami, Shibley. The Stakes: America and the Middle East. The Consequences of Power and the Choice for Peace. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002).
    Author is the Anwar Sadat Prof. of Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. A balanced and nuanced view. Basic issues include: defining and identifying the terrorist threat and the means to counter it (a state and ideological matter only or primarily?, religiously caused or religiously justified?), the need to understand what generates and nurtures terrorist sympathies and activities (hopelessness spawning rage, the need for empowerment), and the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for Arab perception of the U.S. Argues that it is important not to generalize and over-simplify historical and cultural contexts, to be mindful of the long term costs of imposing policy through military power, and to be sensitive to seeking common ground and values with area governments and populations.

    Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon & Schuster, 1996)
    Argues that world politics and conflict today are being driven more by civilization and cultural issues than nation states. Cultural connections cross national boundaries. Today the "Islamic resurgence" is key. Issues include: how Islam is to define itself and its relationship to the West. From the other side, the challenge is to understand this process and to properly respond to the necessary adjustments and threats.

    Savir, Uri. The Process: 1,100 Days that Changed the Middle East (Vintage Books, 1998). [Israeli]
    A personal and detailed account by the head of the Israeli negotiation team that hammered out the Oslo agreement over a three-year period. Part of the human side of the story is his growing appreciation of the Palestinian perspective and team.

    Netanyahu, Benjamin. Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network (2001 ed.; Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001) [Israeli]
    Designed to alert people in the West to the threat of international terrorism-its worldview, acts, networks, and help from sovereign states-and suggest ways for governments to combat it. Terrorism deliberately targets civilians. Says that militant Islam desires to impose its form of Islam on the world, not through the democratic process but by destroying its enemy. The primary enemy and greatest power in the West is the US; Israel is seen as the beachhead of the West in the Arab world. Arabs feel that they have suffered centuries of humiliation and defeat at the hands of the West, more recently by Israel.

    Said, Edward W. The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After (rev. ed.; Vintage Books, 2001) [Palestinian]
    Said is an internationally known Palestinian intellectual. He speaks strongly in defense of the human rights of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and of their fundamental right to return to the "occupied territories." Even as he is harsh in his criticism of what he views as Israel's arrogance and duplicity, he is also critical of the many weaknesses of Arafat's governance and feels that Arafat conceded too much during the Oslo process and other occasions. Palestinians need to raise up a healthy, open, and democratic self-consciousness, as they learn to face themselves, Israel, and the rest of the world. Pragmatically, there can be no military solution for either side. Coexistence must be the goal.

    2. Personal Experiences

    Blumenfeld, Laura. Revenge: A Story of Hope (Simon & Schuster, 2002).
    Written by the daughter of a New York Jew, who had been shot by a Palestinian while visiting Israel in 1986. She goes to Israel right after her wedding to live there with her new husband for a year. Her personal motive is to meet and confront the would-be assassin and in the process explores the whole issue of revenge.

    Hass, Amira. Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land under Siege. (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1999). [The title comes from a Palestinian saying.]
    A human rights, atheistic Israeli journalist details her several year stay in Gaza after the 1993 Oslo accords. Describes the difficult daily hardships of the Palestinians, who live there under the ultimate control of the Israeli government. Explains the internal conflict between different Palestinian groups-especially between Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist organization, and Fatah, which was founded by Yassir Arafat and is in primary control of the PLO and Palestinian Authority. Sympathetic of the Palestinian cause and plight; critical of Israeli misunderstanding of Palestinian culture and unjust mishandling of socio-political and economic realities.

    Shehadeh, Raja. Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine (Steerforth Press, 2002).
    The author is a Palestinian, whose family had to leave Jaffa in 1948. Founding member of Al-Haq, a human rights organization in the West Bank (, although he no longer is with that organization. Recounts his life and the fate of his father, a well-known lawyer, who was killed by other Palestinians in a legal dispute (They were never brought to justice, as they were apparently collaborating with the Israeli government.). Melancholy tone: despair at continual Israeli violations and inability of Palestinians to make positive steps toward self-determination and the rule of law.

    3. Theological Perspectives

    (a) Western Christian theological perspectives

    Kimball, Charles. When Religion Becomes Evil. (New York: HarperCollins, 2002).
    Discusses (with case studies) five warning signs of corruption in all religions (The book focuses especially on Christianity and Islam.): making absolute truth claims, demanding blind obedience, establishing the future 'ideal time' through efforts in the present, believing that the end justifies the means, and declaring holy war. His desire is that we coexist peacefully, and he is convinced that one can be a person of (a particular) faith and still hold an inclusive pluralist position.

    Marsh, Eugene. Israel and the Politics of the Land: A Theological Case Study (Westminster John Knox, 1994).
    First half of this short volume (104 pp.) offers a succinct and helpful historical overview. Theology: The land was never based on Israel's rights to it, but rather was a gracious gift from God to be held in responsible stewardship, as a place to model his will for all humanity. Modern Israel cannot be equated with biblical Israel. It is also a mistake to read the O.T. promise texts too literally (and some were fulfilled with the return from Babylon, 538 B.C.E.). "The religious significance of Israel in the longer term will be determined by how the rich ethical teaching of Judaism is embodied by the only state calling itself Jewish" (p. 72). A paradigm for all "earth-keepers", no matter where: the need of a secure land to develop culture and to live responsibly. Closes with discussion questions.

    Chapman, Colin. Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis over Israel and Palestine (rev. ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002).
    The author is lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon. Full of extensive quotes from all points of the political and theological spectrum. Posits that the O.T. promises to Israel (about the land) have been fulfilled in and through Jesus and should, therefore, neither be taken literally nor related to the present conflict (much of his argumentation is based on the work of N. T. Wright). Other biblical themes are more relevant: the demand for justice, the proper treatment of "aliens" in the land, the place of suffering, and the possibility of reconciliation. Critiques Christian Zionism and dispensationalism. Critical of Israeli actions and attitudes, but does pose some concluding questions to Palestinians regarding the possibility of peace.

    Johnston, Philip and Peter Walker (eds.), Land of Promise: Biblical, Theological and Contemporary Perspectives (InterVarsity, 2001).
    A collection of essays written from a decidedly non-dispensationalist point of view that argues that the modern state of Israel (and its claim to the land) is not a part of God's redemptive plan. The New Covenant and kingdom inaugurated by Christ have universalized and spiritualized the land promises of the Old Testament.

    Burge, Gary. Who Are God's People in the Middle East? What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians (Zondervan, 1993).
    An evangelical perspective grounded in biblical study and extensive experience among Palestinians. Reviews O.T. material and concludes that Israel was a tenant with covenant obligations before God and the nations (actions by the Israeli government would be condemned by the prophets); the N.T. spiritualizes many of those land promises, and Christians are now heirs of Abraham through faith. Sympathetic to the Palestinian suffering under Israeli excesses. Ends with a plea for Western evangelicals to consider the plight of Palestinian Christians and to be suspicious of Christian Zionism.

    House, H. Wayne (ed.), Israel, the Land and the People: An Evangelical Affirmation of God's Promises (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1998).
    A collection of essays from a conference of evangelical scholars held in Jerusalem in June, 1997. The essays are generally affirming of the nation of Israel (but this should not be taken as a wholesale endorsement of Israeli policies) and argue for a future role of Israel in the plan of God for humanity, based upon their interpretation of the covenants and promises of the O.T. The essays consider historical, biblical-exegetical, and theological issues.

    Ruether, Rosemary Radford and Herman J. Ruether. The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (HarperCollins, 1993).
    Traces the history of the land, more particularly of Zionism and the state of Israel, of the relationship of different Christian persuasions to both, and of Palestinian nationalism. Surveys the theological positions of the Roman Catholic Church, Christian fundamentalism, ecumenical Protestantism (World Council of Churches), and Arab Christians. Argues very strongly against what the authors perceive are the inner contradictions and illusions of the various strands of Jewish (and Christian) Zionism and posits that the only viable solution lies in the limiting of Israeli territorial claims, the recognition of Palestinian rights, and the reshaping of Israeli society (and identity) into a multiethnic and multireligious state grounded in more ethical values.

    Prior, Michael. The Bible and Colonialism: A Moral Critique (The Biblical Seminar, 48. Sheffield Academic Press, 1997).
    Offers a summary of Zionism and the early history of the state of Israel, although some details are left out (such as Camp David, the assassination of Anwar Sadat). Sympathetic to the Palestinians (pgs. 106-73). Critiques what feels are the colonialist myths of Zionism (pgs. 175-213).

    (b) Palestinian Christian Theologians

    Ateek, Naim. "Pentecost and the Intifada" in F.F. Segovia and M. Tolbert (eds.), Reading from this Place, vol. 2: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in Global Perspective (Fortress, 1995), pgs. 69-81.
    With Rosemary Radford Ruether has also written the book Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation (Orbis, 1991). In this article he connects the empowerment of subjected Palestinians who rose up spontaneously against Israel to that of the fearful young Church at Pentecost. Today Palestinian Christians in the power of the Spirit can work against oppression in the West Bank and for the establishment of a separate state, with the Intifada as an inspiration.

    Raheb, Mitri. I Am a Palestinian Christian (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995).
    Lutheran, pastor of Christmas Church in Bethlehem. As in the case of Ateek's book, the argument is that God cannot be the God of only one people and thus the Bible must be read accordingly; he is the inclusive God of all nations, who demands justice and peace from and for all. For Western Christians to defend as they do the state of Israel is to impose the results of their own anti-Semitism on the region, ignore the suffering of the Palestinians, and betray their Palestinian brethren.

    (c) Western Christians most sympathetic to modern state of Israel

    Some within the school of thought called 'dispensationalist premillennialism' support Israel's right to the land and view the establishment of the nation as related to biblical prophecy (usually as some sort of initial fulfillment, or at least as a tangible guarantee of future fulfillments). Many of the biblical-theological works of this persuasion are written with the lay reader as the targeted audience.

    Walvoord, John F. Armaggedon, Oil, and the Middle East Crisis: What the Bible Says about the Future of the Middle East and the End of Western Civilization (rev. ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991).

    Dyer, Charles H. (ed.). Storm Clouds on the Horizon: Bible Prophecy and the Current Middle East Crisis (Chicago: Moody, 2001).

    At an even more popular level:

    Dolan, David. Holy War for the Promised Land: Israel's Struggle to Survive in the Muslim Middle East (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991).

    A forthcoming book with the same title:

    Holy War for the Promised Land: Israel at the Crossroads (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003).

    Price, Randall. Unholy War: America, Israel and Radical Islam (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2002).

    4. Other sources to consider

    Brueggeman, Walter. The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith (rev. ed.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002).
    Traces the trajectory of the land through the O.T. and into the N.T. Concludes with a broad ranging discussion of the importance of place (land) in contemporary life (includes the Israeli-Palestinian issue).

    Wright, N. T. The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999).
    An argument for the importance of placing Jesus within first century Judaism/Palestine in order to understand him and his message properly and to be an informed disciple of his today. The historical Jesus presented himself as the culmination of O.T. prophetic hopes and redefined key issues such as the land and the Temple in relationship to his person and mission.

    Friedman, Thomas L. Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World after September 11 (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002).

    Habel, Norman C. The Land Is Mine: Six Biblical Ideologies (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995).

    Lewis, Bernard. What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle East Response (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)

    Lewis, Bernard. The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (New York: Modern Library, 2003).

    Merkley, Paul Charles. The Politics of Christian Zionism 1891-1948 (London: Frank Cass, 1998).

    Merkley, Paul Charles. Christian Attitudes towards the State of Israel (McGill's-Queen's Studies in the History of Religion; Montreal: McGill's-Queen's University Press, 2001).

    Shadid, Anthony. Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats, and the New Politics of Islam (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002).

    5. List of Selected Internet Sources and access news from both sides of the debate.


    The Arab Association for Human Rights:
    Palestine Chronicle:
    Palestine Monitor:
    The Palestine Information Center:
    Palestine 2002, link to International Solidarity Movement:
    Live diaries from Palestine:


    The main Israeli Press in English:
    The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism:
    United Jewish Communities:
    Daily news updates:
    The Jewish Community of Hebron:
    The Forward (key U.S. Jewish publication; extensive links to a wide spectrum of views):

    Alternative Israeli Perspectives

    Btselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories:

    List of sites of groups that are working for reconciliation and Palestinian rights:

    Official Church Sites

    The Vatican:

    World Council of Churches:

    Evangelical (Pro-Israeli) Ministries, with views on present situation on web sites

    The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry:
    International Wall of Prayer:
    Bridges for Peace:
    International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem:

    Evangelical, seeking a greater voice for Palestinian realities and Middle Eastern Christians

    Bethlehem Bible College:
    Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding:

    Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R.
    Denver Seminary