Much of what my friends had to say boiled down to this: My Muslim and Christian Palestinian friends want justice, respect, and dignity. My Jewish Israeli friends want safety, security, and trust. All of them are incredibly family oriented. All of them are more hospitable than I am used to. All of them want to live in peace in Israel, the land they all consider their home.
Annette Peizer writes of her close friendships with both Palestinians and Israelis while living in Jerusalem during three of her six extended trips there. She vividly brings to life her experiences while living in Israel on a yearlong study program at 18, when the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973. During the summer of 1990 as a single woman in her mid-thirties, she listens to the differing perspectives of her Israeli and Palestinian friends and men she dated from both sides, as people prepared their bomb shelters for threatened attacks from Iraq. In 2009, now a mother and wife, she returns to find old friends and meet new friends while staying at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, the only official village in Israel where Palestinians and Israelis live together in peace.
Readers have the opportunity to listen in to detailed, personal and political conversations and experiences Annette had with her Palestinian and Israeli friends, cab drivers, soldiers, kibbutz members, boyfriends, holocaust survivors, Jerusalem merchants, and many more.
On a date with an Israeli man, she listens to his perspective of the village of Ein Karem in Jerusalem and later, on a date with a Palestinian man, she listens to his perspective of the same village. She describes being a guest in the home of her Palestinian friends in the Palestinian town of Tamra, and also describes being a guest in the home of her Israeli friends in West Jerusalem. She converses about politics and other cultural topics with her Palestinian cab driver while driving to a few areas inside the West Bank, as well as with Israeli friends while commuting between Jerusalem and the village of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam.
Annette has discovered that by simply listening and talking with an open heart and mind in relaxed environments with people thought of as "the other," one can transform years of stereotypes and fear into empathy, understanding, and friendship.
Annette Peizer received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine, and has published poetry and prose in local and national literary magazines and newspapers.
She has taught writing and humanities courses at colleges and universities, and currently leads creative writing workshops and tai chi/qigong classes in Seattle community centers and at Mary's Place, a nonprofit serving homeless families. Annette lives in Seattle with her Bulgarian/American husband, her daughter, her daughter's boyfriend, their Chihuahua-mix dog, and her own Aussie Shepherd mix dog.
This is her first book.