War Drums

The Palestine Nexus

Ask anyone with a modicum of knowledge what must be done to achieve peace in the Middle East, and the answer eventually echoes: Someone has to solve the Palestine problem. Of course, there are as many (often mutually exclusive) solutions to the problem as there are experts, but it's an axiom of the region that there will be no peace anywhere until there is peace between Israelis and Palestinians. For that to happen, Americans might begin by learning more about the facts on the ground than is made available by the mainstream media, which takes its cues from U.S. foreign policy. This Thursday and Friday night, Nov. 15-16, the Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights is hosting journalist/activist Alison Weir, founder of If Americans Knew, hoping to help provide "what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine." A visit to IFK's home page provides a useful statistical snapshot of the profound imbalance between the effects of the current situation on Palestinians and Israelis. Weir is accompanied by legendary Austin documentary photographer Alan Pogue, author of Witness for Justice, discussing his visits to the region and his photographs.

The Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights event provides an occasion to recall an event we unfortunately missed – the recent appearance by Austin-based writer Anna Baltzer with her book, Witness in Pales­tine: Journal of a Jewish American Woman in the Occu­pied Territories. Baltzer recounts her experience as a volunteer with the Interna­tion­al Women's Peace Service, "a narration of the 8 months that I spent working with IWPS, spanning the past 5 years [documenting] both the situation on the ground as I observed it and my personal emotional and intellectual journey piecing together my own understanding of the conflict." Baltzer's book is an extraordinary personal record of daily life for Palestin­ians under occupation, vividly describing "one woman's experience living and working in the West Bank." An extensive overview of Baltzer's work is available on her website, www.annainthemiddleeast.com. As she writes in her book, "I do not expect – or even wish for – readers to blindly accept my assertions about Israel and the Occupation; I certainly did not believe such claims when I first encountered them. My hope is that readers will react individually to my stories and begin to develop their own understanding of the situation."

Nov. 15-16. Thursday, 7pm: UT campus, ETC 2.108. Friday, 7pm: St. Ignatius, Martyr, Catholic Church, 126 W. Oltorf.


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