Praise for Where the Line Is Drawn :
“Writing has allowed Shehadeh to continue crossing into these territories, even as they become increasingly off-limits to him. His books are maps, painstakingly pieced together, of regions lost to senseless division, to bad choices, and to lies.”
“Remarkable and hopeful . . . a deeply honest and intense memoir.”
Gal Beckerman, The New York Times Book Review
“Shehadeh describes with courage and grace the internal struggle to remain fair.”
The New Yorker
“No one else writes about Palestinian life under military occupation with such stubborn humanity, melancholy, and fragile grace. . . . One feels the loss in every paragraph Shehadeh writes, but also the inescapable beauty that remains, which both softens and deepens the rage.”
“Shehadeh’s incisive, lyrical memoir cuts to the core of a complex cultural identity.”
"A gentle, hopeful book of what could and should be. His belief in ‘we will’have a soverign state, lasting peace, and mutual forgivenessinspires, exemplifies, and leads"
"A beautifully impressionistic exploration of shared cultural understanding despite the narrowing of borders."
“Shehadeh brilliantly evokes the Palestinian tragedy by way of a complex friendship. This is a fiercely intelligent and honest account.”
“The question of how and if friendships can survive across political divides is a resonant one, and I can think of no one better than Raja Shahadeh to treat it with the wisdom, toughness and humanity that it deserves.”
“Raja Shehadeh’s Where the Line Is Drawn is a courageous and timely meditation on the fragility of friendship in dark times, illuminating how affiliation and love—without pretence or concealment, in defiance of occupation and estrangement—can have a profound political power. I hope many people will read and dwell on this unforgettable book.”
“Written with fierce clarity and unusual compassion, this book touches the human heart of a political tragedy. A moving tribute to the power of human connection in even the harshest circumstances.”
“While I was in Ramallah, I met the Palestinian writer Raja Shehadeh, whose work I did not previously know. His books—including Strangers in the House and When the Birds Stopped Singing —were a discovery: he is a great inquiring spirit with a tone that is vivid, ironic, melancholy, and wise.”
“The wisdom and elegance of Raja Shehadeh’s thinking and writing are more necessary than ever. This book, a personal history of life under occupation, appeals to—and speaks of—an insistence on dignity, regardless of borders and of endless war. Raja Shehadeh is a buoy in a sea of bleakness.”
“In the dark agony of the Palestine-Israel conflict, Raja Shehadeh offers a rare gift: a lucid, honest, unsparing voice. His humanity and wisdom are invaluable. Where the Line Is Drawn powerfully records many testing aspects of Shehadeh’s life under Israeli occupation, but at its heart is his long-lived friendship with a fellow intellectual and seeker, Jewish and Israeli. In their bond lies reason for hope. . . . It’s a beautiful book.”
“Raja Shehadeh writes with a poised clarity about the intricacies of living as an honorable Palestinian. His humility and dignity shine on every page whether he is discussing his lifelong literary friendship with an Israeli Jew or trying to drive home at night with his wife from a classical music concert along once familiar childhood roads that have become a maze of high-risk choices. This is that rarest of books—a powerful chronicle told with tenderness.”
“The weight of oppression, as Raja Shehadeh calls it, bears down on every page of this delicate, thoughtful memoir of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation.”
Praise for Raja Shehadeh’s Palestinian Walks :
"A work of passionate polemic, journeying, history, and autobiography."
The New Yorker
"Few Palestinians have opened their minds and their hearts with such frankness."
The New York Times
"An important testament to political failure, never more relevant than today."
"This beautiful book is not just a guide to the Palestinian present; it is an Israeli album of what is taking place in a faraway land: Palestine."
"Shehadeh’s memoir is profoundly pained, his anguish over Israeli occupation policies palpable, as he lovingly sketches a landscape that is rapidly disappearing."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Shehadeh (Palestinian Walks) chronicles trips he has taken from his home in Ramallah, Palestine, into Israel over the past 50 years. The Palestinian author and activist often visits friends in Israel; during his travels he considers the differences between their lives and that of his family, who were forced to leave their home in Jaffa. The stories juxtapose everyday life with the Israeli occupation of the region, as Shehadeh visits family, attends a concert, goes to work, and is stopped and demeaned at border checkpoints for being Palestinian. Shehadeh intersperses his thoughts on the political situation in Palestine, including the Oslo Accords, the Nakba and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Throughout, he considers his friendship with Henry, a Canadian Jew who relocated to Jerusalem. Henry and Shehadeh's close friendship, estrangement, and reconciliation often mirrors Shehadeh's conflicted feelings toward Israeli-Palestinian politics and provides an outlet for his musings on the nature of friendship and political activism. VERDICT A sincere and thoughtful look at life in Palestine. Recommended for readers seeking a personal perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict.—Rebekah Kati, Durham, NC
One of Palestine's most respected writers reflects on 50 years of Israeli occupation and riven friendships.With grieving family driven out of their Jaffa home after the founding of Israel in 1948, an event the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba ("Catastrophe"), Shehadeh (Language of War, Language of Peace: Palestine, Israel and the Search for Justice, 2015, etc.), who was born in 1951, grew up among a deeply oppressed people under the increasingly "imperial arrogance" of the occupier. In these essays, fashioned like short stories, the author looks back on five decades of occupation through the prism of unlikely friendships with Israelis and sticky crossings between the two sides. Shehadeh's father was an enlightened lawyer who believed fervently in the possibility of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, even bringing his son, recently returned from studying law in London, to hear Egyptian president Anwar Sadat address the Knesset in Tel Aviv on Nov. 20, 1977, an experience the author recounts in "Henry." From this first encounter between two young seekers—Henry, an Israeli with a doctorate in psychology from Yale, and the author, who was trying to figure out his own way in life amid the "stifling, traditional society" of Ramallah—a lifelong friendship was born, though it became rocky as the two Intifadas spiraled out. Indeed, as Shehadeh immersed himself in human rights activism, "politics began to cast a dark shadow over my relationship with Henry." In other essays, the author chronicles his return to Jaffa, the city of his father—who, we learn, was murdered in the 1980s by an Israeli collaborator—and wonders what his life would be like had his family insisted on staying. Shehadeh learned Hebrew once it became clear that the Israeli occupation was not going to end, and the border patrols and restrictions grew increasingly onerous and terrifying. A beautifully impressionistic exploration of shared cultural understanding despite the narrowing of borders.