In this moving account of the barriers between Israelis and Palestinians, leading Israeli journalist Isabel Kershner traces the route of the wall Israel is building and reports its profound effects on people living on both sides. Kershner provides rich and insightful portraits of Israeli settlers feeling abandoned on the wrong side of the fence; Palestinian farmers angry at being cut off from their lands and groves; Arab families split up in a town now divided by the barrier; and Israelis protesting that it is an obstacle to peace. Exploring the reasons for the barrier and its political and moral implications, Kershner focuses on the people committed to their causes. As the future relationship between Israelis and Palestinians is being determined, Barrier: The Seam of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is an important book that addresses one of the most controversial solutions.
One of the effects of the highly controversial barrier being erected by Israel between itself and Occupied Palestine has been the creation of a weird nether-world dubbed "the Seam Zone," which Jerusalem Report editor Kerchner describes with both compassion and coherence. Using numerous interviews and impressive legwork, Kerchner conveys both the tragic necessity of a physical separation to shield Israelis from terrorism, as well as the bureaucratic nightmare of Kafkaesque proportions the arbitrary divide represents for the Palestinians caught on the wrong side as they are subjected to a barrage of hardships, humiliations and expropriations. Kerchner follows a plethora of protagonists, including academics, military fence planners, disillusioned kibbutzniks, Arab farmers cut off from their olive groves, Israeli antiwall activists and the parents of Arab "martyrs" who applaud their murderous progeny but crave peace with their Jewish neighbors. Her diligence pays off, and the rigorous in-the-field reporting and simple human empathy of this engrossing study more than makes up for a few easy generalizations on one or two contentious issues. Her volume provides stunning insights into the latest, and perhaps most potent, symbol of the impasse the Arab-Israeli peace process has lumbered into since the promising Oslo Accords over a decade ago.