A Crazy Occupation: Eyewitness to the Intifada by Jamie Tarabay

By Jamie Tarabay

The unforgettable studies of a tender Australian journalist published in Israel to file at the clash within the occupied territories are documented during this compelling memoir. Unafraid, or even simply stunningly naïve, Jamie Tarabay, an Arabic-speaking Australian of Lebanese descent, dove headfirst into the thick of heart japanese politics. From the nice optimism following the Camp David summit in 2000 to the beginning of the intifada in 2001, Jamie used to be within the thick of it—Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, suicide bombers, hard-line Jewish settlers, Palestinians residing less than curfew, and the coming of the recent millennium after a Christmas in Bethlehem. This interesting, distinctive, and hugely illuminating memoir chronicles a transitional interval within the center East and lines the author's reports as she redefines her experience of nationality, morality, background, and faith.

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We watched for a while, hoping to get a quote or two from him about what it was like to film in the Old City, whether he was worried he might cop some criticism for dressing as an Hassidic Jew, but he was never available. In between takes the make-up people would rush up to him and dab at the sweat on his face and neck or he would rehearse lines and action sequences with other actors. He was darting to and fro, a bundle of energy. After an hour of waiting and nothing more than a severely sunburnt nose for my troubles, we left.

I could hear shooting in the background as he spoke. In my head I was thinking of the Nablus from my assignment at Mas’ha village only a week earlier and trying hard to imagine what I would now find. I tensed up as I listened to Mohammed, his voice calm despite the obvious danger. ‘I am here, at the clashes,’ he said. ’ He sounded remarkably nonchalant considering where he was, but by then I’d noticed that most Palestinians seemed to be relaxed around gunfire. Maybe it comes from the tradition that some have of firing shots in the air during weddings.

We met Abed at a junction at the entrance to Nablus. Lefteris walked around to the back of the car and opened the boot, lifting out the white vest and handing it to me. It’s heavy, I thought as I tried to carry it with one hand. It weighed about twelve kilograms. Lefteris already had a grey one and he had made me wear it on previous occasions, when we went to the Tomb for example. It used to annoy me because he needed it more than I did—I wasn’t in among the gunmen during the clashes, he was. I now also felt bad that I had a jacket as none had arrived for Mohammed or Nasser Ishtayeh.

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