Strangers in the House by Raja Shehadeh
Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine

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This "is not a political book," Anthony Lewis writes in his foreword. "Yet in a hundred different ways it is political.... Shehadeh shatters the stereotype many Americans have of Palestinians. Hath not a Palestinian senses, affections, passions?" This revealing memoir of a father-son relationship, the first o its kind by a Palestinian living in the occupied territories, is set against the backdrop of Middle East hostilities and more than thirty years of life under military occupation.

Three years after his family was driven from the coastal city of Jaffa in 1948, Raja Shehadeh was born in the provincial town of Ramallah, in the rural hills of the West Bank. His early childhood was marked by his family's sense of loss and impermanence, vividly evoked by the glittering lights "on the other side of the hill."

Growing up "in the shadow of home," he was introduced early to political conflict. He witnessed the numerous arrests of his father, Aziz Shehadeh, who, in 1967, was the first Palestinian to advocate a peaceful, two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He predicted that if peace were not acheived, what remained of the Palestinian homeland would be taken away, bit by bit, through Israeli settlement. Ostracized by his fellow Arabs and disillusioned by the failure of either side to recognize his prophetic vision, Aziz retreated from politics. He was murdered in 1985.

Strangers in the House
 offers a moving description of the daily lives of those who have chosen to remain on their land. It is also the family drama of a difficult relationship between an idealistic son and his politically active father complicated by the arbitrary humiliation of the "occupier's law."

About Raja Shehadeh

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Raja Shehadeh is the author of the highly praised When the Bulbul Stopped Singing and Strangers in the House. A Palestinian lawyer and writer who lives in Ramallah, he is a founder of the pioneering human rights organisation, Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, and the author of several books about international law, human rights and the Middle East.
Published August 21, 2012 by Steerforth. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A former political activist in the occupied territories looks back on his youthful struggle to come to terms with his father, as well as with an idealized Palestinian past and an unrealized Palestinian future.

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The New York Times

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In 1948, with Zionist forces closing in on victory, Aziz Shehadeh, a prominent young Palestinian lawyer, hurriedly left his home in Jaffa on the Mediterranean coast and retreated with his family -- temporarily, he assumed -- to a summer house in the West Bank hills of Ramallah, 40 miles away.

Dec 30 2001 | Read Full Review of Strangers in the House: Comin...

The Guardian

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Burdened with memory, the latest Palestinian memoirs argue for the existence of a people before 1948, while demonstrating that forcible expulsion and exile have created a Palestinian experience, significantly different from the Arab world at large.

Oct 26 2002 | Read Full Review of Strangers in the House: Comin...

Publishers Weekly

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Shehadeh names his father, Aziz, also a prominent attorney, as the first Palestinian in the late 1960s to advocate recognizing Israel and adopting a peaceful two-state solution.

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