They lived in East Jerusalem, which is the Arab quarter. The disparity between the east and west sides of the city are illustrated in Delisle's clear, cartoony style. He has a quirky way of drawing himself in profile, with both eyes on one side, Picasso-like. The artwork is mostly black and white, with one other soft hue, except for occasional effective splashes of a brighter colour. Images from Jerusalem can be seen in this brief clip on YouTube.
|single panel from Jerusalem|
About 10 years ago, Canadian author Deborah Ellis interviewed a number of Israeli and Palestinian children, then published their voices in Three Wishes. One of the questions she asked was if the Israelis knew any Palestinians and vice versa. The answer was no in almost all cases. Delisle asked a young graphic artist in the West Bank if he had ever met any Israelis. "I met one once in Jericho. A real nice guy. I remember I asked him if he'd ever been to Ramallah. He said, 'Yeah, I've been to Ramallah... in a tank.'"
The original French language edition was awarded the prestigious Angouleme award. Drawn and Quarterly published the English translation in April 2012. The situation in Israel and Palestine is such a complicated tangle that I welcome the opportunity to read observations from outsiders like Delisle. Jerusalem is an absorbing travelogue and memoir.
Readalikes: Joe Sacco's masterpieces of comics journalism: Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza; How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden; and also Delisle's earlier travelogues, Pyongyang, Shenzhen and Burmese Chronicles.