Speaker reveals the other side of ‘the Wall’

Abbey Stirgwolt

Anna Baltzer speaks about her time in Isreal and the injustices she witnessed against Palestinians. The event was sponsored by the Portage Community Peace Coalition. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

The plight of Palestinians is unrecognized by much of American and Israeli civilization, said Anna Baltzer, International Women’s Peace Service representative.

Baltzer’s presentation, “Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness Stories and Photos,” featured a series of photos and stories about her time in Palestine and her experiences with Palestinians and was sponsored by the Portage Community Peace Coalition.

Palestinians are forced to sit in their homes, watching through their windows as strangers erect a 25-foot concrete wall in their backyards, Baltzer said. Injured Palestinians often die during ambulance transport because of security checkpoints on roads – if the ambulances reach them at all.

Palestinians appear on the front pages of newspapers when they strap bombs to themselves to protest the invasion of their land, she said.

“This is not a war about religion,” she said. “This is a war about land, about water, about resources.”

Baltzer, a Jewish-American, said she chose to devote herself to understanding the Palestinian cause when she stayed with various Palestinian families during the time she spent living in Turkey and in the West Bank.

In her travels with the International Women’s Peace Service, Baltzer said she was able to experience the “other side of the story” – the story of the Palestinians.

Baltzer discussed numerous daily tribulations Palestinians face because of “security” measures issued by the Israelis.

“In what way is this contributing to the safety of the Israeli population, let alone the entire Palestinian population?” Baltzer asked after displaying a series of slides depicting razor wire-laden cement road barriers that blocked passage of civilian Palestinian travelers. “How much is this about security, and how much is about control?”

Baltzer also addressed “the Wall” – Israel’s current project to physically separate the territories of the two countries. She added that many Israelis aren’t aware of the violent conditions on the Palestinian side of the wall, most of which the Israeli government has established.

Baltzer’s presentation closed with an illustration of the Palestinians’ attempts at nonviolent resistance. She told the story of a Palestinian family she stayed with, whose front yard became the site of “the Wall” and whose backyard was fenced off from the surrounding village, yet they refused to move out.

“They said, ‘You’ve taken our land, you’ve taken our freedom, but you will not take our home,'” she said. “This is nonviolent resistance.”

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].