The Mural-Covered Wall: On Separation and the Future of Jews and Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and the Diaspora

By Ellis, Marc H. | Chicago Journal of International Law, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

The Mural-Covered Wall: On Separation and the Future of Jews and Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and the Diaspora


Ellis, Marc H., Chicago Journal of International Law


In Memory of Edward Said "until the end"

Some time ago, the New York Times featured on its front page a picture of an Israeli woman walking her dog in a Jerusalem neighborhood. Her dog was on a leash; she walked behind it on a newly paved sidewalk. To her right was the countryside, with the beauty I have often experienced in my journeys to Israel/Palestine. Yet when I studied the picture more closely I felt something was amiss. When I read the caption beneath the story, I discovered what bothered me: "The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has altered lives on both sides. An Israeli woman recently walked her dog in a Jerusalem neighborhood near the barrier separating it from a Palestinian town. Artists painted the barrier to make it blend in with the landscape." The beautiful landscape existed right behind the wall; it had been replaced by a mural covering the wall.1

Several pages later, I read a Jewish New Year statement from the Jewish Theological Seminary. It began with an ancient prayer: "May God who makes peace on high, make peace upon us, and upon Israel and all the world." The statement continued:

In this season of divine judgment, the ancient message of the Jewish High Holy Days rings with relevance. We are judged not in aggregate but individually, one at a time. Each person merits the undistracted attention and boundless compassion of God. To bow our heads in contrition is to affirm life and self-worth. We intone Judaism's most heartfelt prayer with still greater fervor: That God grace us here on earth with the enduring harmony that reigns on high.2

I was sure that this statement of affirmation included the Israeli woman on the bench; I was pretty sure that the affirmation included me. Was it also addressed to the Palestinians on the other side of the mural-covered wall, indeed all those within the wall that is being built to encircle the Palestinian population of the West Bank?

The most obvious consequence of the Wall of Separation is that it divides peoples and communities, but this may not be its most lasting effect. The separation of Jews and Palestinians in Israel/Palestine is in any case impossible to achieve. The formative years of the state of Israel saw a resident Palestinian population invested with citizenship emerge; the Palestinian population now numbers more than a million persons, and the extensive permanent settlement blocks and corridors make a clear border closer to a desert mirage than an achievable policy. Only a massive transfer of millions of Palestinians would permit Israel and the territories it has conquered to separate the two peoples. Then a wall of separation would not be needed within an expanded Israel but around it, the borders now stretching from Tel Aviv to the Jordan River.

Yet in reality, this is not a practical future. Already we have this expanded Israel with two subject Palestinian populations within those borders: the remnant Palestinians who were not expelled in 1948-just over a million in number-and Palestinians on the West Bank who are being walled in as I write-almost two million in number. Over a million Palestinians in Gaza are already segmented within Gaza by settlers and the Israeli army and are barricaded in by two powers hostile to each other-Israel and Egypt.

The impossibility of separation in the expanded state of Israel makes the wall even more ominous. For a large segment of the Palestinian population is being walled into a ghetto that is sustained by twenty- to thirty-foot high barriers with advanced technology and sniper towers functioning as agents of permanent closure.3 The ghettoization of a people has consequences beyond the act of physical separation; a ghettoized people suffers, and those who build and maintain those ghettos suffer. Like the effects of occupation, the particular histories of the ghettoized and those who ghettoize have less to do with the long-range effects of such a reality than with the general rules that we can study throughout history, be they Jews, South Africans, African-Americans, or Palestinians. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Mural-Covered Wall: On Separation and the Future of Jews and Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and the Diaspora
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.