I am a university professor living and working in California. I have taught all over the Middle East, and in the summer of 2013, I enrolled in an Arabic language program at Birzeit University in Palestine. On the weekends I visited various locations throughout the West Bank, and I participated in demonstrations at the villages of Nabi Saleh and Bil’in. I was shocked by the injustice and suffering that I witnessed, and I vowed to return to Palestine one day to learn more.
It did not take me long. The following summer I spent seven weeks in Nablus and Hebron volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement, an organization dedicated to standing in the solidarity with the Palestinians. I arrived in June, shortly after three teenaged settlers were kidnapped, and I witnessed the orgy of collective punishment that the Israeli authorities doled out to the Palestinian population. After the bodies of the teens were recovered, the army took its revenge by launching Operation Protective Edge, an all-out assault on the population of Gaza. As my colleagues and I monitored the abuses visited upon the residents of the West Bank by the army and extremist settlers, we watched, horrified, as the Gaza Strip was decimated, and over 2000 Palestinians lost their lives.
In the summer of 2015 I spent a month living in the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, located in Beirut, which is the site of the massacre of 1982, in which thousands of people were murdered. I saw firsthand the horrible living conditions of the residents of the camp, which have worsened further since the influx of refugees fleeing the atrocities in neighboring Syria.
I write about the Middle East, in particular regarding the plight of the Palestinian people.
I am currently working on a book, The Other Side of the Wall: An Eyewitness Account of the Occupation in Palestine, which is about my experiences in Palestine in the summer of 2014.