Hlehel Receives Permission to Attend Beirut39

In what Haaretz calls an “unprecedented ruling,” Israeli Arab author Ala Hlehel will be allowed to visit Beirut for the Beirut39 festival (celebrating 39 Arab writers under 40).

Israeli citizens are generally forbidden to visit Lebanon, as the country is on a list of enemy states. But a panel of judges has now decided that this particular trip to see the enemy is not a threat. Hlehel’s case had been taken up by Adalah, “the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel.”

Hlehel now awaits permission from the Lebanese side.

This comes a week after the Associated Press reported that Hlehel and Palestinian Adania Shibli would not be allowed to travel to Beirut. So I assume Shibli’s status hasn’t changed, and that she will accept her award in London?

If you’re in London on April 15, go see Shibli; perhaps she’ll receive her award. Before that, you can read a few of Hlehel’s stories online, and order a copy of Shibli’s beautiful, sensory new novella, Touch. Shibli is, after all, “the most talked-about author on the West Bank,” according to Ahdaf Souief.

And this is my favorite headline about the ruling:  Israel top court allows country’s Arab author to travel to Lebanon to pick up literary award

Yep, he’s the country’s Arab author. Is that an official position?