“At the time of this review, Israeli bombs are raining down on the civilians of Gaza, and the wounded and starving are dying by the thousands. It is more important than ever for us to know those people we have pretended don’t exist: the Palestinians. As horrendous as the Hamas attack was, Israel’s narrative attempts to “de-contextualize and de-historicize” it, as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has said, and to label October 7 as Israel’s 9/11 is yet another attempt to erase the Occupation. Focusing on the West Bank, Ramsey Hanhan’s “Fugitive Dreams” reminds us that the Occupation is as real as the Palestinians who have suffered under it.
In an autobiography entwined with history, Hanhan presents the micro- and macro- aspects of the Occupation, showing how Israeli policy influences the everyday life of Palestinians. The unique contribution of this book is twofold: a detailed account of how Palestinians navigate the daily obstacles to their movement, told from the perspective of a Palestinian doing just that; and a critique not just of Israeli actions but of Palestinian social values and behaviors that limit their development and self-respect — an aspect of the book that may admittedly be hard to digest, given the present situation. But it remains a brave cultural self-examination.”
Excerpted from “Escaping the Israeli Nightmare” by Pamela Nice, scheduled to appear in the forthcoming Al Jadid, Vol. 27, No. 84, 2023.
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