A WALL IN PALESTINE by René Backmann


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A French journalist takes a less-than-dispassionate look at a barrier constructed by Israel and concludes it’s less for security than a land grab in the West Bank.

Nearly eight years ago, faced with an ongoing existential war with no front against an imbedded foe without uniforms, Israel began a “separation line” to prevent terrorists from entering the Jewish State from surrounding territories. Despite the title of the book, first published in France, only a small portion of the barrier is a wall; it’s mostly a wide buffer zone, equipped with electronics and barbed wire between the checkpoints. With it, the spate of suicide bombings in buses and cafés has subsided appreciably, but the West Bank Barrier wandered far from the Green Line. Deep into Palestinian terrain, it circled Israeli settlements while it cut through Palestinian grazing lands, orchards and villages, and it severed access to blameless businesses and separated innocent families. Le Nouvel Observateur international affairs columnist Backmann provides a litany of grief, hardship, harassment and humiliation at selected locations near the barricade. For the Israeli side, the author interviewed builders, bureaucrats and generals. In the naturally aggrandizing move to keep the killers out, the consequence to a largely guiltless population is degrading and demoralizing. It’s clear that there is no impartiality in the region, and Backmann is unable to hide his own bias.

An impassioned text that combines polemic incitement with assiduous geographical insight.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-42781-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Picador
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2009


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