In what is sure to be a controversial book, Israeli reporter Amira Hass offers a rare portrait of the Palestinians in Gaza. Very few journalists have lived in that troubled region; Jewish ones are rarer still. "To most Israelis," Hass writes, "my move seemed outlandish, even crazy, for they believed I was surely putting my life at risk." But Israelis desperately need to understand the plight of the Palestinian people, she writes, and few of them read the unvarnished truth in the Jerusalem press. This has made most of them ignorant of what goes on right next door, and inspired unduly "harsh" attitudes toward Gaza and its one million residents. Hass even quotes the late Yitzhak Rabin, who wished that Gaza "would just sink into the sea," shortly before he signed the Oslo Accords. Wishing away the problem, however, is no solution, and Hass delivers a detailed--and highly opinionated--diagnosis of what's wrong with Israeli policy toward Gaza. Strong supporters of Israeli will say that Hass is nothing but a mouthpiece for the Palestinians. Indeed, this book's subtitle could apply as much to Israel, surrounded by bitter enemies, as it does to Gaza. Yet it would be wrong to ignore Hass: the scene in Gaza is woefully unreported. The book is not likely to change many minds--this is one of those subjects where passions run deep and fierce. Those who already sympathize with Hass's pro-Palestinian views will find Drinking the Sea at Gaza
an invigorating book. --John J. Miller
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"Not only has Amira Hass done the reporting that makes this book a moving and eloquent advocate of Palestinian humanity, but she is also a blunt and beautiful writer" (Amy Wilentz, Newsday) "Shatters stereotypes ... Hass reveals the surprising contradictions of Palestinian society."(Susie Linfield, Los Angeles Times) "Hass observes with something like despair, and writes with skill and passion." (Graham Usher, The Economist)