Shehadeh, Raja 1951-
SHEHADEH, Raja 1951-
PERSONAL: Born July 6, 1951, in Ramallah, Israel; son of Aziz (an attorney) and Wedad Shehadeh; married Penny Johnson (a writer), 1988. Education: B.A., 1973. Religion: Christian.
ADDRESSES: Home and office—P.O. Box 74, Ramallah, Israel.
CAREER: Called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn, England, 1976; attorney in private practice in Ramallah, West Bank, Israel, 1980—. Bethlehem University, part-time instructor in law, 1978-80; International Commission of Jurists, founder and codirector of the West Bank affiliate Al-Haq/Law in the Service of Man, 1979-90; World Council of Churches, member of human rights advisory group, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs; Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, member of international advisory council; legal adviser to the Palestinian delegation to peace talks with Israel. American Friends Service Committee, lecturer in the United States, 1985; Harvard Law School, visiting fellow in Human Rights Program, 1988.
AWARDS, HONORS: Issam Sartawi Award from International Center for Peace in the Middle East, 1984, for The Third Way; Rothko Cahpel Award for commitment to truth and freedom, 1986; award from Jewish Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, 1988.
(With Jonathan Kuttab) The West Bank and the Rule of Law, International Commission of Jurists (Geneva, Switzerland), 1980.
(With Jonathan Kuttab) Civilian Administration in the Occupied West Bank, Law in the Service of Man (Ramallah, West Bank), 1982.
Occupier's Law: Israel and the West Bank, 1985, Institute for Palestine Studies (Washington, DC), 2nd edition, 1989.
The Sealed Room, Quartet Books (New York, NY), 1993.
The Law of the Land: Settlements and Land Issues under Israeli Military Occupation, Palestinian Academic Society for Study of International Affairs (Jerusalem, Israel), 1993.
The Declaration of Principles and the Legal System in the West Bank, Palestinian Academic Society for Study of International Affairs (Jerusalem, Israel), 1994.
From Occupation to Interim Accords: Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Kluwer Law International (Boston, MA), 1997.
Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine, Steerforth Press (South Royalton, VT), 2002.
Also author of government pamphlet Israeli Proposed Road Plan for the West Bank: A Question for the International Court of Justice, 1984. Contributor to periodicals, including Life, Harper's, Middle East International, Journal of Palestinian Studies, and Journal of Peace Negotiations.
SIDELIGHTS: Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian who was born in Israel shortly after his family fled Jaffa to escape Israeli aggression. Although he had never lived there, he was reared with a strong sense of Jaffa as home; his family never lost their sense of exile. Shehadeh's father, Aziz, was an attorney and a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause. He was also one of the first to espouse a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Raja followed his father into law, but their collaborative work for peace and human rights ended when Aziz was murdered in 1985. Shehadeh relates his father's story and his own in Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine. New York Times Book Review critic Ethan Bronner noted that the Shehadehs' story is "a heroic one, a rare tale of principle, conviction and kindness operating in harsh circumstances. But it is also an exceptionally sad one. Their efforts had minimal impact—the Israeli military walked all over them, ransacking their offices, threatening their workers and repeatedly delaying their court dates. Meanwhile, the Palestinians ignored and condemned them."
Strangers in the House is a "fascinating memoir," one that "offers a chilling a moving view of life inside the Occupied Territories," claimed a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Shehadeh relates the routine humiliation and harassment Palestinians suffer at the hands of the Israeli government, including random searches, constant surveillance, and detentions at checkpoint. Noting that the Palestinian perspective is frequently overlooked in the West, the reviewer concluded, "Anyone seeking a nuanced view of Palestinian experience should read this brave and lyrical book." Naomi Hafter, a contributor to Library Journal, also praised Shehadeh's portrait of Palestinian life, noting especially his "strong voice that is without diatribe, melodrama, or anger."
Shehadeh once told CA: "I have always agreed with Yeats that writing is the social act of a solitary being. In my solitary journey, I travel through the events of my day as a Palestinian living under Israeli occupation. In literary terms, the terrain I traverse is uncharted. In my writing, I try to transform it into a shared experience."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2001, John Green, review of Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine, p. 546.
Hartford Courant, February 17, 2002, Steve Courtney, review of Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine.
Journal of Palestine Studies, spring, 1998, John Quigley, review of From Occupation to Interim Accords: Israel and the Palestinian Territories, p. 106.
Library Journal, January, 2002, Naomi Hafter, review of Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine, p. 116.
Middle East Journal, spring, 1998, review of From Occupation to Interim Accords: Israel and the Palestinian Territories, p. 308.
New York Times Book Review, December 30, 2001, Ethan Bronner, review of Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine, p. 18.
Publishers Weekly, December 24, 2001, review of Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine, p. 55.
Times (London, England), August 22, 1992, p. 33.*