15 April 2011 9 Comments

Taking Refuge

Some people are always expecting or hoping for a war. They’re even working towards that end. When you live in the Middle East, you come to such a realization eventually. Most people are like me, however. The wars sneak up on them. They notice the signs, then they bury them because they think they’re being […]

23 July 2010 1 Comment

Israeli settlements: frozen, still cooking

JERUSALEM — Palestinian negotiators said again this week they’d refuse to re-enter direct peace talks with Israel unless the current partial freeze on construction in Israeli settlements is extended when its term runs out in September. But as a report released this week by the Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem reveals, a real settlement freeze would […]

6 June 2010 3 Comments

How to avoid writer’s block

Writer’s block has nothing to do with writing. That might seem obvious. When a writer wants to write, but can’t get anything out, he’s blocked. Not writing. Blocked. But it isn’t the writing that causes the block. Neither is it some psychological problem or an inability to conjure up the Muse of inspiration. It’s because […]

27 May 2010 4 Comments

How to create empathy as a writer

Malcolm Muggeridge (an old English literateur) once said that George Orwell “was no good as a novelist, because he didn’t have the interest in character.” Well, I didn’t need to tell you who George Orwell was, so you may doubt the judgment of the largely forgotten Muggeridge. But I think he was very close to […]

9 May 2010 0 Comments

Hamas rebuilds in West Bank

Hamas is steadily rebuilding its power in the West Bank, stockpiling weapons and material underground, biding its time for a renewal of the conflict with its Fatah rivals. Palestinian security officials have been telling me this for some time, and they are frankly filled with fear and foreboding. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mentioned it again […]

3 March 2010 0 Comments

Coffee cultures of Israelis, Palestinians…and Hawaiians

I have a lot of good reasons for staying in the Middle East as long as I have. While the main thing keeping me here 14 years and counting may truly be inertia, I also enjoy being an outsider, researching my Palestinian crime novels on site, visiting the Palestinian towns whose atmosphere of violence, decay […]

9 February 2010 1 Comment

NY Times Jerusalem ethical dilemma

The Jerusalem Post has an article examining the emerging controversy surrounding New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner. His son is about to enter the Israeli army and a Times editor wrote a piece suggesting that this made it impossible for Bronner to continue in his post.