Suarez, Thomas. PALESTINE: SIXTY YEARS LATER. 2010. Americans for Middle East Understanding. New York, USA.

“Palestine today is a wasteland of powerful nations´ hypocrisy…Palestine is also a land of people determined to hold on to their humanity, a people who refuse to be erased or pummelled into the role of victimhood.”

Palestine by Thomas Suarez: A Book Review by Theresa Wolfwood

Subtitled: Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, photographs & observations.

Suarez has taken powerful and revealing photos he accompanies them with a well-written, factual and authoritative text. Suarez observes and records with a sensitive eye and a keen empathy for the lives of Palestinians. If Azoulay´s book, From Palestine to Israel, is a record of the cataclysmic formation of the state of Israel, Suarez´s book is the record of everything that has happened since and is still happening. His focus is on people, people daily to live a normal life under a brutal occupation.

The invasion and continuing blockading of Gaza is an international crime against humanity. Suarez has captured the horror of life in what some call an “outdoor concentration camp”.

Jerusalem was an internationally divided city, a holy place to many. Now it is a city under siege as the Israeli destroy homes, build more walls and homes for Israelis, and drive Palestinians out – the ultimate goal.

In the West Bank, the story is of daily erosion of land and property, of occupation and threats, a continuous life of the fear of death, injury, dispossession and imprisonment. The Wall is the wound that divides many families and communities, the Israeli–only highways, always under construction, scrape the landscape to provide access to the ever growing Israeli colonies on Palestinian lands.

Suarez writes about the role of his own country, the USA, in supporting Israel and its occupations and attacks. He has presented a vivid record, easy for anyone to understand, with photos and text of people and their struggles that makes clear the injustice of this occupation and the complicity of powerful governments in supporting it (including Canada).

In his closing essay, “Palestine at the Precipice”, the author poses the questions: What would be a just solution? And how can the complicit nations be persuaded to cooperate?

He answers the first question by stating that “the means to a just resolution, negotiated in accordance with international law, have been available for six decades. That is not the problem.”

In answer to the second question Suarez says, “Israel is a Western client-state, a European colony, a neo–colonial foothold in the Middle East.” He calls on us – citizens of those complicit states to use boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against “the expropriation and subjugation of a people denied the ability to defend themselves or to negotiate as equals. Refusing to patronize Israeli interests, whether commercial, cultural, or academic, will isolate the regime… This book is one person´s glimpse of Palestine at the precipice, offered in the conviction that people can act against injustice and prevail– but for Palestine, we must act together, in solidarity, and now.”

Filed under Book Reviews, Thomas Suarez