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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important little book on Palestine, 4 Jun 2009
By 
Christian Jongeneel (Rotterdam, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Khirbet Khizeh (Paperback)
Khirbet Khizeh was first published in 1949, during the aftermath of the Israeli war of independence. In this short novel S. Yizhar, himself an officer during the war, describes the expulsion of Arabs from their village. It is a haunting story, full of coarse language and biblical references, that caused a hefty debate in its home country.

The story is about a small platoon of soldiers, ordered to collect the villagers of Khirbet Khizeh, a small agricultural settlement. All of them have difficulties coping with the situation. One soldier hopes the villagers wil put up a fight, so he will be justified to shoot at them. Another thinks it is plainly wrong what he is doing, but nevertheless carries on as he is ordered. Yizhar, as any good novellist, refrains from judgements, but pushes the facts into the reader's face so he may judge himself. Only in the final chapter, when his protagonist sums up his arguments, does he (unfortunately) leave this stance.

Khirbet Khizeh was not published in English before. It should be read for its political message, by anybody interested in the Middle East, as well as for its beautiful language, sparse but effective characterisation of soldiers and villagers alike, and superb sketches of the hot and dusty landscapes of Palestine.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, powerful, and still profoundly relevant sixty years on, 26 Aug 2011
By 
Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Khirbet Khizeh (Paperback)
This little novella, first published in Hebrew in 1949, was instrumental in bringing home to Israelis for the first time the true horror, and the human cost, of the destruction of Palestinian villages cleansed of their inhabitants to make way for the `new Zion'. From the perspective of young, bored, fearful solders, it tells the story of the clearance of the village of Khirbet Khizeh. As they first strafe the village with machine-gun fire, then clear and blow up every house in the village, it's a shocking illustration of the banality that can so easily accompany evil.

This fresh and lively new translation by Nicholas de Lange and Yaakob Dweck manages to suggest something of the power of Yizhar Similansky's prose. But Israeli peace activist David Shulman's powerful afterword illustrates in more depth the forceful impact the many biblical allusions would have had on those originally reading in Hebrew; it also describes, via the present-day `realities on the ground', how a tragedy very similar to that of Khirbet Khizeh's continues to play out in the daily lives of Palestinians sixty years on. Stark and powerful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Khirbet Khizek by S Yizhar, 29 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Khirbet Khizeh (Paperback)
a brave book considering when it was written. Really refreshing to read a thoughtful and insightful account of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Very personal and relective.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, 22 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Khirbet Khizeh (Kindle Edition)
I'm inspired to hope for something better by the understanding and realism of the author. The power in his words is a bonus.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good but uncomfortable reading!, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Khirbet Khizeh (Paperback)
basically this is an account of a soliders path thru arab lands as they clear out the arabs and feeling more than a little queasy about it, as you would!

thoughtful and well written it describes how ordinary people, press ganged into service for the colony were asked to do some pretty nasty things to innocent people..

an example: "first of all, we still have to check all the arabs assembled below and identify any suspect youths. second, when the trucks come we'll load them all on and leave the village empty. third, we have to finish the burning and the demolition. after that we can go home"

also recommend "the ethnic cleansing of palestine" on a similar theme..
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Khirbet Khizeh
Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar (Paperback - 3 Feb 2011)
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