Page 126 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
ery” (
TYW
, p. 140). Apparently, this painting represents an in­
terior reduplication7 of Abu Khatem’s frame of mind; it reflects
his cold, idyllic neutrality and his disengagement from the battle
with the Israelis. He will be neither a collaborator nor a com­
batant; he will be a Swiss mountain.
Gidi admires Abu Khatem’s stance and feels “a strange surge
of compassion for this stern-faced ascetic man sitting silently
opposite him, a sort of pleasant burning sensation in the depths
of his lungs as if something of the Swiss mountain air from
the great wall picture had made its way into them”
(TYW,
p.
141). The story ends as Gidi ponders in sorrow the moral lesson
he has learned from his day in the village. He has learned the
simple tru th “that when two apples touch one another at a single
point of decay, the mold spreads over both of them”
(TYW,
p. 144).
Just as the painting had leapt out of its frame into the “real
life” situation of Gidi and Abu Khatem, so, too, does the story
“Swiss Mountain View” leap onto the pages of journalistic re­
portage of
The Yellow Wind.
The story is strategically placed to
introduce two crucial non-fiction chapters of Grossman’s books,
one dealing with a prominent Palestinian lawyer-writer, Raj’a
Shehade, the other with the father of an Arab terrorist.
SAINT OR ANTI-SEMITE?
On the surface, Shehade seems to possess the nobility of Abu
Khatem. The author of a book called
The Third Way,
Shehade
explains his stance thus: “Of the two ways open to me as a
Palestinian — to surrender to the occupation and collaborate
with it, or to take up arms against it, two possibilities which
mean, to my mind, losing one’s humanity — I choose the third
way. To remain here”
(TYW,
p. 146).8 Shehade’s stance seems
heroic in the extreme. In its refusal to make a tragic choice,
7. The best introduction to the literary technique o f interior reduplication
is Bruce Morrisette’s “Un Heritage d’Andre Gide: la duplication interieure.”
Comparative Literature Studies
8(1971): 125-42.
8. It is perhaps instructive that two editions o f this book have been published
by an Israeli house: Raja Shehadeh.
The Third Way.
Jerusalem: Adam Pub­
lishers, 1982; reprinted as
Samed: Journal o f a West Bank Palestinian.
New
York: Adama Books, 1984.