From Publishers Weekly
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. (Dec.)
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"Isabel Kershner turns a complicated issue into a gripping story without sacrificing the nuances or the complexities. Barrier is an elegantly written and eloquent page turner."
-- Bob Simon, 60 Minutes Correspondent
"Isabel Kershner has provided a distinctly human perspective on the Israeli security barrier. She weaves a compelling story, wonderfully written and told largely through the eyes of individual Israelis and Palestinians. But this is more than only the story of the barrier and how it is seen; it is also an explanation of the conflict and the pain it continues to impose on both sides. The Israeli quest for security and acceptance and the Palestinian yearning for dignity and freedom emerge unmistakably in this very moving book."
-- Dennis Ross, chief Middle East peace negotiator for Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, author of The Missing Peace
"Nothing expresses the folly of the two peoples as this thing does. When viewed close-up, the barrier turns into a tall hideous curtain, still ugly even if made from cement rather than iron, swallowing cities and hopes. As with most walls in history, fear may have created the impulse to build it; but greed and other human faults determine its path. Isabel Kershner's book is not about the concrete and wire fences; it is about those who created them, the bombers as well as the mighty occupiers; but most importantly, it is about those victimized by its unwelcome and destructive presence. We hear their voices and feel their pain. More than that, Kershner's storytelling digs deeper into the strategic implications, making her book useful to experts as well as all concerned with the Middle East"
-- Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah
"Barrier is superb. Extraordinarily balanced and perceptive, it is a sympathetic but unflinchingly honest portrayal of two peoples irreversibly entangled in their own historic tragedies. Veteran journalist Isabel Kershner portrays their conflict from the bottom up--through the eyes and voices of Palestinians and Israelis on both sides of the barrier. If you can only read one book about this conflict, this is it: It is brilliant and unique."
-- Samuel Lewis, U.S. Ambassador to Israel under Presidents Carter and Reagan, and former President, United States Institute of Peace
"Kershner carefully and humanely shows how the wall built by Ariel Sharon's government has not only exposed divisions but also created them--physically, politically and psychologically."--Washington Post Book World