Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Guide from War on the Rocks

In light of the unprecedented assault by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, and the subsequent Israeli campaign on Gaza, we here at War on the Rocks have curated this list of articles and podcasts to help you gain a deeper understanding of the history, drivers, background, and events that define the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whether you are a soldier or a student, a policymaker or a pundit, a teacher or a techie, this will be useful for you.

These resources go back to 2014 and are organized by focus: strategy, military operation, diplomacy, regional responses, and more. Make sure to become a member today to seamlessly access all of these articles and podcasts.

An asterisk (*) indicates that a podcast or article is available to our members only.

Strategy & Policy

The Meaning of the Attack on Israel, with Bruce Hoffman and Ryan Evans

Israel Attacked by Hamas Militants, with Michael Koplow*

Why Hamas Attacked Israel, with Devorah Margolin*

A Major Pivot in Hamas Strategy, by Devorah Margolin

Building a Better Ceasefire for Gaza,” by Jonathan Lincoln (07/23)

“Israel’s Political Crisis,” with Michael Koplow (07/23)*

An Unprecedented Crisis in Israel,” with Michael Koplow (03/23)*

Israel’s New Right-wing Coalition Government,” with Michael Koplow (01/23)*

Elections in Israel,” with Gabriel Mitchell (11/22)*

Assessing the Israel-Palestine Crisis,” with Natan Sachs (05/21)*

Israeli National Intelligence Culture and the Response to Covid-19,” by Itai Shapira (11/20)

Recognizing That Israel is Not an Occupying Power in Gaza is Good for Everyone,” by Gilead Sher and Dana Wolf (07/16)

Annexing the West Bank Would Compromise Israel’s Security and Core Values,” by Gilead Sher and Tami Yakira (6/20)

Israel’s Political and Constitutional Crisis,” with Shane Mason and Daniel Kurtzer (5/20)*

Israel Goes to the Polls…Again,” with Shane Mason and Natan Sachs (3/20)*

The Strategic Implications of Israel’s Turn to the Sea,” by Ehud Eiran and Aviad Rubin (9/19)

Israel’s Forthcoming Security Dilemma,” by Nadav Pollak (7/17)

Israel’s Gaza Withdrawal 10 Years Later: More Successful Than You Think,” by Daniel Byman (8/15)

Towards a Gaza Cease-Fire: Talking and Shooting in Cairo,” by Michael Baskin (9/14)

Eyeless in Gaza – Are We Blind to an Enduring Reality of War?” by Michael Vlahos (8/14)

Israel and Gaza: Force is Futile,” by Clare Yorke (7/14)

Why a Gaza Ceasefire is So Difficult,” by Jacob Stoil (8/14)

The Rise of the Feral Adversary,” by Alon Paz (11/14)

Israel and the Demise of ‘Mowing the Grass,’” by T.X. Hammes (8/14)

Coercive Disclosure: Israel’s Weaponization of Intelligence,” by Ofek Riemer and Daniel Sobelman (8/19)

Jerusalem, In Search of an Honest Broker,” by Beverley Milton-Edwards (12/17)

Military Operation

Israeli Operations in Jenin,” with Gabi Mitchell (07/23)*

Israel Versus Islamic Jihad,” with Yael Mizrahi Arnaud (08/22)*

Israel Targets the Head of the Octopus,” with Dion Nissenbaum (06/22)*

Turn on the Light, Extinguish the Fire: Israel’s New Way of War,” by Eran Ortal (01/22)

Israel’s Iron Dome,” with Ankit Panda (05/21)*

Israel-Palestine Crisis,” with Khaled Elgindy (05/21)*

Five Lessons From Israel’s Wars in Gaza,” by Raphael S. Cohen (08/17)

The Drone Threat to Israeli National Security,” by Michael Shkolnik (01/17)

The War Doctrine Israel Does Not Talk About,” by Ron Tira (09/16)

Peering into the Past and Future of Urban Warfare in Israel,” by David Betz (12/15)

The Role of Anti-Access/Area Denial in Controlling Escalation in Gaza,” by Shimon Arad (9/18)

The Ties That Bind: Families, Clans, and Hizballah’s Military Effectiveness,” by Michael Eisenstadt and Kendall Bianchi (12/17)

Going At It in Gaza: New Realities in an Old Conflict,” by Jacob Stoil (7/14)

Tech, Ethics, and the City in Israel’s Looming Urban Battlefield,” with John Amble and Ryan Evans

More Than a Missile: Judging Iron Dome,” by Zachary Goldman (8/14)

Israel’s Iron Maginot Line System,” by Mark Stout (8/14)

Israel’s Intelligence Wars,” by Shay Hershkovitz (3/16)


U.S.-Saudi-Israeli Diplomacy,” with Khaled Elgindy (09/23)*

Compartmentalizing the American Alliance with Israel From the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” by Yael Mizrahi-Arnaud and Abe Silberstein (12/20)

On a Collision Course: Avoiding a War Between Israel and the ‘Axis of Resistance,’” by Daniel Sobelman (12/17)

Libya’s Foreign Minister Meets Israeli Counterpart,” with Nicholas Danforth and Jalel Harchaoui*

Putting Out to Sea: What the History of Lebanese-Israeli Negotiations Can Tell Us About Current Negotiations Over a Maritime Boundary,” by James R. Stocker (11/20)

As Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates Normalize Ties, China Looks on Warily,” by Michael Singh (10/20)

The F-35 Triangle: America, Israel, the United Arab Emirates,” by Barbara A. Leaf and Dana Stroul (9/20)

The United Arab Emirates and Israel Just Came Clean on Their Extra-Marital Affair,” by Gilead Sher and Yoel Guzansky (8/20)

Diplomatic Breakthrough: Israel, United Arab Emirates Normalize Ties,” with Shane Mason and Natan Sachs*

Resetting the U.S.-Israel Alliance,” by Michael Eisenstadt (2/15)

Is Israel Becoming a Strategic Liability for the United States?” by Richard Klass (1/15)

Regional Responses

Israel’s 9/11? How Hamas Terrorist Attacks Will Change the Middle East, by Bruce Hoffman and Jacob Ware

Iranian Drone Proliferation is Scaling Up and Turning More Lethal,” by Nakissa Jahanbani, Muhammad Najjar, Benjamin Johnson, Caleb Benjamin, and Muhammad Al-Ubaydi (09/23)

Iran’s Increasingly Decentralized Axis of Resistance,” by Nancy Ezzedine and Hamidreza Azizi (07/22)

Iran, Its Partners, and the Balance of Effective Force,” by John Raine (03/20)

How Iran Helped Houthis Expand Their Reach,” by Thomas Juneau (8/21)

Is the Israeli-Lebanese Maritime Boundary Agreement Replicable?” by Gabriel Mitchell (11/22)

How to Make the Most of the Israeli-Lebanese Maritime Deal,” by Hanin Ghaddar (10/22)

Israel and Lebanon Agree on a Maritime Border,” with Nicholas Danforth and Hanin Ghaddar (10/22)*

A New ‘Good Fence?’: Turkey Should Learn Lessons from Israel’s Experience in Lebanon,” by Dylan Maguire (1/20)

The Islamic State and Israel’s Arab Citizens,” by Elisabeth Marteu (12/16)

From Marriage of Convenience to Bitter Divorce: The Unraveling of Ties Between Hamas and Isil’s Sinai Affiliate,” by Michael Shkolnik (1/18)

Mini-Hizballahs, Revolutionary Guard Knock-Offs, and the Future of Iran’s Militant Proxies in Iraq,” by Michael Eisenstadt and Michael Knights (5/17)

Facing Up to Foreign Influence: How Outsiders Helped Create Lebanon’s Current Crisis,” by Nicholas Noe (12/21)

What Do U.S.-Iranian Tensions Mean for Israel,” by Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein (6/19)

Israel’s Deepening Involvement with Syria’s Rebels,” by Elizabeth Tsurkov (2/18)

Horns of a Dilemma: Middle East Realignment and Israel,” with Danielle Plekta (10/18)


Gaza: And So it Begins,” by Jean-Pierre Filiu (09/14)

(W)archives: With Allenby at Gaza,” by Mark Stout (08/14)

The United States, the 1967 Lines, and the Future of the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” by Galen Jackson (5/20)

Strength, Wisdom, and Israel’s Character,” with Ambassador Dennis Ross (2/20)

Israel, Egypt, The Palestinians, and the Legacy of the Camp David Accords, 40 Years Later” by Gilead Sher (9/18)

The Python Problem: Reflections on the War on Terror, 17 Years Later,” by David A. Brown, Timothy Hoyt, and Craig Whiteside (9/18)