As we had no idea where to find the Wall, we chartered a taxi. This was not easy, as the driver was not at all sure what we were looking for, and we failed to explain a wall with our hands. Eventually, the mystery was solved, and off we went. After less than five minutes, an ugly, grey 8 metres high concrete construction rose on our left hand side. The taxi driver had understood - we had arrived. The Wall. Meandering through the landscape, the monstrous Israeli Wall snakes its way around houses and roads, and it is therefore possible to walk along it for long stretches. From atop hills, you can see how the wall doubles and twists, until it disappears in the distance. A new and highly controversial step in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the construction carries different names: the Israelis call it the Security Barrier, while the Palestinians label it the Apartheid Wall.
To protect itself against Palestinian suicide attacks, Israel started constructing the Israeli Wall around the Westbank in the early 21st century. Even though this decision has been labeled as illegal according to international law, construction still continues. Looking at the map, it is clear to see how Israel, in the process of wall building, confiscates land belonging to Palestinians: it does not respect the 1967 borders or Green Line and conveniently confiscates land by building the Wall inside Palestinian territory. In the process, it annexes illegal settlements on Palestinian territory; it has been calculated that no less than 46% of the West Bank territory is confiscated. Furthermore, it makes life for many Palestinians much more complicated. If you want a clear example of addressing the consequences, but not the cause, the Wall is your perfect example. It only makes the situation of the Palestinians more desperate, and by taking away their view, also takes away any solution that might be looming at the horizon.
Artists and desperate Palestinians have taken the opportunity to decorate the Israeli Wall, making it not only less ugly, but also interesting to walk along. Here, you can find slogans in many languages, graffiti, and pictures plastered on the wall. Some are obvious, some make you stop, wonder and ponder. And some make you outright sad. Sad for the situation of these people, for the injustice done, for the apparent absence of any possible solution to this conflict that has poisened the region. Building walls means blocking out contact, means giving up, means a quick but not a structural solution. Even though the wall may have its function as a carrier of art, one can only hope that it will disappear soon. If it ever does, the next problem would arise: what to do with the new constructions built right next to the wall on Palestinian territory?
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Israeli Wall (Palestinian Territories). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Israeli Wall. Read more about this site.