Reading for the Day

From Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine (Vermont: Steerforth Press, 2002), by Raja Shehadeh

Ideology and bulldozers are the bane of this land. The first inspires and the second implements and makes possible in a day what used to take a score of men a month to accomplish. It had not been possible for Palestinians to build on these remote, intractable hills. They simply lacked the means to level the ground. Possession of a bulldozer by Palestinians required special permission from the military authorities and substantial material resources. Only the Israeli side had the means to turn a hill into a plain. Not that Palestinians necessarily had a more developed aesthetic sense or stronger ecological concerns. They simply lacked the means to restructure the land as the Israeli settlers were able to. They had to follow its contours, build along the lines of the hills. Their villages and their gardens were in harmony with the land, organic outgrowths that pleased the eye. But now architects prepared designs in remote offices and heavy machinery was brought to execute them. Hills were removed if they stood in the way. They had their tops flattened; they were gouged and sliced to produce new leveling totally out of proportion with the gentle curves of the surrounding hills. All the land was at the mercy of the huge mouth of this ravenous machine.

Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian lawyer and writer who lives in Ramallah. He is a founder of the pioneering, nonpartisan human rights organization Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, and the author of several books about international law, human rights, and the Middle East.

Grant Notice

Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowships


The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Schoalrs awards approximately 20-25 residential fellowships annually to individuals with outstanding project proposals in a broad range of the social sciences and humanities on national and/or international issues. Topics and scholarship should relate to key public policy challenges or provide the historical and/or cultural framework to illumine policy issues of contemporary importance.

Eligible Applicants

1)Citizens or permanent residents from any country (foreign nationals must be able to hold a valid passport and obtain a J1 Visa); 2)Men and women with outstanding capabilities and experience from a wide variety of backgrounds (including government, the corporate world, professions, as well as academia); 3)Academic candidates holding a Ph.D. (Ph.D. must be received by the application deadline of October 2); 4)Academic candidates demonstrating scholarly achievement by publications beyond their doctoral dissertations; 5)Practitioners or policymakers with an equivalent level of professional achievement; 6)English proficiency as the Center is designed to encourage the exchange of ideas among its fellows.

Ineligibility 1)Applicants working on a degree (even if the degree is to be awarded prior to the proposed fellowship year); 2)Proposals of a partisan or advocacy nature; 3)Primary research in the natural sciences; 4)Projects that create musical composition or dance; 5)Projects in the visual arts; 6)Projects that are the rewriting of doctoral dissertations; 7)The editing of texts, papers, or documents; 8)The preparation of textbooks, anthologies, translations, and memoirs.

Notes on Eligibility

You do not need an institutional affiliation to apply. For most academic candidates, a book or monograph is required. Scholars and practitioners who previously held research awards or fellowships at the Wilson Center are not precluded from applying for a fellowship. However, the Fellowships Committee of the Board of Trustees may consider how recently the prior work was conducted and the nature of the work.

For more information, please contact:

Lucy Jilka
Phone 202-691-4213 application contact

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