ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT-Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation

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ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation, by Kathleen and Bill Christison. London, UK: Pluto Press, 2009. $19.95.

Reviewed by Elaine C. Hagopian

Kathleen Christison and her late husband, Bill, have produced a book which everyone who cherishes humanistic values should read. This remarkable couple has meticulously recorded the amoral, inhumane, and relentless cruelties that the US-abetted Israeli occupation has heaped on Palestinians with remarkable impunity. The Christisons have accomplished, in words, portrayals of the realities of Palestinian life which enable the audience to "see" and "feel" the wretchedness of Palestinian existence and to "experience" the intensity of gratuitous injustice committed by the Israeli occupiers.

Both authors served as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) political analysts until 1979. After leaving the Agency and moving away from the cloistered environment of Washington, DC, their humane instincts led them to an epiphany about American foreign policy and especially the tragedy of Palestine. They visited Palestine often - seven times from 2003 to 2008, the period covered in the book. There they pursued village to village, town to town, city to city in-depth observations and interviews with local people. No summary of what they saw can capture the vision as well as their own words.

Commenting on the situation in the small village of Wadi Fukin in the West Bank, they note:

Not only is the settlement [Betar Illit] encroaching on Wadi Fukin's land, but almost unbelievably, it occasionally - some sources say regularly, as often as twice a week - dumps sewage onto the village lands. This is sewage from a settlement of more than 29,000 people, dumped on a village of 1,200 (p. 112).

After we first visited Wadi Fukin, Ahmad [their driver] ... erupted in an angry tirade about the Israeli settlements and what they have done to the Palestinian landscape. "Why you want to put your shit in my salon?" he wondered pointedly (p. 113).

Perhaps the most important point in the book, a finding made by others in more academic form, is that

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