Where the Line Is Drawn: A Tale of Crossings, Friendships, and Fifty Years of Occupation in Israel-Palestine by Raja Shehadeh [in Booklist]
With the publication of Palestinian Walks (2008), Shehadeh recognized Henry Abramovitch as an important “walking companion” in his lyrical, bittersweet record of the encroaching Israeli occupation of his Palestinian homeland. That mention becomes the focus of Shehadeh’s newest title, in which he chronicles a half-century of Palestinian-Israeli relations through his friendship with the Jewish, Canadian, Yale psychology PhD Abramovitch, who settles in Jerusalem. Their initial 1977 meeting is noted with a seemingly dismissive detail – preference for black coffee because of lactose intolerance: “we both belong to the same racial group and are among the majority (70%) of intolerants,” Abramovitch notes, immediately emphasizing their commonality.
Throughout the decades, the two friends maintain respect, admiration, and most definitely deep love for each other amidst searing arguments and piercing disappointments. Despite bearing witness to senseless violence on both sides of the titular “line,” Shehadeh – a Ramallah-based human-rights activist and lawyer – writes a gentle, hopeful book of what could and should be. His belief in “we will”—have a sovereign state, lasting peace, and mutual forgiveness – inspires, exemplifies, and leads.