Reading the Middle East by N.S. Morris

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ISRAEL IS NOT QUITE the size of New Jersey. The occupied West Bank is slightly smaller than Delaware. And the Gaza Strip is a bit more than twice the size of Washington, DC. Yet this region occupies an outsized place in the world’s imagination, and the appetite for books about it seems insatiable, with several new titles appearing in English every few months…

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Lighting the Dark Corners

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SPREADING THROUGH American living rooms last winter, as live broadcasts streamed from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, was an overdue recognition that Arabs and others in the Middle East were not so different after all, not inhibited by their culture and religion, for instance, from wanting modern political and economic systems. A young, university educated woman articulated in eloquent English her plans for reform…

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The uneasy path to a personal peace

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Back in 1979, the New York Times unwittingly broke the taboo against American Jews serving as Middle East correspondents, when it appointed David Shipler its Jerusalem bureau chief. Shipler isn’t Jewish – but many readers assumed he was. He was followed by Thomas Friedman, who does happen to be Jewish, just as many subsequent Jerusalem-based correspondents for American and Canadian newspapers have been – including myself…

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El Condor Pasa

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One of earth’s most ancient and magnificent creatures is dreadfully ugly to human eyes, at least when it is not spreading its enormous wings in flight. Today, the California condor is barely holding its own in the face of extinction, aided by a highly controversial program undertaken by the same upstart species that has been responsible for its near demise…

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DEATH AS A WAY OF LIFE: Israel Ten years after Oslo

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When the latest Palestinian uprising erupted nearly three years ago, Americans–let alone Israelis–reacted with shock. For seven years there had been a peace process, however halting and grudging. How had we gone from the inspiring 1993 handshake on the White House lawn between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to suicide bombers on Israel’s streets and soldiers shooting children?

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