Posted on April 25, 2008, by & filed under News, UK Specific.

Palestinian lawyer Raja Shehadeh has combined art and politics, his love of walking with his political activism and human rights, to produce a lyrical account of the changed and still changing West Bank countryside, and its effects on the lives of the Palestinian population, since Ariel Sharon declared in 1980 that he would “alter the map” of the West Bank. The book, published last year, has been awarded the Orwell Prize, the UK’s top prize for political writing.

<brIn an interview on Radio 4's Today programme, he talks eloquently of the original beauty of the West Bank countryside, destroyed so much now by the huge hilltop settlement blocs and by the network of settler-only roads. He describes the region as "delicate" and unable to absorb the mass settlement of 500,000 Israeli citizens. He says it is a huge loss to the international community, to the local population, and ultimately to Israel.

For further reading on the ecology of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, download Cornerstone newsletter number 45 by Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian NGO.