Sunday, 31 January 2016

Betlehem, West Banksy - will this wall ever fall?

Betlehem, West Bank. Unless you're a hardcore Christian travelling in the footsteps of Jesus, this town doesn't really offer much.

Located next to Jerusalem it does offer a chance to explore one of the most tangible symbols of the Middle Eastern conflict: the wall.




Betlehem is home to Checkpoint 300, the busiest crossing point in and out of the West Bank. Palestinians need a permit to cross the border. There are several types: work permits will allow you to use the checkpoint on weekdays until certain time, some will grant you the permission to attend the Friday prayer in Jerusalem. 

For Israelis and the internationals the border's open 24/7.




The wall separates Israel from the West Bank and its structure varies from one place to another. In some places it's merely chicken wire, in others, such as here, a concrete wall several metres high. 

The wall in itself is not illegal or questionable - any sovereign country is allowed to build a wall around its borders. What makes this problematic though is the way it fails to follow the armistice line of 1949. It extends to the Palestinian territory, at times effectively cutting off Palestinians' access to their own land.




The wall has become the symbol of the politics and occupation practiced by the state of Israel. It's known by several names, apartheid wall being one of them. Back when I was working in Hebron, I had a conversation about it with a black South African colleague, who herself had witnessed the apartheid era.

The situation in Palestine is often compared to that of South Africa of those dark times. Her view, however, was much bleaker. Slowly she shook her head and disbelief. "No. This is worse. Much worse."




The wall is not just the symbol of the occupation, it's also the symbol of Palestinian resistance.

It's become a massive guest book where people all over the world leave their messages of despair and hope. 






Some of the individuals are instantly recognizable. Yes, Banksy was here, too.






* Blasting off my iPod right now: John Farnham: You're the voice*

___________________


ANYONE FOR SECONDS?


      


SHARING IS CARING!

2 comments :

  1. What a post this is one! The wall is not just the symbol of the occupation, it's also the symbol of Palestinian resistance.It's become a massive guest book where people all over the world leave their messages of despair and hope.How To Travel Around The World

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    1. thank you for the comment! It really is a powerful symbol of so many things.

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