Sondheim in the West Bank

I’m in between drafts of a novel, so I thought I’d look for something to clear my head. Inspired by a BBC broadcast last week in honor of the 80th birthday of Broadway lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim, I’ve been working on a musical version of my Palestinian crime novels. (Only in the shower, so […]

Tragic friends on a search for peace

JERUSALEM—If you asked about a moment that encapsulates the tragedy of the Israelis and Palestinians, there’d be no shortage of incidents, fatal and wrathful, from which to choose. This week, however, I’d point out an occasion that was less shocking but just as poignant. In a banquet hall of the King David Hotel, an Israeli […]

How to avoid writer’s block

Writer’s block has nothing to do with writing. That might seem obvious. When a writer wants to write, but can’t get anything out, he’s blocked. Not writing. Blocked. But it isn’t the writing that causes the block. Neither is it some psychological problem or an inability to conjure up the Muse of inspiration. It’s because […]

Hamas rebuilds in West Bank

Hamas is steadily rebuilding its power in the West Bank, stockpiling weapons and material underground, biding its time for a renewal of the conflict with its Fatah rivals. Palestinian security officials have been telling me this for some time, and they are frankly filled with fear and foreboding. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mentioned it again […]

Scribe and Scholar enter world of Hamas

A New York Times correspondent teams up with a Belfast professor to write the story of Islamism among the Palestinians. JERUSALEM — Stephen Farrell was sipping coffee in the office of his money changer on Salah ud-Din Street, East Jerusalem’s main commercial strip, four years ago, when Beverley Milton-Edwards entered. From his rucksack, Farrell produced […]

The war Israelis and Palestinians plan

I posted this on Global Post. JERUSALEM — There’s an old Arab aphorism: “A man with a plan takes action; a man with two plans gets confused.” Apply that to the Israelis and to the Palestinians, and the nonsensical sequence of recent events in the Middle East starts to fall into a comprehensible pattern. It’s […]