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THE YELLOW WIND by David Grossman; translated from the Hebrew by Haim Watzman (Delta: $8.95)

June 11, 1989|ELENA BRUNET

On the 20th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the subsequent Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Israeli writer David Grossman was commissioned by the Hebrew weekly Koteret Rashit to write a series of articles about the Palestinians from the occupied territories. "The Yellow Wind" comprises these 17 pieces of journalism and one short story.

Grossman, a fluent speaker of the Arabic language, spent a month visiting refugee camps, divided Arab villages, Jewish settlements such as Gush Emunim, Israeli military courts that try alleged Palestinian terrorists and kindergartens (where Palestinian boys "shoot" at him with imaginary guns).

"I stand and listen and try to be neutral," Grossman writes. "To understand. Not to judge."

Raj'a Shehade, a Palestinian lawyer, explains why it is that Palestinians endure what appear to be nearly intolerable circumstances. He chooses neither combat nor surrender but simply to remain where he lives, "to see how my home becomes my prison, which I do not want to leave, because the jailer will then not allow me to return."

Ruth Broyde-Sharon, writing in these pages, called "The Yellow Wind" "the most honest, soul-searching book yet written by an Israeli--or, for that matter, by a Palestinian--on an agony that none of them alone can bring to an end."

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