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Witness in Palestine: A Jewish Woman in the Occupied Territories Paperback – January 20, 2008

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Captivating text and artistic photography…a deeply personal story that will inspire you not only to have hope but to actively seek and work for peace and justice."

"Moving and vivid.”

"Even those who are familiar with the grim reality of the occupied territories will quickly be drawn into a world they had barely imagined by these vivid, searingly honest, intensely acute portrayals.”

About the Author

Anna Baltzer is a graduate of Columbia University, Fulbright scholar, and three-time volunteer with the International Women s Peace Service in the West Bank, where she documents human rights abuses and supports the nonviolent resistance movement to the occupation.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (January 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594513074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594513077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Richard G. Newton on November 24, 2007
Though I consider myself a Zionist, even having been to Israel, I had no idea how badly the Palestinians were being treated by the Israelis. Anna's eye witness account describes conditions that I have read in no other publication. The Wall, which I applauded as a necessary security device, seems to be used as an Israeli land grab in addition to being a means of harassing the Palestinians. I believe that she's doing us a service with her lectures and her writings. I recommend it.
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Baern on October 25, 2007
I just recently attended a lecture by Anna Baltzer on this same issue, and I was absolutely shocked. The information she presented was so alien to what I usually expected (I knew life for the Palestinians was hard, but I really didn't know what that meant). Do not expect a sweeping documentary of the whole situation and conflict - this is HER perspective based on HER experiences. Yes, there are Palestinians who blow themselves up in an attempt to kill Jewish Israelis. But this book isn't about those people - this book is about the hundreds of thousands of regular Palestinian people, people like you and me, who just want to live their lives like anybody else, but are unable.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Concerned American on February 19, 2008
This book was an eye-opener for me. Like most Americans, I had heard all about Palestinian violence but had no idea how extensive and organized the Palestinian non-violent civil rights movement is. Also, though I had done enough reading to realize that Israel has been unnecessarily brutal to the Palestinians, I was not fully aware of the systematic and daily nature of the violence, extending into every facet of life in occupied Palestine. The ability of so many Palestinians to remain non-violent in the face of the arbitrary and capricious brutality Ms Baltzer has witnessed is remarkable and inspiring.

Ms Baltzer's lucid writing and eye witness perspective shows life under the occupation through a lens that is clear and sharp. She herself is in the middle of the events she chronicles and when she relies on secondary sources, most are people she interviews herself, often within minutes or hours of the events being described. The result is a book that is raw and powerful.

The book is organized chronologically into chapters of a few pages each, describing one day or one event, and illustrated with photos of actual participants on all sides in so much as is possible. Thus it is easy to dip in and out of the book if you please or even to start at the back and read forwards. VERY IMPORTANT: read the appendices! In just 20 pages of appendices, Baltzer packs more useful information about big-picture issues than many entire books on this subject and she articulates issues clearly and cogently (we are dealing with an exceptionally gifted writer here). I found Appendix IV: Myths & Frequently Asked Questions and Appendix V: Quotations from Prominent Figures to be particularly eye opening.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Seath on March 29, 2010
Anna Baltzer was a Jewish American woman who never fully understood what was going on in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of course, that was until she decided to visit the West Bank and Israel for several months so that she could see the situation for herself. During these months, she visited with many Palestinian families, mostly farmers, who took her in and talked about the situation or life in general.

The best part of the book is that it gives a real sense of who the Palestinians really are by providing individual stories of the people who live there. In reality, the vast majority of Palestinians are humble people with big hearts. They have an overwhelming culture of hospitality. In fact, she gives many examples of people who are very poor that give her plenty of food and shelter throughout her journey while feverishly denying any form of compensation in return.

The book is set up like a diary or journal with a recollection of the events that occurred on any particular day during her travels. I read the hardcover edition which included many phenomenal pictures of her experiences. During her time there, she is a human rights activist and attends several peaceful demonstrations. I will warn you that this book is an emotionally difficult read. I found myself holding back tears at many of the vivid scenes in some of the personal stories.

This is a great book if you really want to know what the Palestinians are going through. As a Palestinian-American college student, I never really knew what was going on over there. I came to the U.S. at the age of six so I'm pretty much American. My grandparents never talked about the subject much because it's probably too painful for them to talk about.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By dddd on February 25, 2008
This is the best book I can think of and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning what it's like to live under occupation. It's definitely a must read especially for Americans whose tax money is supporting "Israel" unconditionally, so whether they like it or not they are directly involved in this conflict and hence ought to understand it. Also, Israelis should really read this because there is so much they don't know about Palestinians, and so much mistrust and hatred created by the governments that makes justice and peace look impossible or even threatening. Finally, as a Palestinian I think all Palestinians should read this so as to reflect on things and situations in our daily lives that we've started considering normal but need to be reminded that they are not, and to realize that there are some amazing international and Israeli activists out there who dared to take a stands against the brutal occupation. These grassroot bridges of trust and understanding between our peoples are really the only path for a just and lasting peace. Let us start this understanding now by reading Anna Baltzer's honest and genuine work "Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman In The Occupied Territories".
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