Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Strangers in the House by Raja Shehadeh. Anthony Lewis Foreword by. Shehadeh shatters the stereotype many Americans have of Palestinians. His early childhood was marked by his family's sense of loss and impermanence, vividly evoked by the glittering lights "on the other side of the hill. He predicted that if peace were not achieved, what remained of the Palestinian homeland would be taken away bit by bit.
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Ostracized by his fellow Arabs and disillusioned by the failure of either side to recognize his prophetic vision, Aziz retreated from politics. He was murdered in The first memoir of its kind by a Palestinian living in the occupied territories, Strangers in the House offers a moving description of daily life for those who have chosen to remain on their land. It is also the family drama of a difficult relationship between an idealistic son and his politically active father, complicated by the arbitrary humiliation of the "occupier's law. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
Published April 29th by Penguin Books first published November 7th More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Strangers in the House , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Strangers in the House. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 26, Greta rated it really liked it Shelves: memoir , owned-in-english.
A fascinating memoir of an idealistic Palestinian lawyer and human rights activist Raja Shehadeh.
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His family lived in Jaffa, and to escape the fighting and attacks in , the family moved to their summerhouse in Ramallah. They could never return. His father, Aziz, was also a prominent lawyer, and the first Palestinian to advocate a peaceful, two-state solution. The main focus of this book is on the personal relationship between Raja and his father Aziz, which wasn't a very good one. Raja's nev A fascinating memoir of an idealistic Palestinian lawyer and human rights activist Raja Shehadeh. Raja's never-ending struggle to live up to his father's expectations was a bit boring but the book became more interesting once the author finally got his act together.
Mar 09, Phoenix rated it really liked it Shelves: politics , middle-east. My interest in Shahadeh stems from his involvement in the Palestinian movement called "The Third Way", which is the political party of serving Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyed and is associated neither with Fatah or Hamas;. I finished the book in April and its one of 4 Palestinian biographies that I've recently read. Raja Shehadeh is a West Bank lawyer, as was his father Aziz.see url
Strangers in the house : coming of age in occupied Palestine
The family lived in both Ramallah and Jaffa; h My interest in Shahadeh stems from his involvement in the Palestinian movement called "The Third Way", which is the political party of serving Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyed and is associated neither with Fatah or Hamas;. The family lived in both Ramallah and Jaffa; his parents were cousins. In they estimated that the worst case was Partition. Raja relates an Interesting personal life.
Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine
Goes to London, has a girlfriend, flirts with homosexuality not explicit but implied , tries a couple of weeks in an ashram in India, returns home and winds up practicing law with a social justice bent, eschews violence however the narrative gets a little dodgy around the time of the second intifadeh.
However its a good book and an honest approach, but I feel that the other reviewers would like to see Shehadeh as a saint beleaguered solely by the Israelis - and this is not what he is portraying. He treats Israelis and Palestinians as human beings, some good, some not so good - he humanizes rather than demonizes and in that there is hope. His descriptions of defending a client all lawyers present their clients as innocent, some may even be innocent and the various personages he meets could be said of any Western court system as well.
Courts and prisons are not friendly places in any society. What is frustrating is that he bridges on the edge of insight but doesn't seem to get it. In Ch 19 - he relates that his offices were visited by inspectors from the Customs office. They did not have a search warrant. The investigators broke into a drawer and a few days later he recieves a bill for 5 million shekels. Note: Shehadah claims they did not have a warrant, however 6 years without filing a return would give ample reason for issuing one. Shehada agrees that the tax wasn't paid and notes that he was active in urging people not to pay it.
I'll get back to this point in a moment.
Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine
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 s 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.
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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. I was born and grew up in Ramallah on the West Bank but I always had a strong sense of the life that was left behind in when my parents were exiled from their coastal home in Jaffa.
The writing of the book liberated me from that bondage. When I was growing up the possibility that I would someday be able to visit the dream land on the horizon meant a lot to me. When Israel occupied the West Bank I was unprepared for the experience of Israel or its military occupation that was to dominate my life from that point onwards. What was daily life like for you in school growing up? How were people, even children, affected by the political situation? I went to a Quaker school in Ramallah. Until the last few months before the war there were never any political activities in our school.
My father suffered for his political convictions and was jailed twice. I was too young to understand the political reasons behind these arrests.
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They left me with a sense of insecurity and fear. After the general situation in the West Bank was peaceful and there were no upheavals or acts of violence. Ramallah was surrounded by refugee camps. Everyone expected that there was going to be a return of all the refugees to the homes they left in Palestine. The passage of twenty years did not temper the aspiration of the refugees to return. I felt I knew Jaffa more than I knew Ramallah. Did you ever leave Palestine for an extended time [college, etc. If so, what changed your mind?
I left Palestine to get an education, first in Beirut and then in London. I also spent four months at Harvard as a visiting scholar. I always knew I would come back. The reason for this was as much my desire to get to know my father and for him to get to know me as it was to be part of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. We worked together, my father and I, in the same law office for eight years after my return from England and before his death. Certainly for the generation of my parents and grandparents, home was Jaffa, not Ramallah. I have never left Ramallah for any extended period of time, so in many ways it is home.
But as I grow older I realize that I can feel at home in other places. I am sure that I have a strong attachment to this land whether it is called Palestine or Israel. Both sides are destroying the land, the Israelis with their greed and unrestrained building of settlements and the Palestinians with the chaotic planning. Not to mention the many roads and bypass roads and trenches and uprooting of trees. The war of had a strong impact on my father. It brought him to the conviction that the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lay in the partition of the land between two states, Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with Jerusalem as its capital.
He was a forerunner of what has now become a mainstream position. He suffered greatly for his political views. He was called a traitor.
Yet from the second year after the occupation Israel began building settlements in the occupied territories. I grew up feeling we were in a race with time. Every year the chances of peace were being diminished and our land was being usurped before our eyes. Unless something was done the remaining part of Palestine beyond the borders of Israel would also be lost.
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