Voices from Palestine and IsraelSaul A. Slapikoff
Framed by his own quest for Jewish-humanist identity, Saul Slapikoff's account of two trips to Israel and the Occupied Territories presents perspectives on the intifada and West Bank settlements that are almost never voiced in the United States. His interviews with leading Palestinians and the left wing of the Israeli peace movement reveal the extent to which Palestinians are subjected to daily harassment and constant disruption within their communities. Without romanticizing the Palestinians or demonizing the Israelis, Slapikoff succeeds in giving voice to many who see the means and the necessity for establishing peace in the Middle East.
His initial visit in July 1990 as a delegate to the Cambridge (Massachusetts)-Ramallah/El Bireh Sister City Campaign was followed by a second trip in March 1991, shortly after the end of the Gulf War. Meeting with numerous Palestiniansprofessionals, farmers, mothers, and childrenSlapikoff portrays in their own words the economic hardship, police brutality, arbitrary arrests, and educational deprivation that have become part of daily existence on the West Bank. The author's interviews with Israeli peace activists, members of the human rights organization al-Haq, demonstrators with the Women in Black, and others describe the dramatic political split over the Occupation. His experiences living with a family in the Jalazon Refugee Camp reveal the horror and inhumanity of the situation. An epilogue records his 1991 reunions with friends from his first trip and the worsening conditions for Palestinians after the Gulf War.
"Sometimes you have to say, 'No more; there are things you cannot take from me. I will no longer yield.' That's what the intifada is about." This response to one of Slapikoff's interviews recalls the pain and dignity that have characterized much of the history of this troubled area. Consider and Hear Me is one man's attempt to sort out the confusion, the injustice, and the poignant optimism that coexist in this region.