Maneuvering Between the Headlines
Helen Schary Motro
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Buy *Maneuvering Between the Headlines: An American Lives through the Intifada* online

Maneuvering Between the Headlines: An American Lives through the Intifada
Helen Schary Motro
Other Press
200 pages
July 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Definition of intifada (courtesy of

n. : an uprising by Palestinian Arabs (in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) against Israel in the late 1980s and again in 2000; "the first intifada ended when Israel granted limited autonomy to the Palestine National Authority in 1993". After reading this book I would amend the definition to include hostilities in reverse as well. An American living in Tel Aviv, she documents in a personal way the struggle for a day to day peaceful existence between Israelis and Palestinians. This constant struggle, known as The Situation, "is our ugly second skin, a malady we have learned to live with, hoping somehow somebody will find a cure."

On September 1, 2000, a journalist filmed the shooting of a twelve-year-old boy cowering beside his father as they took cover against a wall in Gaza. Motro tells the story of Mohammed al-Durrah, citing the newspaper accounts of the shooting as his father Jamal, who suffered injuries from eight bullet wounds, recounts a different story to her. Jamal worked as a house painter for her several years before; she recalls his wife giving birth to a son shortly after her own daughter was born.

There is a saying that the political is always personal; it is never more so when one's child is killed. Headlines flash across the television screen or monitor relentlessly, one tragedy taking the place of another. Children's deaths since the intifada have become so commonplace that photographs of the victims are no longer included in the newspapers. Books like Motro's are more important that ever in this current sound-bite newsworld to tell a story with depth and dignity. The struggle for peace is complex and neverending in this region; one only grows to admire the courage of going on in the face of this. Courage on the part of both the Israelis and Palestinians.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Pamela Crossland, 2005

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