Letter from Palestine

Letter from Palestine

Letter from Palestine

Letter from Palestine is a book of essays I wrote after a brief visit to Israel and occupied Palestine with Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace in 2002-2003.


Poet Mahmoud Darwish 1941-2008

Poet Mahmoud Darwish 1941-2008

Mahmoud Darwish

"Did you have to show your documents/
Your shyness Your refusal to hate

Your way of seeing a free woman's body/as a sign of a just world

Your remembering Your recalcitrance/Your affliction with the illness of hope

Your way of touching orphans with your eyes/the color of the Gaza dawn sea"

from "Night Journey," Suzanne Gardinier

Free Palestine

Footage from Gaza, Ramallah, Bethlehem, & Jenin, during 2002-2003 trip with Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. When I got back to New York, my eight-year-old daughter heard this song and said, "Isn't that kind of about those people in Palestine?" 

Mikado's Jerusalem, 2003
Israeli Jewish Activist Michel Warschawski ("Mikado")

Michel Warschawski ("Mikado") is an Israeli Jewish activist who lives in Jerusalem.  He founded the Alternative Information Center there. He served time in prison in 1987 for typesetting a booklet on how to withstand torture; he's the author of Toward an Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society, and On the Border.

Birzeit University, near Ramallah, 2002

A student at Birzeit University and Anthropology & Women's Studies faculty member Rema Hammami discuss student encounters with soldiers at Israeli Army checkpoints. 

Mustafa Barghouti, Ramallah, 2002

Mustafa Barghouti trained as a doctor in the Soviet Union & directs the Health, Development & Policy Institute. We spoke to him eight months after the Israeli Army shelled and vandalized the HDIP offices during the April 2002 inasions of the Palestinian cities.

Mustafa Barghouti, "This is a B'Tselem map, you know it?" Ramallah, 2002

In June 2002 Mustafa Barghouti co-founded the Palestinian National Initiative, with Haidar Abdel-Safi, Ibrahim Dakkak, & Edward Said. In January 2003 he was arrested for illegally entering the city where he was born, and his knee was broken by rifle butt blows in detention. 

Mustafa Barghouti, "Eighty people have lost their lives simply because they were not allowed to cross a checkpoint." Ramallah, 2002

In 2005 Mustafa Barghouti ran for president of the Palestinian Authority, and received 19.8% of the vote. He currently serves as general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative. 

Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, "This is the end of the dreams," Tel Aviv, 2003

Benjamin Ben Eliezer has served the Israeli government in many different capacities, after a career in the military. He was born in Basra. We met with him nine months after Operation Defensive Shield, including the destruction of the city & refugee camp of Jenin, which he called "the capital of terror." In March 2007 he was forced to cancel a trip to Egypt, after Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman warned him that he could be arrested for the killing of 250 Egyptian prisoners by the unit he commanded during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Tel Aviv, 2003

 “As Minister of Defense, every five minutes or ten minutes I see the fingers and the heads and the pieces of the bodies.  We are dealing with terrorists.  What do you expect us to do?”


 Ami Ayalon, "If You Ask the Americans..."  Tel Aviv, 2003

Ami Ayalon is a former member of the Israeli government, & former Naval Commando & head of the Shin Bet, Israel's secret service. He appears in the Dror Moreh movie "The Gatekeepers." 

Sari Nusseibeh & Ami Ayalon, Jerusalem & Tel Aviv, 2003

Sari Nusseibeh is a philosophy professor & president of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.  He was born in Damascus & educated at Oxford & Harvard. In 2002 he & Ami Ayalon made a civil peace initiative called The People's Voice. He's the author of a memoir called Once Upon A Country.

Sari Nusseibeh on refugees, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, 2003

"What I am proposing for the refugees is a future. I am not proposing a dream..." 

Ami Ayalon, "We hate each other in the present, we shall not agree." Tel Aviv, 2003

Sari Nusseibeh, "The army took over one of our buildings..." Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, 2003

New Year's Eve in Bethlehem, 2002

New Year's Eve celebration between US Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace & faculty from Bethlehem University, followed by spontaneous reimposition of curfew.

New Year's Eve in Bethlehem, 2002

Part 2, as taxi drivers tried to get our group from restaurant to hotel through Israeli Army gunfire into Bethlehem houses. 

Ghassan Andoni, International Solidarity Movement, Bethlehem. New Year's Day, 2003 

Manger Square, Bethlehem, January 1, 2003

Gaza, January 2003

In Gaza City, where we stayed and met with union organizers, and Beit Lahiya, where the Israeli Army had just demolished a house. 

 "One story from hundreds of stories," Gaza

A man in Beit Lahiya whose house the Israeli Army had just demolished, January 2003. 


Footage from occupied Palestine 2002-2003 as Mahmoud Darwish reads the last part of his dazzling long poem Jidariyya / Mural. 

Harlem Palestine.jpeg