Joe Hughes (jhughes) wrote,
Joe Hughes
jhughes

My visit to the security fence, aka "the wall."

This Friday I went on a free tour of the controversial Israeli "wall," personally hosted by Israeli Russian immigrant Natan Sharansky, Israel's minister of the diaspora. A one-sided propoganda-esque speech in was given in a room that was full of Jews from Australia and Britain. American jokes filled the air as Sharansky brought us to a hill overlooking a long section of the fence. At first I didn't see it, and I wasn't the only one. We were like, "where's the fence?" It took a few minutes before it finally caught my eye, and it looked nothing like what the media makes it out to be. The problem with the media is that it wants everything to be ultra-dramatic and interesting to its readers/watchers, so there must be clear heroes and villains, and since Israel is bigger than the Palestinians, the underdog must be the good guy. Anyway, enough with my rant, my point is that it looked nothing more than the barriers along American highways, only in fence form instead of cement. All the fence is is another way for Israel to protect its citizens, which of course is its obligation.

After looking at this part of the fence, they brought us to the wall-part of the barrier that is located on the border of a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. It is a very insignificant fraction of what is almost entirely a fence, and yet this is the almost the only part that is shown in the media. I looked at all the Palestinians who glared at us as we drove past them, although they seemed happy that we would see what they consider to be a travesty themselves. But the funny thing is, looking at these Palestinians, I cannot tell the difference between them and Israelis. Unless the Israeli is a Russian or American immigrant, I find Israelis and Palestinians indistinguishable. We arrived at the wall section and got off, crossing the street as Palestinian drivers impatiently blared their horns at us.

And there was the wall, the only part of the security fence that's ever photographed for the newspapers and TV, a giant cement barrier. Grafitti was all over it, some of it was very clever actually. Stars of David composed of dollar signs adorned it. "Paid for by USA," "Not another wailing wall," and so on was written on it along with Arabic and Hebrew.

What made this site even more interesting was the giant number 4 bus sitting in front of it, blown to pieces by a suicide bomber. Israel had it towed to the area to show Palestinians and journalists the purpose of the wall. The bus was left just as it was when the blast destroyed it, minus the blood. Shattered glass littered the torn aisle and wires hung from the blown rooftop. Seats where I could only assume people were sitting at the time were severely burned. The wall and the bus combined was a very emotional experience.
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