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Information resources: Israel and Palestine

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Guide to information resources for the study of Israel and Palestine. 

The area now occupied by Israel and Palestine has long attracted academic interest.  "In order to understand ourselves and to illuminate our trackless way into the future," philosopher Leo Strauss concluded in 1967, "we must understand Jerusalem and Athens" (45).  Given its historical, social, and religious significance to the modern West, the region continues to inspire scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. 

By drawing attention to this scholarship, the following guide seeks to cultivate more informed discourse and to make possible more critical engagement with popular media. 

For access to information resources on current events in the region, please visit UR Library's News Sources Research Guide.


 A brief guide to the guide

This reference proceeds in four main sections with the last of these further subdivided into four additional sections.

  • The first section presents information resources concerning the history of Palestine, Israel, the Middle East, and the broader region.    
  • The second section introduces scholarly and grey literature on domestic politics and international relations.   
  • In its third section, the guide presents academic material concerning war, warfare, and military theory.  This material is divided between, on the one hand, empirical research on Israel, Palestine, and proximal territories and, on the other, general military science and philosophy.
  • The fourth section provides insight into Israeli and Palestinian cultures through distinctive works of literature, music and dance, television and film, and visual art.  By drawing attention to these creative pieces and their multifaceted creators, this section offers an important corrective to popular accounts that tend toward binary and, therefore, dehumanizing portrayals of inhabitants: assailant/victim, guilty/innocent, murderer/martyr, etc.

 

 

Visual Photo of the Earth from Space: Eastern Mediterranean includes Egypt to the south, and Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria to the east. Part of Saudi Arabia can be seen to the east of the Red Sea and Sudan to the west. To the north are the island of Cyprus and the south coast of Turkey.

Before proceeding, it is important to situate Israel and Palestine geographically

Both the territory Palestine and the nation-state Israel lie to the east of the Mediterranean Sea in the southern portion of the Levant.  While it once described a wider region and has since fallen out of scholarly favor, contemporary academics--largely archaeologists and geographers--who continue to employ the term "Levant" usually mean Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel and Palestine (Egel et al. 2019; Cordesman and Cormarie 2022; Wehrey and Weiss 2021).  Other more antiquated and/or politically fraught labels include "Canaan," "Syria-Palestine," "Holy Land," "Land of Israel," and "Palestine" (De Geus 2003). 

       CIA maps

 

The Levant sits within the broader Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) in Southwest Asia.  The EMR, which is a “term that has emerged in common usage only in the past decade or so” (Makovsky 2022), includes over 20 countries--from Morocco in the west to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east (WHO 2024; Amirkafi et al. 2023).    

 

Images used:
Top: European Space Agency
Middle: CIA World Maps
Bottom: CIA/Library of Congress

 

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