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A Wall in Palestine by Rene Backmann
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A Wall in Palestine

by Rene Backmann

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If you want a detailed look at the impact of the Israeli wall (or "security barrier", depending on who's talking about it), this book is good. Rene Backmann is a reporter at Le Nouvel Observateur. It was published in France in 2006, then translated into English last year, but was obviously updated at the same time. It really could have done with a good editing and an outline of the book's structure. I felt like a blindfolded donkey being led by the nose, but kept going and learnt a lot about the wall and Israeli politics. Some good maps help. If this is your very first book about Israel, you might struggle with the detail. There's a chronology at the end, but if you've never heard of the Green Line and don't know roughly what happened with the British Mandate, the 1948 war and the 1967 war then it will be a slow read.

There's a lot of discussion in the book about the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Backmann's main point is that, even if the Israeli government had legitimately wanted to build a security barrier because of terrorism, they broke a heck of a lot of laws by plonking it away from the Green Line and caused immense suffering. The barrier has had a massive impact on the lives of the Palestinians, especially those whose land has ended up on the other side. Since I finished the book I've found it much easier to understand detailed newspaper coverage of what's going on at the moment with the US and Israel's fight over the extension of settlements. ( )
6 vote cushlareads | Apr 20, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427816, Paperback)

The West Bank Barrier is expected to be completed in 2010. Declared illegal by the United Nations International Court of Justice, this network of concrete walls, trenches, and barbed-wire fences could permanently redraw one of the most disputed property lines in the Middle East--the Green Line that separates Israel and the West Bank. To Israel the “security fence” is intended to keep Palestinian terrorists from entering its territory. But to Palestinians the "apartheid wall" that sliced through orchards and houses, and cuts off family members from one another, is a land grab.

In this comprehensive book, Backmann not only addresses the barrier's impact on ordinary citizens, but how it will shape the future of the Middle East. Though it promises security to an Israeli population weary of terrorism, it also is responsible for the widespread destruction of Palestinian homes and farmland; with its Byzantine checkpoint regulations, it has also severely crippled the Palestinian economy; and, most urgent, the barrier often deviates from the Green Line, appropriating thousands of acres of land, effectively redrawing the boundary between the West Bank and Israel. 

Backmann interviews Israeli policy makers, politicians, and military personnel, as well as Palestinians living throughout the West Bank, telling the stories not only of the barrier’s architects, but also of those who must reckon with it on a day-to-day basis on the ground. 

With bold, brilliant, and often impassioned reportage, A Wall in Palestine renders the West Bank Barrier--its purpose, its efficacy, its consequences--as no book before. 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:37 -0400)

An inclusive report on the West Bank Barrier, "A Wall in Palestine" offers an examination of the physical boundary that separates Israel and the West Bank--its purpose, ifs efficacy, and its consequences.

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