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 Terrritories of Palestine but then and now I have learned that it is not safe to name and quote them since criticisms of Israel are likely to be identified as anti-Semitic (even if spoken by Semite-loving Semites) and as terrorist and criminal in the apprehension of a paranoid Israeli legal, military, and governmental administration. So I am still trying to figure out if I can, perhaps laboriously, find a way to present such notes without their leading to anyone’s or any organization’s being identified as suspect. I don’t see any of them as terrorist, violent, or anti-Semitic, but I am not Israeli and I have no specific family or legacy stake in the matter.

Outline – My notes on a Palestine trip

photos from the trip are posted at https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157665765723327

and my own list of films and resources available to take home follows here.

other notes based on my experiences on this trip will hopefully be posted around mid-June.


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 videocompleted 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]