Going on a trip like this, focused so much on political tension, requires deepening one’s understanding of the history of the region and the ideas and beliefs that provide context for the conflict.  I expanded my previous readings to include more consideration for Palestinian views.

New for this trip:

Once Upon a Country—A Palestinian Life, Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David

Shared Histories—A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue, Paul Scham, Walid Salem, Benjamin Pogrund (eds.)

Sleeping on a Wire—Conversations with Palestinians in Israel, afterword by David Grossman

The Accidental Empire—Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, Gershom Gorenberg

A Tale of Love and Darkness, Amos Oz

Lords of the Land, Zeital and Eldar

Dreams and Shadows, Wright

The Missing Peace, Dennis Ross

Other books I’ve previously read to understand the longer term view of the conflict include:

Righteous Victims, Benny Morris.  Probably the best one volume history of Jewish settlement in Israel/Palestine and the long-term emergence of the conflict.   His other books are very worthwhile, especially 1948

Scars of War, Wounds of Peace, Shlomo Ben-Ami.  An insider’s history of Israeli politics of the peace process by Ehud Barak’s foreign minister during the Camp David talks sponsored by President Clinton.

Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven.   An excellent survey of what Muslims believe and the many interwoven threads of Islamic belief over the years.  Much better than, “the Quran says…”

A History of the Arab Peoples, Albert Hourani

The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong

And of course, the indispensable intellectual illumination to finding a way to resolve cultural conflict—the works of Isaiah Berlin, including:

Four Essays on Liberty

The Crooked Timber of Humanity: Chapters in the History of Ideas

All of Berlin’s books and essays are worthwhile and challenging.