WALL

An Anachronistic Concept of Separation

  • 01_0810IL_Orange tunnel
    Erez Checkpoint, the high security entrance and exit to the Gaza Strip from Israel. It was completed in early 2005. Currently about 1,500 Palestinians from Gaza hold a permit to enter Israel from a total population of 1.4 million within the strip. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2005.
  • 02_1662IL_View_on_wall_through_hole
    A Palestinian attempts to save some of his belongings in the Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah within the Gaza Strip. His house next to the Egyptian border was destroyed in an Israeli incursion. The Israelis built a six metre high steel wall and demolished more than 1,700 houses to create an exclusion zone along the border, and to prevent Palestinians digging tunnels to Egypt to smuggle arms and other goods. About 12,000 Palestinians became homeless as a result. Originally the camp reached up to the steel wall. Rafah continues on the other side of it, and has been divided since the war in 1967. The Israeli government withdrew its army and settlers from the strip in summer 2005. The almost 100 per cent separation system of fences, walls, checkpoints and bridges between Palestinian inhabited areas and Israeli settlements could not provide security for the 8,000 Israeli settlers. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 03_0643IL_Cabbage_field_wall
    The eight metre high concrete wall next to the Palestinian town of Qalqiliya. The 43,000 inhabitants are completely surrounded by security fences and walls. The town has been turned into a ghetto which can only be entered by one Israeli checkpoint. Over 80 per cent of the town’s land is either isolated from it or was used to construct the separation barrier. Eleven wells which provided 32 per cent of the town’s water supply have been cut off. Since 2005 neighbouring villages to the south can be reached by a tunnel under a bypass road for Israeli settlers. Occasionally the tunnel is closed. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 04_1769IL_Wallpieces_laying_people
    Pieces of the wall ready to be put up next to the Qalandia checkpoint. It controls all Palestinian traffic going north from Jerusalem towards Ramallah. Occupied Palestinian Territories, November 2004.
  • 05_0691IL_wallsnake_from_above
    A section of the wall in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Dis seen from the construction site of the future parliament of a Palestinian state. Construction of the parliament began in 1999 but was never completed. The Palestinian villages to the right will form part of Israeli administered Jerusalem. The houses to the left will be administered by the Palestinian authorities but will remain under Israeli security control. On the wooded hill to the left another Jewish settlement will be built. All of the land seen in the picture was occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2004.
  • 06_1720IL_Gas_demonstrators_down
    Peaceful demonstrators from the village of Kharbatha Bani Harith are violently dispersed by Israeli soldiers as they attempt to prevent the Israelis building the separation barrier on their farming land. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2004.
  • 07_0647IL_Palestinian_flags
    The eight metre high concrete wall next to the Palestinian town of Qalqiliya. The graffiti was painted during a peace rally of Israeli and international peace activists. The 43,000 inhabitants are completely surrounded by security fences and walls. The town has been turned into a ghetto which can only be entered by one Israeli checkpoint. Over 80 per cent of the town’s land is either isolated from it or was used for the construction of the separation barrier. Eleven wells which provided 32 per cent of the town’s water supply have been cut off. Since 2005 neighbouring villages to the south can be reached by a tunnel under a bypass road for Israeli settlers. Occasionally the tunnel is closed. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 08_50_1660IL_Rifle_graffity
    The 12 meter high wall of the settlement of Neve Dekalim in the the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian refugee camp of Khan Yunis was destroyed in parts to gain a securtiy zone around the settlerment. The Israeli claim they were often attacked from this residental area. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 13_0711IL_Wall at night
    A piece of wall under construction in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Dis at night. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2004.
  • 14_1644IL_family_facing_soldiers
    Machmoud al-’Azza, a worker at a medical centre in Jerusalem going to work. The woman and child are on their way to a hospital in East Jerusalem. This 2.5 metre wall was only provisional and was replaced by an eight metre high concrete wall. Although these people have the right to be on the other side of the wall according to Israeli law, the border patrol officers are indifferent and order them to use the next Israeli checkpoint which is a detour of 8km. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 17_0653IL_Flowerpots_settlement
    The illegally built settlement of Har Homa / Djebl Abu Renaim in the south of Jerusalem will also be enclosed by a fence. Some of the neighbouring Palestinian villages and houses will be cut off from the West Bank and become part of Israeli Jerusalem. According to Israeli law the Palestinians living in these areas are not allowed to be there. This could mean that the inhabitants will be forced to leave, such as the owner of these flowers. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 21_0646IL_Dead_sheep_tower_wall
    A dead sheep in front of the eight metre high concrete wall next to the Palestinian town of Qalqiliya. The 43,000 inhabitants are completely surrounded by high security fences and walls. The town has been turned into a ghetto which can only be entered through one Israeli checkpoint. Over 80 per cent of the town’s land is either isolated from it or was used to construct the separation barrier. Eleven wells which provided 32 per cent of the town’s water supply have been cut off. Since 2005 neighbouring villages to the south can be reached by a tunnel under a bypass road for Israeli settlers. Occasionally the tunnel is closed. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 22_1643IL_Border_Patrol_man_white
    A Palestinian in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Dis arguing with Israeli border patrol after crossing the wall. This 2.5 metre provisional structure was replaced by an eight metre high concrete wall in early 2004. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2003.
  • 23_0757IL_Painted_landscape
    Protective wall against Palestinian small arms fire in the settlement of Gilo, Jerusalem. In 2002 Palestinians from neighbouring Beit Jala fired on Gilo, which is built mostly on land taken from Beit Jala. Several Palestinians were killed and dozens injured. Harald Fischer, a German doctor who attempted to help the injured, was killed by an Israeli antitank missile from Gilo. Two Israelis were also injured. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2004.
  • 25_1863IL_Shadow_wall_arrow
    Junction of two major roads in Al-Ram / Jerusalem after the construction of the separation barrier. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2005.
  • 26_0731IL_Checkpoint_overview
    Junction next to Qalandia Checkpoint in Al-Ram, Jerusalem which will vanish after the wall is completed in this area. Most of the people from Al-Ram, who hold Israeli Jerusalem identity cards and are citizens of Jerusalem, will be cut off from their town. Occupied Palestinian Territories, November 2004.
  • 28_1695IL_Wall_long_3women
    A section of the wall in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Dis, next to the sports ground of the Al-Quds (“Jerusalem” in Arabic) University. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2004.
  • 35_0677IL_Old_man_wall_gate
    Abu Adnan Shawarib, 70, walking along the wall in Nazlat ‘Isa which separates it from Baqa ar-Rarbiya on the Israeli side, a town inhabited by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. The barrier cuts through the town separating families. Before the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, the town was a busy hub for trade between Israel and the West Bank. 105 shops and seven houses were destroyed to build the wall. Here the separation barrier runs almost on the ceasefire line of 1948. About 25 per cent of the separation barrier is built next to the internationally recognized border. The rest runs deep into the occupied Palestinian territories, thus almost doubling the length of the border. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2004.
  • 37_0983IL_Election_posters_Wall
    Section of the wall in Al-Ram, Jerusalem during the elections for the Palestinian parliament which ended with a landslide victory for the Islamic resistance movement Hamas. Occupied Palestinian Territories, January 2006.
  • 46_1805IL_hand_painting_wall
    The Mexican painter Gustavo Chávez Pavón working on the wall in Sauwahri village, Jerusalem. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2004.
  • 47_0742IL_Taxi_trafficlights
    Junction in Al-Ram, Jerusalem, which is about to be cut in half by the wall. Most of the inhabitants of Al-Ram hold Israeli Jerusalem identity cards and are thus citizens of Jerusalem. They will be cut off from the town. Occupied Palestinian Territories, October 2004.
  • 48_1929IL_Girl+ballons_wall_wallpieces
    Wall section next to Qalandia Refugee Camp in the north of Jerusalem with graffiti by British artist Banksy (www.banksy.co.uk). The Arabic writing on the concrete block in the right foreground reads “war culmn”. Occupied Palestinian Territories, November 2005.
  • 51_0698IL_Tree_wall_horse
    A segment of the wall in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Dis. Because Palestinians sometimes run courtcases against the trak of the wall, pieces of the wall are standing isolated till the case is decided and construction can continue. For Palestinians it is important having their land on that side of the wall which is administered by the Israelis. The graffiti of the leftwing Israeli activist Dani Grinblatt on the wall reads “So did the Nazis”. Occupied Palestinian Territories, March 2004.
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“Over a nine meter wall you cannot shake hands,” said a Palestinian pensioner who lives in the shadow of the Separation Barrier currently being built by Israel.
Since October 2003, photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer, who has been documenting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for more than a decade, has been meeting with inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territories living in the path of the barrier. Every six months, he returned to the territories to document the construction of the 650 kilometers of walls, fences, ditches and earth mounds, which form the border between the State of Israel and a future Palestinian entity.
This time, he has chosen to portray the conflict with a 6 x 17 cm panoramic camera, producing a series of color and black and white photographs which depict the wall and fragments of life in its shadow.
In 1989, the Berlin-based photographer documented the fall of the wall in his own city. Recent German history has convinced Wiedenhöfer that separation barriers offer no solutions to political conflict.