A Day In The Life

June 26, 2007, 10:44 pm
Filed under: Books


I finished this book several days ago and it is still weighing heavy on my mind.  It is a fictional legal thriller set in the very real struggle that is taking place in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank even as I write.   David Wolfe, an affluent American of Jewish descent, and Hana Arif, a Palestinian exile, meet and become involved as students at Harvard.  After their graduation, Hana returns to the refugee camp in Lebanon where she was raised.  She marries a Palestinian man from the same settlement and they move to the West Bank where they both teach at a university.  Thirteen years later, David is practicing law in San Francisco and is engaged to Carole Shorr, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.  Hana, her husband and child have traveled to San Francisco and she calls David.  Interspersed within the narrative of David’s and Hana’s lives, the author weaves the stories of two young Palestinian men who are preparing to become martyrs in a shocking event that will change the course of history. 

The story is gripping, well-researched and full of factual and historical information concerning the struggle between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples.  Both sides of the struggle are well represented through dialogue among the fictional characters.   The author describes atrocities suffered by the Palestinians at the hands of the Jews.  There are also descriptions and accounts of the horrific suffering of the Jews at the hands of the Palestinians and during the Holocaust.  As I read the book it became much easier to understand why peace seems to be such a distant and unreachable goal in the Middle East.

On the day that I finished reading Exile, I received the July 2 edition of Time.  Within its pages I found an article entitled “How to Deal With Hamas.”  A large picture, almost two full pages, accompanies the article.  In the photo, a militant in Gaza is seated behind a desk in a Fatah office seized by Hamas on June 14, 2007.  The militant is wearing a black ski mask and holding a gun.  Even more chilling is the reflection in mirrors along the wall behind the desk.  The photographer is reflected quite clearly and in the shadows near him are what appear to be several more masked militants. 

I leave you with a quote from the Time article.  “Crushing Hamas may be a chimerical goal, but reforming it need not be, if the U.S., Israel and its allies can devise ways to work with the Islamists in areas of mutual interest…..That kind of engagement holds at least as much potential for progress as the U.S. policy of weeding out extremists and dealing only with pliable, so-called moderates.  Reaching out to Hamas could curb the militants’ extremist behavior toward Israel.  Or may end in failure.  In the Middle East today those odds are about as much as you can hope for.” 


3 Comments so far
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I believe it was Golda Meier that said the war would never end until the Palestinian mothers loved their children more than they hated Israel.

Comment by Pamela

Sounds like a deep thinking book. Yum! The more I look into situations like the Middle East, the more I realize how complicated it all is. There is no ‘right way’ to fix things, just perhaps years of subtle changes.

Comment by Devon

I am going to have to get this book to read.

There are no easy answers or solutions for the Middle East. I like the quote Pamela used. 🙂

Comment by Debbie

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