by S. Yizhar (Yizhar Smilansky)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback, 145 pages
One of the nagging questions underlying the Palestinian Question is: What exactly happened in 1948 when the Zionists took control of the land that was to become Israel? Was it ethnic cleansing – as Smilansky (a Jew and longtime member of the Knesset) himself puts it, “the original sin of the State of Israel” – or was it something else? This elegant small novel tells the story of a young Israeli soldier under orders to clear out and destroy the Palestinian village of Khirbet Khizeh. Written in 1949, this book combines its stature as an historical document with haunting and lyrical prose to provide an alternative view of the nature and sources of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.