Here Are Some Resources To Learn More About The Israel/Palestine Conflict

As violence escalates, it's vital to be as informed as possible.

Israel Palestine conflict

by Grazia Contributor |
Updated on

An official from the United Nations has called for an end to the escalating violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel today, warning that the entire region is at a ‘tipping point’. In a statement, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths described the scale and speed of the unfolding crisis as ‘bone-chilling’.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched an attack on Israel five days ago, prompting intensive strikes by Israel and a complete siege of the Gaza Strip. The death toll in Israel has now reached 1,200, with an estimated 150 more thought to be taken hostage by Hamas, and more than 900 people also killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Today, it was reported by the BBC that 17 British nationals, including children, are feared dead or missing after the Hamas attack on Israel according to an official UK source.

‘My message to all sides is unequivocal: The laws of war must be upheld,’ Griffiths said. ‘Those held captive must be treated humanely. Hostages must be released without delay. Civilians must be allowed to leave for safer areas. And humanitarian relief and vital services and supplies to Gaza must not be blocked.’

The escalating violence has been the subject of intense debate online this week. With that comes a pressure to post on social media about the conflict, to express support and sympathies for the countless civilians impacted, and to show allyship to communities that are hurting. But as many academics have pointed out, this is part of a long and complex conflict that's imperative to understand fully.

So, if you don’t feel you fully understand the conflict, here are some of the resources online we've found most useful.

Teach Mideast

Teach Mideast is an educational outreach initiative developed by the Middle East Policy Council. It is designed with teachers in mind that they say offer moderate and balanced perspectives. Here you can find their suggestions for background reading, YouTube videos and films, documentaries, and debates on the conflict as well as books.

Amnesty International

The charity consistently posts updates on the Israel/Palestine conflict and as an organisation, says that it is independent of any political ideology, economic interest, or religion. Their most recent post on the escalating violence focused on the toll of civilians, with Agnès Callamard Amnesty International’s Secretary General stating:

‘We are deeply alarmed by the mounting civilian death tolls in Gaza, Israel and the occupied West Bank and urgently call on all parties to the conflict to abide by international law and make every effort to avoid further civilian bloodshed. Under international humanitarian law all sides in a conflict have a clear obligation to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the hostilities. Deliberately targeting civilians, carrying out disproportionate attacks, and indiscriminate attacks which kill or injure civilians are war crimes. Israel has a horrific track record of committing war crimes with impunity in previous wars on Gaza. Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, must refrain from targeting civilians and using indiscriminate weapons, as they have done in the past, and most intensively in this event, acts amounting to war crimes.’

You can read more here.

For a documentary, watch Promises (2002)

Oscar-nominated Promises follows the lives of seven children from both Israeli and Palestinian backgrounds as they share their perspectives and experiences of living in a conflict-ridden region. Directed by Carlos Bolado, Justine Shapiro, and B.Z. Goldberg, it has been highly praised for its sensitivity in humanizing the conflict. You can watch it on Apple TV+

For further reading, try: A History of the Arab–Israeli Conflict by Ian Bickerton and Carla Klausner

This book, recommended by Teach Mideast, is described as follows: ‘Comprehensive and analytical, A History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict presents a balanced and impartial overview of this centuries-old struggle. The authors examine the issues and themes that have characterized and defined the conflict over the course of its history, bringing the coverage up to date with a twenty-first- century perspective.’

You can pick it up from Amazon here.

For podcasts, listen to The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam

In this podcast episode called Tribes & Traitors: What Happens When You Empathize with the Enemy?, recommended by Teach Mideast, and hosted on NPR, Israelis and Palestinians talk about the subject of empathy and trauma. You can listen to it here.

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