Edited by Mateo Hoke and Cate Malek

For more than six decades, Israel and Palestine have been the global focal point of intractable conflict, one that has led to one of the world’s most widely reported yet least understood human rights crises. In their own words, men and women from West Bank and Gaza describe how their lives have been shaped by the conflict. Here are stories that humanize the oft-ignored violations of human rights that occur daily in the occupied Palestinian territories.


EBTIHAJ, whose son, born during the first intifada, was killed by Israeli soldiers during a night raid almost twenty years later.

NADER, a professional marathon runner from the Gaza Strip who is determined to pursue his dream of competing international races in the face of countless challenges, including severe travel restrictions and few resources to help him train.

AMIAD, the head of security for Eli Settlement, which covers eight hilltops in the central West Bank. He talks about the Jewish identity and the conflict from a settler perspective and his conflicted feelings about the settlement project and relationships with Palestinians.

IBTISAM, the director of a children’s center in the West Bank whose work is significantly constrained by mobility obstacles in the region.

KIFAH, who was jailed for years with no charges. She believes she was imprisoned for her work as a community leader and outreach to prisoners before her arrest.


Mateo Hoke studied journalism at the University of Colorado-Boulder and The University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Cate Malek is a freelance writer and teacher in Bethlehem. She previously worked as a reporter, receiving multiple Colorado Press Association awards.


 “Palestine Speaks demonstrates that nothing is more eloquent than the voices of those who endure and try valiantly to survive. Nothing is more important for us than to listen to them carefully, to grasp their suffering, to learn from their testimonies about them and about ourselves, and to use this understanding to bring their tragedy to an end.”

—Noam Chomsky, author and professor at MIT

A stunning, essential, and heartbreaking book that puts a profoundly human face on the suffering of the Palestinian people. This should be required reading for anyone with an interest in the Middle East, which is to say: everyone.

George Saunders, author of The Tenth of December and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient

“The voices of these ordinary individuals, so similar to those Palestinians I encounter regularly in the territories, speak here with unsettling eloquence. They are heartrending stories.”

David Shulman for The New York Review of Books
Read the full review here