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PHOTO: Israel proudly displays separation fence to arriving tourists

The very first thing visitors to Israel see when they walk through Ben-Gurion International Airport’s arrivals hall is an illuminated, panoramic landscape photo showing an area where the West Bank meets Israel. Right smack dab in the middle of it is none other than Israel’s separation barrier. (The road can be seen in the center, with two barbed-wire outer fences on either side and a lighter weight fence in the middle.)

Photo of Israeli landscape with separation wall in middle, at Ben-Gurion Airport (Photo: Hagit Ofran)

It is as if Israel is proudly saying to its visitors: Welcome to the land of milk and honey, segregation and oppression. As if the wall/fence/barrier has become such an integral part of the landscape that whoever installed this lovely photo montage didn’t even notice.

Or maybe they forgot to photoshop it out and it’s a major oversight (that somebody made a real f–k up)?

Either way, this is mind-boggling – and it certainly takes Israeli hasbara (state PR) to a whole new level. Could it be Israel has reached a point where it is so sure of its own policies that parading around a photo of the ugly separation barrier is totally normal? Considering the way it has been parading around new settlement construction during peace talks, I wouldn’t be surprised.

(I put in a call to the Israel Airport Authority for comment, and still have not been able to get through to anyone.)

The photo was uploaded to Facebook Monday morning by Hagit Ofran, settlement director of Peace Now, and published here with her permission.

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    1. sh

      Maybe most Israelis and their visitors are not offended by the wall at all?

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Correct. Once it is explained that the security barrier was built to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from blowing up Israeli civilians on buses and restaurants most people are surprisingly supportive of its construction. Strange how that works.

        Reply to Comment
        • sh

          Immensely strange taking into account its porosity, so well documented in Haggai Matar’s report on it in +972 and picturesquely photographed and circulated lately all over social media http://972mag.com/nstt_feeditem/photo-palestinians-climbing-separation-wall-to-pray-in-jerusalem/

          Ah right. Those are not suicide bombers, they’re just trying to earn their daily bread or get to Jerusalem during Ramadan. The suicide bombers all go through the checkpoints.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            I have noticed recently that I can walk into the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem on Fridays without having to go through metal detectors. The security there is indeed quite porous until the intelligence warnings come in that force the authorities to seal the gaps with security guards. The same applies to the security barrier. When needed the holes can be plugged with patrols which makes it much harder to infiltrate. The security barrier worked. That much has been admitted to by even the Palestinian terror groups.

            Reply to Comment
          • Oh yes, the Wall worked, and at the time I didn’t think it would. But it is porous, yet there have been no bombings. To say that security would know of all such cases and closes when needed is tautological. Something else is happening out there, something beyond both the Israeli and PA security apparatuses. It has become more difficult, internally, for bomber groups to mobilize themselves into action. And that is a piece of the puzzle too. But as this requires on to think of autonomous Palestinian action not supporting bombing, we tend to not go there. Which is a pity, for ultimately such is necessary to make bombing rare.

            Reply to Comment
          • Well, if the bombings were performed by false flag groups, that is to say, groups ultimately controlled by the Shin Bet, then they could be turned on and off like a tap. It’s a logical possibility, if you’re feeling cold-blooded enough to contemplate it. False flag terrorist attacks are well attested in some places, e g Italy during the ‘strategy of tension’ period of the 1970s.

            Reply to Comment
          • rsgengland

            You sound like a conspiracy theorist with your comments.
            I assume you also believe the US and Israel were responsible for 9-11.
            Nearly a thousand Israelis were killed by suicide maniac bombers,and thousands were injured in the second intafada.
            The security fence/barrier went up; and now it is safe in Israel again.

            Reply to Comment
    2. well, since visits to the “Good Fence” were de rigeur years ago, this is not weird. what is weird is your segregation determination. after all, when your wished-for Pal. state arises (if ever), that wall/fence will be higher and wider and the Pals. aren’t going anywhere so why is it segregation?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ed

        If the wall was on the green line and did not prevent anyone from accessing their property, and if it was controlled equally by both Israelis and Palestinians who also had equal ability to cross it, and if there was no casual racism and violence inflicted on people at checkpoints, then it would be absolutely fine … apart from being very ugly.

        Reply to Comment
        • Haifawi

          Just for accuracy, the wall doesn’t necessarily need to be ‘controlled equally by the Israelis and Palestinians.’ However, if the wall will function as an object of military necessity according to the laws governing belligerent occupation, then it MUST NOT consider settlements when deciding its route.

          Reply to Comment
    3. David T.

      If the wall is on the green line the international court has no problem with it. But about 80% runs through the occupied State of Palestine. This part has to be dismantled and the owner of the confiscated land compensated.

      The settlements of course have to be dismantled since Security Council resolution 465 (1980) which also demands “in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem;”

      Reply to Comment
      • Vadim

        The 1948 armistice lines are not sacred. They are just armistice lines. Intended to serve only until replaced by permanent peace treaties.

        The separation fence is just a fence wuth barbed wire (90%). Nothing to get excited about. It became big mostly in places where Arab snipers bravely fought for their freedom against Jewish babies.

        What occupied State of Palestine?! Why invent stuff? The place was part of Jordan. Jordan no longer claims this land and it is now disputed.

        Reply to Comment
        • Palestinian

          It was never part of Jordan and there was no Jordan in 1948,just like there was no Lebanon.Today Lebanon is inhabited dominantly by Lebanese not Polish and Russian thieves and butchers.

          Reply to Comment
          • Vadim

            Dude, the very name “West Bank” is Jordanian.

            You do realize that your comment is probably the most racist peace of crap I’ve seen in some time?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            “Dude” the West Bank became part of Jordan not Palestine.This is the first time I hear of “racist peace” unless you mean piece 🙂 and Israel is THE swamp of racism.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Ah c’mon. Jewish racism is really nothing next to Arab racism and general barbarity.

            After all, Jews are not killing their females for dating “wrong” men, nor Jews are allowed to marry 9 years old girls.

            Reply to Comment
          • Susi Fähnle, Switzerland

            “Jews are not killing their females” etc. No, maybe they are not. They only let their forgotten children die in locked up cars in summer; so far I only heard things like that of dogs, what already is ugly enough. – But come on, aren’t we grownups, no matter of what race? Let’s not be so childish about terrible things that actually occur. Maybe we rather think of how we can keep our own shadows and darkness under control!

            Reply to Comment
        • Jordan officially annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem in April 1950, in a move that nearly cost them membership in the Arab League. Jordan was itself in its infancy then.

          The argument that the Occupied Territories are ‘disputed’ rests on the idea that if people never had distinct and demonstrable sovereignty previously, then it isn’t possible for them to be under occupation now. By this logic hardly any of the states that gained independence from colonial powers have a genuine claim to sovereignty, because they don’t meet this bizarre criterion (bizarre because the nation-state is a pretty modern concept). Palestinians do not have to demonstrate impeccable national credentials in order to challenge a regime that has deprived people of basic rights to shelter (through expulsion and home demolition), water (through unjust allocations, the destruction of cisterns and wells, and restrictions on people’s movement), livelihood (through confiscation of land confiscation and military bans on agricultural work), education (through school closures – even the primary schools were closed by military order in the First Intifada), and so on. It is not right to subject people to these policies irrespective of whether they’re Palestinian or Japanese or Martian, and even if this really were a simple question of contested property, it wouldn’t be any more acceptable.

          As for the separation barrier, the barbed wire fencing may not look impressive to someone who isn’t contained by it, but when it makes it that much harder for you to reach your own relatives – I’m referring here to the internal fences and checkpoint network within the West Bank that divide Palestinians from Palestinians – the fact that it looks underwhelming to Israeli eyes doesn’t matter very much.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            The argument that the ‘occupied territories’ are not disputed rests on the idea that the Palestinians by way of being occupied by Israel are entitled to every inch of the territory they claim on the basis of the cease-fire lines established in 1948. What claim do the Palestinians as a group have on let’s say the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem or the land of Kfar Etzion or unpopulated desert area next to the Dead Sea? None really, and no amount of trying to demonize Israel really covers up the holes in that argument.

            You can certainly make an argument that the Palestinians have a right to self-determination, but equating that with an absolute claim on the entirety of the West Bank is a very specious proposition. So, if the Palestinians do not have an absolute claim on the entirety of the West Bank, then the land must be disputed and the 1948 lines are really just the cease-fire lines which is all they were according to the agreements singed between Israel and her neighbors that created them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Once again, you are arguing yourself into One State as outcome. But that’s ok.

            Of course, the end of colonialism was the largesse of the West, which allowed its former colonies to become States. Residents therein had nothing to do with it.

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            “You can certainly make an argument that the Palestinians have a right to self-determination, but equating that with an absolute claim on the entirety of the West Bank is a very specious proposition.”

            Actually the citizens of Palestine + descendents(including all refugees) can claim the whole territory of historic Palestine. THAT’s the right to self determination.

            Ask yourself, who had the political right to partition this territory (definetely not half of the Jews who hadn’t even acquired citizenship) and what was the will of the majority.

            Israel surely can’t claim any territory beyond it’s 48 declared borders which are the borders of the partition plan. This is the reason why the UN considers not only Westbank and Gaza but also Jerusalem to be occupied.

            Reply to Comment
        • David T.

          “The 1948 armistice lines are not sacred.”

          Israel internationally binding declared it’s borders within partition plan borders.

          “The separation fence is just a fence wuth barbed wire (90%). Nothing to get excited about. It became big mostly in places where Arab snipers bravely fought for their freedom against Jewish babies.”

          It was actually Jewish snipers who shot Palestinian childrens …

          “What occupied State of Palestine?!”

          The State of Palestine which has been recognized by the UN and which is occupied by Israel since 1967 which is also recognized by every state, by the UN and the International court of Justice.

          “The place was part of Jordan.”

          Never internationally recognized.

          “Jordan no longer claims this land …”

          Jordan ceded its claims to the PLO in 1988 and they declared statehood within 1967 lines which is recognized by the UN.

          “… and it is now disputed.”

          The occupying state is the only one upholding this absurd claim. And all its Hasbara clowns of course.

          Reply to Comment
    4. This reminds me of the time when they decided to spruce up Machsom 300 with a massive peace banner (hanging on the separation wall itself, and nearly as tall), a few tourism ads for various attractions within the Green Line (featuring a picture of a woman in a sundress skipping in the waves on the beach), and – of course – some plastic pot plants in hanging baskets to brighten up all the concrete watchtowers and barbed wire a little. Standing in there, I can never quite decide whether this was done by someone with an ironic sense of humour, or no sense of comedy effect at all.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Possibly the suggestion the panoramic photo is making is this: “Before too long, you’ll be able to look at this exact same panorama but with the wall removed. Because the entire landscape will be ours. Then we shall no longer need the wall, and we shall remove it, and the landscape will be whole again.”

      Reply to Comment
    6. rick chertoff

      take a step back and realize that Israel is a Settler State just like Rhodesia or S. Africa was, the way N. Ireland was for hundreds of years and the way the U.S. was/is…That is to say, that racism is a built-in cornerstone. An empire takes some desperate people who are willing to get bloodied because they have nothing to lose, and give them guns and political backing and says;”go take their land- we’ll back you up.” Ethnic cleansing ensues. Only difference is Israel is in the midst of it- a tad late in the historical cycle, and the world has changed and the empire can no longer enforce its will. That means Israel will follow the others and that racism IS in the mother’s milk of Zionism- inseparable.

      Reply to Comment
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