In August 2000 Emma Williams arrived with her three small children in Jerusalem to join her husband and to work as a doctor. A month later, the second Palestinian intifada erupted. For the next three years, she was to witness an astonishing series of events in which hundreds of thousands of lives, including her own, were turned upside down. Williams lived on the very border of East and West Jerusalem, working with Palestinians in Ramallah during the day and spending evenings with Israelis in Tel Aviv. Weaving personal stories and conversations with friends and colleagues into the long and fraught political background, Williams' powerful memoir brings to life the realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She vividly recalls giving birth to her fourth child during the siege of Bethlehem and her horror when a suicide bomber blew his own head into the schoolyard where her children played each day. Understanding in her judgment, yet unsparing in her honesty, Williams exposes the humanity, as well as the hypocrisy at the heart of both sides' experiences. Anyone wanting to understand this intractable and complex dispute will find this unique account a refreshing and an illuminating read.
Emma Williams studied history at Oxford and medicine at London University. She has worked as a doctor in Britain, Pakistan, Afghanistan, New York, South Africa and Jerusalem. She wrote for several newspapers and magazines about Palestinian-Israeli affairs and was a correspondent for the Spectator from 2000-2003.   She now lives in New York.


Les Rosenblatt, Arena, August 07
"...a sustained masterpiece of the contemporary genre. It deserves to be read very widely, and almost certainly will be once it becomes more accessible in paperback and is translated, as it surely must be, into Middle-Eastern and European languages. Nothing I have read during the last decade about the Israel-Palestine conflict in journalistic reportage, political analyses, histories, personal stories, or novels comes close to its brilliance in exposing the accumulating human debris of this monstrous 'situation'. Williams' writing in this memoir displays the tenacity of Anna Funder, the intrepidity of a Ryszard Kapuscinski, the politically gendered sensitivity of Nadine Gordimer, the reconciliatory instincts of Desmond Tutu, and the literary competence of Joyce Carol Oates. It's a joy to read."

Brian Urquhart, New York Review of Books, September 21, 2006

“…brilliant memoir…she succeeds like few others in her ability to view the situation through the eyes of Jew and Arab…  Drawing our sympathy now to one, now to the other, she envies those with a ‘one-eyed view’, undisturbed by the layers of complication…  Her eye for detail conveys the situation more painfully than statistics… What she has produced is a human document; sensitive, compassionate and superbly written.  The exemplary notes, maps and glossary… help to make this memoir more illuminating and instructive than many a pundit’s tome.”

Theo Richmond, The Spectator, July 22, 2006

“Short of a crash course in Nablus or a Gaza refugee camp, I recommend Emma Williams’s expatriate memoir of Jerusalem in the second intifada as an initial exposure to the dispiriting reality behind the propaganda, theirs and ours… 
Israelis and Palestinians are like angry twins joined at the hip. [This book] is an engrossing exploration of what that means.”  

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“This book must be one of the most honest accounts of those terrible years. It's proportionate, subtle and comprehensive… biased towards nobody but the voices of moderation and hope.” 
Eric Silver, The Jewish Chronicle, November 3, 2006

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