Set in Bethlehem in the early 2000s, Matt
Beynon Rees's first novel depicts a city under siege by the
Israelis and torn from within by gun-wielding gangs that extort
money from businesses and control local politics. Set against
the backdrop of real events and inspired by real people, the
story hinges on Omar Yussef, a 56-year old Palestinian teacher
from a well respected but not particularly wealthy or
influential clan. Yussef is an honorable man who questions the
way society is deteriorating around him and maintains his
intelligence and decency even when others around him descend
Yussef used to teach history at an international school but now teaches at the U.N. girls school in the squalid Dheisheh refugee camp. Long ago, he dreamed of leaving a legacy behind him in the form of the young minds...
Welsh-born Journalist and author
Matt Beynon Rees has covered the Middle East for over a
decade from his home in Jerusalem, following six years as a
financial journalist in New York. The Collaborator of
Bethlehem is his first novel following Cain's Field:
Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East (2004).
Rees arrived in Jerusalem at a time of relative peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and was therefore able to focus his reporting on the internal conflicts within the two societies. He points out that, "Dissatisfaction with the way their society is run is very much how ordinary Palestinians feel. They don't always express it to foreign correspondents, because they're eager to vent their frustrations about Israel and the journalists are usually keener to hear that (because their ...
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