A Wall in Palestine

Rene Backman, Author, A. Kaiser, Translator , trans. from the French by A. Kaiser. Picador $16 (264p) ISBN 978-0-312-42781-8

French journalist Backmann takes on the Orwellian semantic debate played out daily in the lives of Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank: is the massive construction project snaking through more than 400 miles of the West Bank a “security barrier,” as Israel calls it, or an “apartheid wall,” as many Palestinians describe it? Is it being built in order to protect Israeli citizens from Palestinian terrorism, as Israel insists, or was it conceived “to protect the [Israeli] settlements, to give them room to grow”? Are Palestinians' humanitarian needs being met, as project supporters say—or in the words of an Israeli human rights lawyer, does the wall's construction “inevitably bring about human rights violations”? With extensive boots-on-the-ground journalism and close examination of the historical record, Backmann demonstrates that while Israeli security concerns are real, the wall is undeniably also a political tool with life-shattering implications for the Palestinians whose lives it surrounds and constricts. In gathering these various voices in one powerful and accessible book, Backmann makes a vital contribution to the discourse surrounding the potential for peace in the region—and the costs the conflict continues to extract. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/07/2009
Release date: 02/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4299-5370-2
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