International Book Festival - Ian Black, Region in Crisis

Ian Black, former Middle East correspondent and editor for The Guardian, discussed his new book, Enemies and Neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017 with Raja Shehadeh

International Book Festival - Ian Black, Region in Crisis

Ian Black is indisputably an expert on the issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and his immense knowledge and deep understanding of the topic made for an informative and interesting discussion. With a large volume of literature already existing on the subject, Black explained his decision to write yet another book about it; he wanted to tell the entire history of the conflict so far from both sides in as fair and balanced a way as possible.

Raja Shehadeh, an Israel-born Palestinian lawyer and writer, chaired the event, and frequently contributed his own profound insight to the discussion. The questions he asked focused mainly on Black’s opinion on certain key events, such as the recent passing of the Nation State Law, and were specific enough to allow for detailed answers. He jumped slightly randomly between decades, which - for someone who isn’t an expert on the conflict - made the discussion feel a little disjointed, but Black’s eloquent explanations ensured that no one was lost.

The questions asked by audience members were answered equally well by Black. He certainly maintained an excellent balance when considering the atrocities committed and suffered by each side, and his musings on any potential solutions for the conflict were fascinating. Many members of the audience continued discussing the issue as they left, and I’m sure many of them, like me, wanted to find out more.


The Edinburgh International Book Festival takes place until August 27th. For information and to see events, see the EdBookFest website.

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Sam Nead

Sam Nead Contributor

I am a 22 year old student who loves reading, writing and all things theatre-related. I am studying Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at Birmingham University and I'm trying to write a novel, but not doing very well at it!

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