Reem assis says that many foods that are considered Middle Eastern or Israeli actually originated as Palestinian dishes. Her first cookbook, The Palestinian Table, chronicled the history of Palestinian food — along with some of her personal history. In her new book, The Arabesque Table, Kassis expands the focus to the cross-cultural culinary history of the Arab world.
The West Bank has yet to see a democracy movement on the level of those sparking dramatic changes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. It could have a huge effect on the region, were it to happen, says conflict resolution expert Robert Malley.
New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright spent three weeks in Gaza late last year. Wright discusses Israel's recent easing of the Gaza blockade -- and explains what it could mean for the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
"There is a madness in Gaza now." So says New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger, who joins Terry Gross to talk about the Palestinian power struggle that's erupted recently and how the battles between the Hamas and Fatah factions are affecting life in the West Bank and Gaza.
Erlanger has reported from all over the world, serving in Moscow, Bangkok, Prague and other cities. Prior to his tenure at the Times, he wrote for The Boston Globe.
Sari Nusseibeh is the president of and a professor of philosophy at al-Quds University, the only Arab university in Jerusalem. He's written a memoir, Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life; he's also co-author of the People's Voice Initiative, aimed at building grassroots support for a two-state solution in the Middle East. Until December 2002, he was the representative of the Palestinian National Authority in Jerusalem.
Journalist Matt Beynon Rees is now a crime novelist, too. The Collaborator of Bethlehem follows a Palestinian schoolteacher who turns detective to solve a murder set in the violence-ridden West Bank. Rees was based in Jerusalem as a Middle East reporter for Time magazine for more than a decade, serving as bureau chief from 2000 to 2006.
Former President Jimmy Carter addresses the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in his new book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. Carter has founded a conflict resolution organization and won a Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation work.
Sandy Tolan talks about his book The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East. The account grew out of a 1998 NPR documentary in which Tolan reported on a friendship between a Palestinian man and an Israeli woman that served as an example of the region's fragile history.
Two archaeologists test the historical accuracy of some of the Bible's oldest stories in a new book, David and Solomon. Neil Asher Silberman talks about the findings in the book he co-authored with Israel Finkelstein.
The recent Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections has left many wondering what repercussions the change will bring in the Middle East. Reporter Greg Myre is the Jerusalem correspondent for The New York Times.
James Bennet is the former Jerusalem Bureau chief for The New York Times. He recently returned to the Middle East to cover the death of Arafat and the jockeying for power among the Palestinian factions.
Raha Shehadeh is a Palestinian lawyer and writer whose latest book is Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine. (Steer Forth Press) He is a founder of the nonpartisan human rights organization Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, and author of several books about international law, human rights and the Middle East. Shehadeh lives in Ramallah. He was a guest on Fresh Air in February of this year and returns to talk about the latest news from the occupied territories.
After Maine Senator George Mitchell left office, he chaired the Northern Ireland peace talks. His book, Making Peace, is about his work on that negotiation. He recently headed an international panel examining the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab (“dah-ood koo-TAHB”) is the Director at the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. He was the managing editor of Al-Fajr English weekly. He is the recipient of the Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the PEN USA West Freedom to Write Award.
Palestinian peace negotiator Hanan Ashrawi (“hahn-NAHN hah-SHROW-ee”). She is a member of the advisory board for the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Bank Middle East and Africa Regions and the UN Research Institute for Social Development. Ashrawi is the author of several publications supporting an independent and self-governing Palestine.