The Wound of Dispossession
By Kathleen Christison
The Wound of Dispossession is the Palestinian story as told by Palestinians. Based on extensive interviews with more than 120 Palestinians throughout the United States, the book describes the Palestinians' experience of dispossession and exile, in their own words. Palestinians talk about what Zionism means to them, what living under Israeli occupation or as citizens in the state of Israel means to them, and what the peace process and reconciliation with Israel mean to them. They discuss living in America and reconciling their Palestinian and their American identities and loyalties. They make it clear that their story--and their struggle for a national homeland--constitute "a story with no end."
"The ten years since I completed this book in 1992 have seen momentous developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict but no improvement and in most ways significant deterioration in the Palestinian condition. The Oslo agreement signed in September 1993 brought Israeli recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization and international recognition of the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle. Palestinians are widely seen to have a reasonable national claim to part of Palestine and a right to establish an independent state. But, despite these developments, the lives of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem are measurably worse."
"In the past, people talked about Palestinians as if they were a monolithic entity represented by a man in a headdress who carried a gun. Others saw them only as Israel’s enemies, the unknown 'others' in the conflict. Christison is probably the first analyst who has bothered to talk directly to Palestinian men and women in order to hear their views. What emerges from these interviews with living human beings is an interesting picture of the diversity of opinion, the depth of feelingof a group of people who, in their exile, continue to pay a heavy price for merely being who they are."
Fouad Moughrabi, Director, Qattan Center for Educational Research & Development, Ramallah, Palestine
"Her intelligent and honest bookis a must for every American who wants to understand the roots of the calamity we now see unfolding in the Middle East." Libro Monthly
"distinct and original.fluent, well organized, catching the nuances and complexities of the Palestinians’ views. She covers all the crucial issues." Ann M. Lesch, author, Arab Politics in Palestine, 1917-1939
"a profoundly revealing work.Christison is a good reporter whose careful listening came up with a surprising variety of Palestinian insights.The Wound of Dispossession can help lead us out of a half-century of darkness and delusion about the realities of the Middle East. To remain ignorant of these realities is to invite almost certain future catastrophes."
About the Author
Kathleen Christison graduated from Duquesne University with a B.A. in English literature in 1964. She worked as a political analyst with the CIA for 16 years, dealing with the Middle East for eight years.
Since resigning from the CIA in 1979, she has been a freelance writer, dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She has published articles and book reviews in several Middle East journals, particularly the Journal of Palestine Studies. She contributed articles to two encyclopedias: The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East, published in 1997 by Macmillan, and the Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, forthcoming from Facts on File. In Spring 1987, she published an article on the Palestinian question in Foreign Policy magazine that was reprinted in a 1990 collection of a dozen of what Foreign Policy deemed its most provocative articles from the 1980s. In October 1988, the Christian Science Monitor ran her four-part series on Palestinian Americans, based on approximately fifty interviews conducted around the country.
Christison has written numerous book reviews for newspapers throughout the country and has been a member of the National Book Critics Circle since 1986.