Emma Williams, a doctor and mother of four, arrived in Jerusalem in 2000, shortly before the second intifada began, and stayed for three years while her husband was posted there with the UN. In this unusual mixture of memoir and journalism, her experience, recorded with painstaking honesty, will be welcomed by anyone who wants to understand the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
At first, it is a frustrating read, with a meandering structure, but an order gradually emerges as the book takes the reader on a journey that reflects Williams's own comprehension of the complex situation through countless stories, people and perspectives.
Through the cacophony of voices, certain undeniable realities emerge: stones against tanks, helicopters and F-16s; the settlements; the wall. These realities destroy Palestinians' lives, eat up their land, separate them from their families, olive groves and water supplies. Through them, Israel divides, controls and humiliates a people and its culture, prompting an Israeli journalist to worry about his society: "We're in a terrible place, morally, emotionally." In the midst of denial and the language of force, Williams's own voice seeks truth, moderation and dialogue.