An honest and troubling snapshot of Israel—both Palestinian and Israeli—that reveals the creeping realization that a two-state solution may no longer be possible.
A leftist Israeli journalist and novelist, Baram (Good People, 2016, etc.), who grew up in the 1980s, confronted his own long-held biases by spending an extended length of time penetrating the Green Line (the 1949 demarcation of Israel’s borders) and visiting the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In a series of hard-hitting chapters, he recounts his journeys—to Palestinian refugee camps, Israeli settlements, kibbutzim, and border crossings like Kalandia—underscoring the enormous fatigue that has settled around the Israeli occupation and the essential desire for the Palestinians to enjoy equal rights and move freely within the country. The sad, stunning truth is that most Palestinians and Israelis have no contact with each other. In one telling moment, Baram, while speaking English with a group of Palestinians on a street in Ramallah, attracted the attention of a boy who stared in disbelief, having never met a Jew before. The author worked his way around the West Bank, asking pointed questions that neither side was comfortable answering—e.g., how will the Israelis deal with the Palestinians’ demand for a right to return to the places their forebears were banished from in 1948, even though these same Palestinians have never visited those places or ever called them home? Also, how can the Palestinians believe in peace with the Israelis after “all the killings, the land grabs, the imprisonments, the checkpoints”? To get a better sense of what the future may hold, Baram spoke with prickly settlers (“as far as they are concerned, the battle has already been won”), former prisoners of the Israelis now aiming to fulfill their lives, and tense worshipers (of both faiths) at the Al-Aqsa Temple Mount.
From horror to fatigue to indifference, an important look forward and back that provides a grass-roots sense that one state needs to satisfy sovereignty for all.