What the Israeli government likes to call a “security fence”, but what is commonly refereed to as the Apartheid wall and the Berlin Wall of West Bank, is in fact a 20 ft tall, 700+ kilometer wall snaking through the West Bank of Palestine, effectively cutting them off from Israel and the rest of the world. I visited West Bank and parts of the wall, and the segregation was palpable. I post a lot of graffiti posts, but this one is obviously different than the rest.
There are only a few openings in the wall, which are controlled by the Israeli army, and who do not allow Palestinians out, basically imprisoning them. It is a bad situation, and a lot of the graffiti here depicts that. The area of Bethlehem where I took most of these pics, is also the supposed birth place of Jesus, which I find sort of ironic, him being about peace and all.
Dirty politics and horrible human rights issues aside, the Separation Wall in West bank is an obvious attraction to graffiti artists, both local and from abroad, making it one of the best places to see some great political graffiti.
Ever heard of the famous political graffiti/street artist named Banksy? Well, he agreed and made his contribution to the wall too.
I didn’t get to see all the Banksy art unfortunately, but I saw plenty more. On his site, Banksy says-
“The separation barrier is the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers”
Here is a sad bit of irony here for you: In the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem there is a quote displayed, that is aimed at Germany’s oppression of the Jews. It reads:
“A country is not only what it does, but what it tolerates.” – Kurt Tucholsky 1933
Here it is being directed towards Israel by those in the West Bank. Pretty sick huh?
“How illegal is it to vandalize a wall, if the wall itself has been deemed unlawful by the International Court of Justice? The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin wall and will eventually run for over 700km – the distance from London to Zurich. The International Court of Justice last year ruled the wall and its associated regime is illegal. It essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open-air prison.” –Banksy
Seeing art like this, and feeling the message, makes me truly wish I had some artistic talent. So, since I don’t, I hope this post gets all good graffiti artists flinging paint at the wall. If you do, send me a photo!
I went on a lot of tours in Israel with Abraham Tours and Tourist Israel, and I have to say the West Bank tour was the best. I had unbiased history lessons from both Israeli and Palestinian guides, and feel like I learned a lot about a ongoing and very old conflict in our world. All the tours I took through them were great, but I would definitely take this one if you have to only choose one. I don’t think I could have done it all on my own.
“The segregation wall is a disgrace. The possibility I find exciting is you can turn the world’s most invasive and degrading structure into the world’s longest gallery for free speech and bad art.” -Banksy
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