Book Size: 6" x 9"

Pages: 256

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781623719159

Imprint: Olive Branch Press

Edition: 1

Illustrations: b&w illustrations

Release date: Fall 2020

Categories: , ,

I Found Myself in Palestine

Stories of Love and Renewal from around the Globe


$ 20

“An engrossing anthology that attempts to see past the pain and bloodshed into the soul of the Palestinian people… A diverse collection of authors with a shared connection to Palestine meditate on why their relationship to the land and its people endures.”
— Kirkus Reviews

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About this book

I Found Myself in Palestine: Stories of Love and Renewal from around the Globe is a collection of personal reflections on the experience of being a foreigner in Palestine.

Mirroring the reach of Palestine’s global community, contributors come from Bolivia, Chile, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, South Africa, and Sudan, as well as from the United States, and more. Spouses and parents, friends and lovers, activists, aid workers, expats and travelers—all are “ordinary people” who by choice or chance found themselves deeply involved with, and changed by, the land and people of Palestine. By turns raw, poignant, funny or sad, these “foreign reflections” on the search for belonging offer surprising glimpses into the kaleidoscope that is Palestine.

Contributors include: Pam Bailey, Mariam Barghouti, Thimna Bunte, Jonathan Cook, Helene Furani, Fatima Gabru, Neta Golan Kamal, Nadia Hasan, Donn Hutchison, Didi Kanaaneh, Andrew Karney, Maria Khoury, Corina Mamani, Cody O’Rourke, Carolyn Quffa, Rina Rosenberg, Marty Rosenbluth, Ann Saba, Samira Safadi, Zeena Salman, Steve Sosebee, Saul Jihad Takahashi, and Trees Zbidat-Kosterman.


About the author

Nora Lester Murad is a writer, educator, and activist. She co-authored Rest in My Shade: A Poem About Roots, and edited I Found Myself in Palestine: Stories of Love and Renewal From Around the Globe. From a Jewish American family, Nora moved from California to study in the Middle East. She married a Muslim Palestinian, and raised three daughters in the West Bank and in the US. She posts her writing at


“[O]ffers unique essays written by foreigners whose lives were enriched by their time in Palestine… All the diverse essays tell uplifting life stories of ordinary people who find hope, love, and solidarity in a setting under Occupation. Not only do they arrive from different places, these foreigners also find different routes of renewal for themselves and for others… Murad’s inspiring collection also provides a multilayered domestic vision of Palestine from the outsider on the inside.” — Al-Jadid: A Review and Record of Arab Culture and the Arts

“Such narratives that help bridge the gap between Palestinians and the world are necessary and of utmost importance. Understanding Palestine from Palestinians should constitute the first step. Yet it is equally important to share Palestine from a non-Palestinian perspective that respects the need to allow Palestinian voices to flourish, and which asserts identification as opposed to the theft of narratives. This collection of testimonies has accomplished its aim.” — Middle East Monitor

“The charm and poignancy of the book lies in understanding that whatever the impetus for travel, the writers contributing these reflections are sharing profound human experiences that indelibly shaped their lives… The pages are filled with introspective, touching, edifying, and funny stories. Written as if in dialogue with each other and the contributors, these pieces anchor the book’s insights and the significance of living as a ‘well-intentioned’ foreigner in a colonized land, reminding us that foreigners also shape the lives of Palestinians and the lived reality of Palestine in ways that can be inspiring but also deeply problematic… Underlying the stories are, of course, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the systemic racism and discrimination against Palestinian citizens that are embedded in Israeli society.” — Alison Glick, Mondoweiss

“An engrossing anthology that attempts to see past the pain and bloodshed into the soul of the Palestinian people… A diverse collection of authors with a shared connection to Palestine meditate on why their relationship to the land and its people endures. Whether in Gaza, Ramallah, or any other city or territory in Palestine, the writers Murad brings together in this often moving compendium of culture and history are viewed by the Palestinian people living there as ‘ajnabi’_’an alien’ or ‘a person not belonging to a particular place or group.’ For some, their invitation to Palestine and its people came via marriage; others arrived in pursuit of a need to become a positive force in the world. What each found in this tortured part of the Middle East is a magnetic dichotomy of openness and tradition, a place where transplants from seemingly anywhere may become woven into the fabric of local life, even if they are never fully assimilated. Above all, it may be Palestine’s deep and abiding wellspring of familial love and interconnectedness that holds each contributor fast. As Carolyn Agner Quffa, who arrived in Ramallah in 1985 with her Palestinian husband, writes, ‘one dominant trait that I hold in high esteem is the value placed on family. Children, in particular, are cherished as a pure joy. Children are a family endeavor, and everyone helps and takes an interest.’ While seemingly averse to dwelling too much on the dark realities of Israeli occupation for fear that such an approach might define the Palestinian identity being celebrated, those realities cannot be ignored. Some of the other topics include ‘Learning to Pray,’ ‘A Very High Tolerance for Frustration,’ ‘The Clothes They Wear,’ and ‘Trying To Be a Good Dad in a Complicated Neighborhood.'”
— Kirkus Reviews


“Mabrouk to Nora Lester Murad and all the contributors to this courageous volume — I Found Myself in Palestine pushes our understandings of solidarity as inextricably linked to radical love, and sheds light on the many incommensurabilities, like the opposite banks of a river, that may mark the limits of our raced/classed/gendered relationships in struggle and across colonial borders — yet can never hold the vastness of our love and continual quest for justice in Palestine and beyond.” — Devin G. Atallah, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Racial/Cultural Focus, Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts Boston



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