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Strangers in the House
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About the Author

Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian lawyer and writer who lives in the Ramallah refugee camp. He is a founder of the pioneering, nonpartisan human rights organization Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, and the author of several books about international law, human rights, and the Middle East.

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In this autobiography of a Palestinian living in Israel, Shehadeh, a lawyer and founder of Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, reminisces about growing up "in the shadow of home" and coming to terms with the political situation in which he was born. It wasn't until he was an adult that he finally understood the work of his father, Aziz, an early advocate of the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who was murdered in 1985. In a strong voice that is without diatribe, melodrama, or anger, Shehadeh describes the uncertainties of life during a period of national difficulty. Readers will get a glimpse into the emotional and political turmoil of the region and possibly form a better understanding of the troubles in the Middle East. This book also shares the insight of one man's journey and the maturity that allowed him to see his life in context. Recommended for public and academic libraries with Middle Eastern collections or biography collections that extend beyond the famous. Naomi Hafter, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Palestinian perspectives on the Middle East conflict don't often reach the West and today they are more relevant than ever. In this fascinating memoir, leading Palestinian lawyer Shehadeh offers a chilling and moving view of life inside the Occupied Territories. He was born into a prominent family around the time of Israel's establishment in 1948. As Shehadeh recounts his relationship with his parents, his first love, intellectual experiments in college, world travels, law career and human rights work, his struggles under Israeli occupation distinguish his story. Shehadeh names his father, Aziz, also a prominent attorney, as the first Palestinian in the late 1960s to advocate recognizing Israel and adopting a peaceful two-state solution. The author gives a gripping narrative regarding Aziz's murder and the Israeli authorities' sluggish investigation; it's widely assumed that Aziz's killer was a Palestinian who disapproved of his willingness to compromise with Israel. More broadly, Shehadeh deftly renders the Israeli government's systematic harassment and humiliation of the Palestinians, ranging from constant surveillance at checkpoints to random searches in homes and offices. Such situations, Shehadeh makes clear, account for the powerlessness, frustration and anger experienced by most Palestinians. His deliberate analysis of the expansion of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories, a major obstacle to the peace process, is especially intriguing. The author argues that these settlements are illegal under international law, but have slowly and surely been aligned with Israeli legal statutes. Anyone seeking a nuanced view of Palestinian experience should read this brave and lyrical book. B&w photos. (Jan. 2) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Unusually honest, beautifully written....Few Palestinians have opened their hearts and minds with such frankness. --The New York Times Book ReviewA remarkable human document that explains better than a hundred political treatises why there is still no peace in the Middle East. --Amos Elon

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