2018 travel notes from West Bank & Israel

I had thought how meaningful and useful it might be to write about all that was said by people I met and trusted in the Occupied Territories of Palestine but then and now I have learned that it is not safe to name and quote them since anyone’s criticisms of Israel are likely to be identified as anti-Semitic (even if spoken by Semite-loving Semites), terrorist, and criminal in the eyes of an Israeli legal, military, and governmental administration. I am still trying to figure out if I can, perhaps laboriously, find a way to present such notes without leading to any person’s or organization’s being identified as subject to increased sanctions. I don’t see any of the persons  met as terrorist, violent, or anti-Semitic, but I am not Israeli and I have no specific legal, familial, or legacy stake in the matter. You may write to me at the address below to ask for more detailed notes.

My photos from the trip are posted at


My own list of films and resources available to see at home follows here.

Some recommended resources

8 films recommended for study on the interactions and relations involved in Palestine / Israel / Occupation / Zionism :

Colliding Dreams

Rabin, the Last Day

Censored Voices

The Inner Tour

5 Broken Cameras

Arna’s Children

Jenin, Jenin

The Lab                             

[Note: These films have been available to date as discs from

Netflix; you may discover access in other ways as well.]

Two recent nonfiction literary books devoted to addressing Palestine and the Occupation:

Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation, edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, 2017

Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, by Marcello Di Cintio, 2018

Some valuable on-line resources:

To read:

The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, Third Edition, at http://ifamericaknew.org/history/origin.html. 40 readable pages of material quoted from identified sources document issues and events from 3000 BC to 2001.

The past didn’t go anywhere : making resistance to antisemitism part
of all of our movements, at https://archive.org/details/ThePastDidntGoAnywhere. In 34 pages, a booklet on questioning and overcoming antisemitism in thoughts and speech.

Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A primer, at https://www.merip.org/sites/default/files/Primer_on_Palestine-Israel(MERIP_February2014)final.pdf. A fact-based 16-page basic history.

Obstacles to Peace: A reframing of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by Jeff Halper, 2016, at https://icahd.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2017/07/Obstacles-to-Peace-May-2016.pdf. An 84-page historical analysis of how things came to this point.

To watch:

We Have a Dream to Live Safe لدينا حلم العيش بأمان is a 12 minute video, completed in 2016, created by youth at Lajee Cultural Center in Bethlehem, characterizing life in Aida Refugee Camp. (Find more videos from the Center at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU74X1lVjSKxjHU05ghvQYA.)

The Great Book Robbery, at https://vimeo.com/48141495 , is a one-hour film made 6 years ago, vividly explains and documents the looting of Palestinian’s libraries in 1948 and their subsequent archiving under Israeli institutions.

Mohammad Alazzah’s videos at https://vimeo.com/user8484839: Five vivid and thoughtful short films from within the Palestinian community.

Please excuse any errors or omissions.

These recommendations stem from my own limited recent experiences.

— Steve Benson

(Send any correspondence to [email protected])

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