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Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
A Primer (updated 6th edition)
Phyllis Bennis

published 2015 • 5 1/4" x 8" • 240 pages • maps
ISBN 9781566566858 • paperback • $15.00

"Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies) utilizes a question and answer format in order to provide a well-informed and, considering its brevity, surprisingly detailed primer on Israeli-Palestinian history and politics for an American audience seeking to understand US policy in the region. Bennis assumes almost no prior knowledge of the region and even answers such introductory questions as 'Why are the Palestinians in Israel at all?' She also provides significant detail on UN resolutions concerning the conflict, the role of other states and the United Nations' in the conflict, the diplomatic intricacies of the so-called peace process, Israeli violations of international law, and the impact of important events such as the occupation of Iraq and the Israeli war in Southern Lebanon. All but the most expert will likely learn something and the neophyte will greatly benefit in understanding by reading this book."
--Book News

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If you have ever wondered “Why is there so much violence in the Middle East?”, “Who are the Palestinians?”, “What are the occupied territories?” or “What does Israel want?”, then this is the book for you. With straightforward language, Phyllis Bennis, longtime analyst of the region, answers basic questions about Israel and Israelis, Palestine and Palestinians, the US and the Middle East, Zionism and anti-Semitism; about complex issues ranging from the Oslo peace process to the election of Hamas to the Goldstone Report and the Palestinians' UN initiative. Together her answers provide a comprehensive understanding of the longstanding Palestinian–Israeli conflict.

Sections include: The Crisis; The Other Players: The Role of the US, the UN, the Arab States, and Europe; Recent History: Rising Violence; Looking Backward (1900-1991); The Future.

Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, and Director of its New Internationalism Program. She is also a Fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. Her areas include U.S. unilateralism and empire, the Middle East (particularly Israel-Palestine and Iraq), and US-United Nations relations. She is the author of Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the UN Defy US Power, Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN, and Before & After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the War on Terrorism. Earlier books include From Stones to Statehood: The Palestinian Uprising, Altered States: A Reader in the New World Order, and Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader.

Bennis appears frequently as a commentator/analyst on U.S. and international television and radio programs, including "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS, the CBS "Morning Show," NPR's "Diane Rehm Show," and many others on CNN, BBC, Fox, CBC, and al-Jazeera TV. Her work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris),, New York Newsday, Soera (Amsterdam), Papeles (Madrid), die Tageszeitung (Berlin), The Philadelphia Enquirer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Middle East Report (MERIP), The Nation, Middle East International, Mother Jones, Third World Resurgence (Malaysia), and many other publications.

Media Reviews

"This balanced and highly useful "primer" presents in question-and-answer form extensive explanations of recent events in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. It explains both sides' needs and actions, the recent surge in violence, and the roles of the United States, the United Nations, the Arab States, and Europe. An essential volume by an experienced scholar and analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC."
—Library Journal

"In her compact, concise, and highly useful guide, Bennis...explains various aspects of the longstanding conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.  ...This is an excellent addition to any Middle East collection.
—Elka R. Frankel, Multicultural Review

“Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC, and a long-time Middle East analyst, has produced a simple and educational work about a highly complicated conflict. Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer is—as its title suggests—targeted to newcomers to the issue. It is written in direct question-and-answer format, with questions (and answers) distributed among six parts. The answers that Bennis provides to her self-posed questions get important aspects of the history of Palestinian right. She also addresses the current role of the West. …the author is deeply knowledgeable of the conflict and its history. The author details the Palestinian position. …[A]voids taking advantage of a class analysis approach. …[T]his is a competent, direct, and accessible introduction to the issue.”  
—Journal of Palestine Studies

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