PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Stop decorating the “wall of shame”

Better to employ an enormous grey wall for artistic purposes than leave it a towering eyesore? Palestinians and foreigners alike have been painting the Israeli government's separation wall since construction began. But on both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides of what has been dubbed "the wall of shame", there are those who don't want it to be coloured in, and for very different reasons. Read more...

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Graffiti by Suleiman Mansour. Photo by William J.Schleich, posted here.

Better to employ an enormous grey wall for artistic purposes than leave it a towering eyesore? Palestinians and foreigners alike have been painting the Israeli government's separation wall since construction began. But on both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides of what has been dubbed "the wall of shame", there are those who don't want it to be coloured in, and for very different reasons.

Israel began building the snaking wall which separates the West Bank from neighbouring Jewish settlements in 2002. Its alleged purpose is to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from accessing Israeli territory and then blowing themselves up. But despite the outright condemnation of the project from the UN in October 2003, since then, the wall has only got longer.

When slogans and stencils began to appear on the wall, the initial reaction from Israeli soldiers was to arrest the offending artists. Their excuse? Security measures. Barbed wire, sensors and CCTV were put in place to deter them. But to no avail. Much of the graffiti is found on the sections which cross Bethlehem, Qalqilya, and Qalandiya (a village 11km south of Ramallah), but also on  parts opposite the University of Jerusalem, which managed, after negotiations, to save a piece of its campus from being built upon by this controversial structure.

A few examples

Posted on Flickr by "Exothermic", 6 August 2007.

Posted by Lois Stavsky, 31 January 2008.

Posted by Lois Stavsky, 31 January 2008.

Posted by "i,map", 8 July 2008. Work by Banksy.

Posted by "jamestraceur", 21 May 2006. Work by Banksy.

Posted by "i,map", 8 July 2008. Work by Banksy.

Posted by Maya Hasson, 19 September 2008. Work: Banksy.

 

Posted by Joshua Hough, 13 Decemeber 2006. Work: Banksy.

Posted by "hazy jenius", 3 June 2008.

“Don’t turn it into something beautiful to look at”

Jamal Jomaa is a coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign.

Most of the graffiti is done by amateurs, but some of it is professional. In most cases, I don't agree with it. During the first intifada, the walls were covered in all sorts of slogans and pictures. I have nothing against that. But concerning the separation wall, I've always said - don't decorate it, don't turn it into something beautiful to look at. It should stay grey and ugly, a symbol of the ugliness and racism of the occupation.      

A few years ago, a couple of Mexican artists wrote on a part of the wall north of Toulkarem 'To exist is to resist'. This slogan is useful; it incites people to fight their cause. It was particularly symbolic that it was placed on a part of the wall where a market used to stand; completely destroyed in a day, along with 218 stalls and olive pressers. But after that came other slogans. Slogans that give a sense of normalisation with the Israelis. I don't think these slogans are in the interests of the Palestinian people and the recovery of their lawful rights."