Jerusalem: Separation Wall or Security Barrier?

From Harry Gunkel over at Mission to Jerusalem:

On Saturday I went on a tour cosponsored by Al Quds University here and UN-OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). It was a tour of The Wall around Jerusalem. Do you know about the wall? It's also known as the Security Fence or the Separation Barrier. Its construction was begun about 2002 by the Defense Ministry of Israel, which by the way receives a great deal of your tax money as foreign aid. Its stated purpose was to provide security against suicide bombers from the West Bank. Now the wall forms an almost complete physical barrier between Israel and the West Bank. Maybe this is the model for what some folks in the US want on the Mexican border. Our tour was confined to the area around Jerusalem. It is the area that gets alot of attention because of the importance of this city and its future status in peace negotiations.

One side says the wall is necessary for protection against a people who are bent on violence and destruction. The other side says the wall is a method of apartheid and racial cleansing. It seems to me as a newly arrived outsider that there is a grain of truth in both sides but no more than a grain. It is far more complex than that and does injustice to the situation to reduce it so.

I encourage you to learn more about this wall. And rather than come up with all kinds of wacky references from Google, why don't you start with some documents and maps from the UN who are actively involved in monitoring the situation?

But all that aside, there is the matter of living with the wall. Look at the slideshow photos and the web album.

The Wall is only one part of the SECURITY question here. A later blog will offer some reflections on that. For now, I invite you to be aware of this, learn more about it, and ask how life must be for your brothers and sisters when things like Walls are part of life.

Sunday marked the beginning of Advent and we had our Church Christmas Bazaar. Some photos of that are included in the slideshow. Life goes on in the shadow of the Wall.

I think it is always Advent here in this place. Always hoping, always waiting for new life and new opportunity. Patience as well, amazingly enough, although sometimes it's hard to distinguish patience from resignation. I hope it's really mostly patience.


Duffy said…
One prime purpose of the wall (for the Israelis) is to foment a civil war in the Palestinian territories. It seems to have worked quite well esp. after Arafat's death. Now Fatah and Hamas. When they are not penned in, they direct their anger at Israel. Creating a closed system force their rivalry to a head which we're now seeing. The theory being that unless or until they sort out for themselves that violence isn't going to solve anything they're going to be left to their own devices.

OTOH, Israel is highly fractured society held together by fear of annihilation. If there ever is real peace there, Israel is going to have some serious political spasms in that wake.

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