GROWING UP PALESTINIAN: Israeli Occupation and the Intifada Generation

Laetitia Bucaille, Author, Anthony Roberts, Translator . Princeton Univ. $19.95 (168p) ISBN 978-0-691-11670-9

French political scientist Bucaille faces a daunting task—humanizing the Palestinian fighters who are involved in almost-daily violence against Israel— and to her credit, she mostly succeeds, tracing the lives of several of the young men known as the shebab, who are on-the ground fighters in the three-and-a-half-year-old second intifada. In interviews and vivid descriptions, Bucaille brings to light their worldview—one in which hopelessness has fueled violence, and the violence fuels hopelessness. The Palestinian fighters she interviews tell her that they do not oppose the state of Israel. But the lives of the fighters are only part of Bucaille's investigation. Along the way, she traces the recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the failed Oslo peace process. She sees that process as having been doomed from the beginning. The accords "gave the Palestinians nothing but the bastard status of autonomy over most of Gaza and a small area of the West Bank." It did, however, create a new set of dynamics in Palestinian society, as the return of Yasser Arafat and his coterie created a new wealthy class and, after initial euphoria, led to resentment among those Palestinians who had fought in the first uprising, from 1987 to 1993. The author is frank in depicting these fault lines in Palestinian society, although she generally leans somewhat to a pro-Palestinian stance. While those who are strongly pro-Israel will be put off by this, readers wanting a look at the lives of young Palestinians and their society will be hard-pressed to find a better book. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 172 pages - 978-0-691-12611-1
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