March 10, 2011

While walls represent protection and shelter, they can also be icons of discrimination, regulations, restrictions, division or even segregation. In the case of Israel and Palestine, the wall that is being erected along the West Bank is a wall that is being built to physically separate Israel from Palestine; a Palestine the wall also seeks to define (Sorkin 2005). However, it would not be farfetched for one to speculate that there are underlying agendas to this massive construction; agendas pertaining to more than just a method to define territorially the boundaries between Israel and Palestine and its border.

Considering the history between these two nations, the wall stands as a label to citizens of both the countries that are involved, as well as the international society. With a cloak of being the supposed response to the problem of terrorism, this wall proposes the single argument of being that which will become the solution to this problem (Sorkin 2005). Sorkin implies the degrading label that is placed onto Palestine by the wall as well as the threat that Palestine represents in the way that he describes the wall as an agent that is “corralling” the Palestine population. This seemingly crude description can’t be ignored seeing that the way the wall is being constructed puts forward this very point. Back and forth, these two nations wrestle with each other, trying to ascertain their own stand and reign over the political and territorial rights. As such, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on the insistence by one people that they can define the nationality of the other (Sorkin 2005). It then seeks to separate these two nationalities, treating one as superior to the other, and the other as if it were a constant threat to the safety and security of the other. This label, built in stone and blood and sweat is therefore slowly becoming that which the world will identify with when referring to these two nations.

An edifice that towers over the city, the wall becomes that symbol of a constant presence watching over the Palestinian people. The way that the Israeli Defence Force has tackled the urban warfare system is to become in itself the constant and omnipresent observer. From the wall to the invasion of houses by the armed forces, these tactics that are being deployed bring about, as Sorkin (2005) describes it, “privacy degree zero”. It seeks to shrink the perception of Palestinian inhabitation, mobility and security, hence creating a fear and implication that one is constantly under surveillance. In many ways, the wall is possibly just another system to condition a nation to adhere to another nation’s intention.

 

Joel Lee

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