We live at a moment in time when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, now more than a century old, continues to be of overwhelming international political and societal importance. From its inception, that conflict has also, of course, had powerful and deeply troubling consequences for Israelis and Palestinians themselves. The story at its most basic level is one that involves two peoples struggling for national recognition and expression in a small but richly significant piece of land. The tragedy of this history, as both the Israeli novelist, Amos Oz, and the Palestinian scholar, Sari Nusseibeh, have each pointed out, stems from a conflict between the rights of two peoples with equal and legitimate aspirations to nationhood and self-expression in a single small territory to which they can both lay claim.
In 2008 two best friends found themselves trapped in one of the most dangerous places on earth – the only western journalists in the Gaza Strip on what was supposed to be a 24-hour assignment. The War Around Us captures the collision of veteran war correspondent and one of TIME’s most 100 influential people, Ayman Mohyeldin, with rookie reporter Sherine Tadros. As missiles shower the city and unspeakable atrocities emerge, the pair is torn by fierce professional rivalry, private terror and grim humor – with no way out and the whole world watching.