Hubert Haddad’s ‘Palestine’

Alas Tunisian born Hubert Abraham Haddad’s poignant novel ‘Palestine’ is not readily available in an English translation.

Haddad is a Jew living and writing in France. His literary accomplishments are long and varied as truly he is gifted.

‘Palestine’ has won two prizes: ‘Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie [2008] and ‘Prix renaudot’ [2009].

Haddad dwells on the violence and repression of the Israeli occupation in Hebron as seen through the eyes of an Israeli soldier taken prisoner by a Palestinian terrorist cell. ‘Palestine’ is one and at the same time, not only a young woman who tends to his wounds but also the embodiment of the suffering and humiliation of 44 years of Israeli occupation.
Cham who becomes Nessim physically resembles Palestine’s brother; he is the mirror image of the cancer of oppression that the Zionist state and settlers are visiting in the occupied West Bank, specifically here in Hebron, the site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, commonly revered by Jew and Muslim alike.
As Nessim, Cham is psychologically transformed as he witnesses the mindless and deliberate effects of Israel’s policy to drive Palestinians off their land and destroy, unsuccessfully, their soul. Empathy takes hold of his heart and soul towards Palestine as he submits to the daily routine of occupation.
The story’s denouement is explosive as it conveys the state of Israel’s lawlessness and absence of humanity.
If anything Haddad’s ‘Palestine’ is a testament to Palestinians who are not an invented people.
Guamdiary thinks that were Haddad’s novel rendered in English, it would take a courageous publish willing to lose money in the current, mad climate of US politics and utterly intellectually and morally ignorant culture. Yet, we feel that is worth the try!
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