Al-Naqba (The Catastrophe)
A Novel About the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
By Barbara Goldscheider
(Frog Books, Paperback, 9781583941270, 272pp.)
Publication Date: September 23, 2005
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Based on events, organizations, and locations that Barbara Goldscheider experienced while working on army bases throughout Israel, Al-Naqba, The Catastrophe follows the parallel stories of an elite Palestinian Arab and an officer of the Israeli Defense Forces. Asa Ibrahimi’s infatuation with the daughter of a desert sheikh is brutally ended when he’s arrested and beaten in the Russian Compound, two of his brothers are killed by Israeli soldiers, and his parents’ home in Ramallah is demolished. Israeli Colonel Neyri Ben-Ner attempts to begin a new life far from the instability of his country by going to Harvard and marrying an American woman. But a return to Israel brings him back to the horror of suicide bombings and mass murders. Both face a personal and political transformation with ramifications beyond their own lives. This epic novel blends drama, suspense, and romance, in the process tallying the tragedies to both parties in this seemingly unstoppable conflict.
Barbara Goldscheider is an Israeli-American who lived in Jerusalem for twelve years and served in Sar-El (a volunteer branch of the Israeli Defense Forces) on army bases in the Golan Heighs, Haifa, and Ashkelon. In 2001, Goldscheider supervised dozens of volunteers assisting the relief efforts at Ground Zero. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Rhode Island and now lives in Bangor, Maine.
"Barbara Goldscheider’s fine first novel gets you inside the minds of both Jewish and Palestinian individuals whose lives are inescapably caught up in the Middle East conflict. This is a story of tender and passionate love, of home, and of deep tragedy. At the same time, the author, through her characters, views the current conflict from both sides and presents thoughtful dialogues on its origin, why it has continued for so long, and what must be done if it is to be resolved."
—G. William Farthing, author of The Psychology of Consciousness