Khirbet Khizeh, By S Yizhar

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The Independent Culture

Written by an Israeli soldier on a sortie to forcibly expel the Palestinian villagers of Khirbet Khizeh during the 1948 war, this mesmerising and prophetic testimony is just as potent today against the backdrop of continuing conflict.

"My guts cried out... Khirbet Khizeh is not ours", screams his inner voice, acknowledging a collective "self-betrayal" in his actions that fellow soldiers refuse to face ("Our nation's protest to the world: exile!... What, in fact, had we perpetrated here today?"). He fears Palestinian "exile" will haunt Israel in years to come, as it does.

The account unfolds with a magnificent, biblical simplicity, and none of its terrible beauty is lost in this shimmering translation by Nicholas De Lange and Yaacob Dweck.