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Apartheid Wall

  • Wave of stabbings show Israel’s wall isn’t about security

    If the separation barrier neither stops terrorists nor marks an actual border between Israel and Palestine, then what is it actually for? The vast majority of stabbing attacks carried out inside Israel over the past couple of weeks have been carried out by West Bank Palestinians. Most of the attackers did not have permits to cross into Israel for work or any other reason. How did they get in? Didn’t Ariel Sharon build the separation barrier, apartheid wall, security fence, or whatever you want to call it, just for this reason? To make it harder for Palestinian terrorists to walk…

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  • Palestinians struggle to remain in 'unified' Jerusalem

    As Israelis march today to celebrate the 'reunification' of Jerusalem, Palestinian East Jerusalemites struggle against skyrocketing rents and building restrictions to remain in municipal borders.  Every day, investors knock on the door of a small home in Kufr Aqab, a village on the Palestinian side of the separation wall but inside Jerusalem's municipal borders. The tidy, one-story, two-room house is surrounded by new apartment buildings, some reaching nine stories high. Contractors are currently finishing more than 1,000 units in the area; billboard advertisements suggest many more are to come. The same phenomenon is occurring in other Palestinian neighborhoods that are technically…

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  • The Wall, 11 years on: Changes, normalization and dissent

    Exactly 11 years ago today, PM Ariel Sharon ordered the start of construction on a 'separation barrier' in the West Bank. It would soon become what is probably the biggest, most expensive and most influential construction project in Israel’s history. Eleven years later, how is construction of the wall progressing, and what is to become of it? A project update. Last year I published a 12-part series analyzing the repercussions the Wall has had on various aspects of Israelis' and especially on Palestinians' lives. I described the wall's history, its effects on the peace process, on Jerusalem, on villages on both…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 12: Where do we go from here?

    Ten years have passed since Israel started building the wall, probably the largest and most expensive construction project in its history, which does not seem to be going anywhere. For four months now I've been presenting its story, and now it is time to offer some breaking updates, look into the future, and conclude. The final chapter of the series. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills This was supposed to be a four part mini-project for the week of Passover. However, as work progressed, interview followed interview, and the tours along the wall's route unraveled new stories, and as the…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 11: Security for Israel?

    The immediate trigger to start building the wall was the security of Israeli citizens. Ten years later, with all the known accumulated effects on Palestinians, nature, economy and political affairs – has the barrier fulfilled its stated goal for Israelis? Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills Standing on the cemetery mount in Budrus, at first sight the separation fence seems to make perfect sense. Over the clouds of tear gas rising from the field below where the village youth and the army youth are exchanging stones for grenades, beyond the fence which is now almost on the Green Line after…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on: part 10 / My encounters with the wall in space

    After a long run-down of the wall's history and effects, and as the series nears its end, I wish to share a collection of thoughts and notes on the aesthetics of the barrier and on the way it fits into the Israeli and Palestinian landscapes, all gathered while wandering along its route. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills With all due respect to this seemingly omniscient software giant, there are some things that Google simply doesn’t tell you about the world. A few months back, I was leaving a demonstration in the West Bank, planning to travel home to Tel…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on: part 9 / Dividing land - water, fauna, flora

    UNESCO is set to discuss the dangers facing Jerusalem's eco-systems, a new UNRWA report elaborates the harm caused to water sources and flora throughout the West Bank, and environmental NGOs warn of the impending extinction of several species – these are the wall's effects on mother nature. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills An event of somewhat historic proportions is about to take place in Saint Petersburg in the coming days: for the first time ever, the annual UNESCO convention is to discuss a request to recognize a world heritage site that was put forward by the Palestinian Authority, which…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 8: A working class under siege

     The wall was built to stop suicide bombers from entering Israel, so they say. But the people who do enter Israel on a daily basis are the tens of thousands of Palestinians who work here. Some go through hours of waiting at checkpoints, others climb the wall and risk injury or arrest – but all have experienced a dramatic change for the worse in their lives. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills We arrive at Eyal checkpoint at 4:30 a.m. The sky is pitch black yet minivans packed with laborers are already passing us in the opposite direction on their…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 7: A village turned prison

    There is no place quite like it in the entire West Bank. Residents of the village of Walajah petition the courts, demonstrate, initiate protest theater and music shows - yet still see the wall is expanding and surrounding them from all directions. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills The last time I visited Walajah I left only in the late afternoon, around dusk. It was a Friday, and the car was going downhill towards the checkpoint into Jerusalem, a breathtaking view all around, when suddenly I saw tens of Palestinians carrying bags and walking in the opposite direction. At first…

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  • The Wall,10 years on / part 6: What has the struggle achieved?

    Commemorating 10 years since construction of the wall also means commemorating almost 10 years of the struggle against it, as described in the previous chapter. Just as we shall later examine what the wall has accomplished, one should also ask what exactly the struggle against it succeeded in doing, especially as so many people have paid such a high price for it, and most of it is still east of the Green Line. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills The first and most obvious answer to this is simple: in many places, villages involved in the uprising were able to…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 5: A new way of resistance

    Just as it is a story of suicide attacks, security, annexation, legal questions and political controversy – the story of the separation wall is also that of the popular, unarmed and joint struggle of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals against it. What started in September, 2002 as a small spontaneous action by a few farmers became the heart of Palestinian resistance to the occupation.   Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills I guess it's no coincidence that whenever I think of the beginning of the popular struggle against the wall I think of Gil Na'amati. The story of Na'amati, who was…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / part 4: Trapped on the wrong side

    This is exactly the kind of thing that planners of the route hoped to avoid: having Palestinians who are barred from entering Israel trapped on the "Israeli" side of the fence. Yet in its long and winding route, the fence engulfs some 35,000 Palestinians who describe their new lives as a daily prison. Project Photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills March 2009. Residents of the small village Wadi a-Rasha in the Qalqiliya district have mixed feelings. On the one hand – their High Court victory is as precedent in the history of the wall - for the first time ever, construction…

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  • The Wall, 10 years on / Part 3: An acre here and an acre there

    When brought before the High Court, the state promised villagers free access to their lands through special gates to agricultural lands. As the years went by, the court and the public lost interest, the villagers' rights were ignored and their will to fight the system depleted. Land is being deserted, waiting for new settlements to be built.   Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills Theoretically, Dharifa Sharreb should be pleased. When the fence was built in Jayous in 2003, Sharreb's home was the only one on its western side, and it became completely isolated from the rest of the village.…

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