I highly recommend Shlomo Sand's The Invention of the Jewish People. I thought I knew Israel's history fairly well, but one fact especially surprised me. Sands is quoted in Shattering a 'national mythology' - Haaretz - Israel News: 'I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land - a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.'
Juan Cole has a nice summary of facts everyone interested in Israel should know: Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelist. Also, Al-Khalil/ Hebron and Jerusalem Protests Point to the Dangers of Nationalizing Sacred Space, some background on a worrisome development. And a good look at The Map: The Story of Palestinian Nationhood Thwarted After the League of Nations Recognized It.
"The Coming Population Crash": The overpopulation myth - Nonfiction - Salon.com: "Global environmental problems are not, and will not, be mainly a problem of overbreeding Indians or Africans. First, their birthrates are coming down fast, with Indian women, for instance, having fewer than three children on average today; and even African women have falling fertility. And secondly, because overbreeding -- in the sense of women having more than replacement levels of children -- is almost entirely in countries with a very low per-capita footprint on the planet. For instance, the carbon emissions of one American is the same as that of 20 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, 40 Nigerians and 250 Ethiopians. If, as economists suggest, the world economy will grow by 400 percent by 2050, then no more than a tenth of that will be a result of population growth. The issue is consumption, and that puts the onus right back on the conspicuous consumers to do something about their economic systems, not least before more developing countries follow the same model."
On political assassination:
Schneier on Security: The Effectiveness of Political Assassinations: "...killing leaders of a religious terrorist group seems to increase the group's chances of survival from 67 percent to 83 percent."