Rashid Khalidi. The Iron Cage. 2007.
Excellent, crystal clear presentation of the conflict, using updated scholarship. Recommended.
David Hirst. The Gun and the Olive Branch. 2003.
This is an excellent, deeply knowledgeable account of the conflict. It is very accessibly written. Recommended.
Charles Smith. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. 2007.
This is one of the most thoroughly referenced and complete accounts I know of. The reading can be tedious, since it is concerned to cover all major aspects of the conflict. But the writing is clear, the references are well presented, and the book serves as a good standard reference work or textbook on the conflict.
James Gelvin. The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War. 2005.
Norman Finkelstein. Beyond Chutzpah. 2005.
Much of the book is a polemic denouncing the fraudulent scholarship of Alan Dershowitz and Joan Peters, whose claims and the evidence provided are thoroughly debunked. This interest of this section is limited, since it merely offers a test case of biased scholarship. More interesting though are the substantial annexes, which present succinct information, including solid references, debunking the myths and misunderstandings about the conflict found in spurious US scholarship and common public understanding.
Joe Sacco. Palestine. 2002.
Gritty, fascinating, very well crafted. Adds flesh to the facts, and gives a strong sense of the human realities under consideration in the conflict.
Benny Morris. Righteous Victims. 1999.
One of the most authoritative presentations of the findings of the Tel Aviv “new historians,” making ample use of newly declassified IDF archives and state records. Clearly preferential to Israeli state, but nonetheless well presented, clearly argued, and thoroughly debunking the myths propelled by Israeli state propaganda and pro-Israel ideologues. Sections of particular interest include the accounts of early Zionist terror groups like the Hagana and the Stern Gang; and the accounts of the 1948 and 1967 wars, which demonstrate Israeli military superiority.
Noam Chomsky. The Fateful Triangle. 1983.
Tedious reading, but directly to the point discussions and (now dated, but still relevant) documentation of the conflict, focusing especially on US role. Makes use of Hebrew press, among many other sources. Arguments and claims are direct and supported by relentless sets of documentary evidence.
Edward Said. The Question of Palestine. 1979.
Interesting for its historical interest, in a period where it was difficult to rise above the myths perpetuated in US society about Israel.