Throughout their youth Nir Baram’s generation were bombarded with news about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—the injustices, the wrongdoings, the killings. Over the decades, the horror and despair had become habit—he noticed people had begun to give up on the possibility of resolution. Yet, as Baram notes, ‘the vast majority of Israelis—as well as international onlookers— know next to nothing about life on the West Bank, the area at the heart of the conflict they have spent their adult lives dissecting’. Most have never visited the occupied territories, and thus ‘the debate revolves around a theoretical, ill-defined area sketched out in our political imagination.’
This book of reportage emerged from the author’s realization that Israel is separated from the West Bank not only by checkpoints but also, more significantly, by a cognitive barrier. And so began his quest to understand the occupation from both sides. The result is an essential and nuanced journey through places and experiences that receive little coverage.
Baram, widely considered one of the most important intellectual voices in Israel today, faces painful challenges to his personal political views and his hopes for a more peaceful future.