April 21, 2009 by Gsmith
In the early 1990s, Israel began constructing a huge wall to separate itself and its external colonies from the people who had been pushed into refugee camps. The wall is called the “anti-terrorism barrier” by English speaking Israelis, and the “apartheid wall” by their Palestinian brothers and sisters on the other side of it.
The project is almost complete fifteen years later, with much help from western governments like the U.S. and Canada which financed its construction.
A rather acerbic bit of propaganda has been placed on the wall, ostensibly as ‘art’. It depicts two mocking faces staring out at passersby.
The goal of the apartheid wall is not merely physical segregation, but psychological subjugation. It serves as a constant reminder of the ‘otherness’ of the Palestinian working people, who have lived in Israel/Palestine for countless generations, but who are now separated from their land and neighbors and denied citizenship in the country of their origin.
The vast majority of Palestinian people have never been involved in crime or radical politics, but all are forced to go through humiliating ‘security checkpoints’ when they need to cross the apartheid wall. It is common for both Israeli citizens and stateless Palestinians to stand in line for hours, only to be refused entry arbitrarily. It is also not unheard of for working people to be mocked and humiliated by teenage soldiers as they attempt to reach relatives, employment or medical care on the other side.
Of particular interest is the flag of the Republic of Texas flying next to the Israeli flag. A large contingent of IDF soldiers volunteer from parts outside Israel, such as The United States. Is it any wonder that the west is starting to be seen as partly responsible for the conditions of occupied Palestine?
Crossing the frontier is an especially humiliating process for Palestinian women, who have typically been raised in very conservative forms of Islam and Christianity, where modesty is prized. It is not uncommon for women to be forced to partially uncover and sometimes completely disrobe in front of male soldiers who are ostensibly checking for smuggled goods or weapons.
Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ is said to have been born, is a holy place for Christians. Much of the city now resembles a large prison.