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Nancy Updike

Last Call in Gaza

GAZA STRIP — The Oslo Bar, named in honor of a failed Middle East peace plan, died in the Gaza Strip earlier this month. Maybe it seems like a waste of time, at best, to mourn the demise of a bar in Gaza, especially one that was open only to......

The Unexpected Movie

TEL AVIV — The movie, called Atash (Thirst), is the only one at the film festival in Palm Springs containing no sex, less than 50 lines of dialogue (all of it in Arabic), a confusing ending, and action sequences that consist of people tending to giant, smoldering piles of wood......

The Wild, Wild West Bank

Illustration by Brooks SalzwedelFor a supposed outlaw, squatting in one of the illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank, Aaron Rehberg leads a surprisingly conventional life. He pays rent every month on the three-room trailer he shares with his wife, Shayna, and their beautiful, moon-faced, 8-month-old daughter. He’s up to......

Observing a Non-Election

EAST JERUSALEM — It’s an ugly sight when a voting station is packed with more journalists, election observers and security personnel than voters. The first Palestinian presidential election in nine years took place on Sunday, and post offices here were doubling as voting booths. But outside the post office near......

Separate, Unequal — and Turned Away

Illustration by Brooks Salzwedel JERUSALEM — A Palestinian businessman I’ve known for more than a year — an educated man who likes to live by the rules — is standing and pointing at the mailboxes in front of his apartment building, just outside Jerusalem. "This one moved into Jerusalem, this......

'One Day a Palestinian Child . . . '

A woman in Ramallah handed me a book last year about Yasir Arafat that made me want to track down the author. The cover is red, with a picture of Arafat smiling, and the title: The Truth, the Whole Truth About Yasir Arafat, the Man Who’s Led Fatah and the......

Hitting the Wall

WEST BANK — Iyad Murar told this story only after being pressed. We sat in his living room in the village of Budrus, north of Ramallah, with a map on the wall showing the route of the separation barrier Israel is building. When he realized last fall that the barrier......

Freedom’s Rage

WEST BANK — There was a clown-car moment on a hill outside Hebron, in the West Bank, when the buses appeared on the road below: People were so excited, they first piled into their cars to drive down to meet the buses, then piled out again when they saw the......

Visit Palestine

Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, the British high commissioner for Palestine in 1935, wrote the forward to a tiny tourism booklet in which he proclaimed Palestine “the most interesting country in the world.” His assertion was backed up by vivid descriptions of life in Palestine, such as this one of orange-picking......

Cramming in Ramallah

Palestinians are in the unenviable position of needing to know a lot about places and people that they have considered enemies for years. Many refuse, choosing instead to embroider on whatever rumors, exaggerations and pet theories are circulating in the occupied territories. I once sat for half an hour listening......
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