09 July 2007

09 July 2007 - Infighting and poverty, not occupation

Not even Palestinians believe that occupation is the primary cause of their problems. A recent survey by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah revealed the following:

“[T]he majority of Palestinians (56%) believe that the most serious threat confronting Palestinians today is infighting and lawlessness, followed by poverty (21%), Israeli occupation and settlements (12%) and finally international boycott and sanctions (10%).”

That’s not to say occupation is a picnic. It’s Almost Supernatural has a thoughtful review of Isabel Kershner’s book on the people whom the security barrier has trapped in an administrative and economic twilight zone.

That entry prompted me to look for some pictures I took of the wall in Jerusalem when it was first going up, in October 2003. The first picture is of the wall in Gilo, which was built to protect residents from snipers in Beit Jala. What seemed particularly poignant to me was that the residents of Gilo had painted a mural of Beit Jala, as if to preserve the memory of that view, the memory of hope for peace.



The second picture is of the wall in East Jerusalem in its early stages, when it was still short and porous enough for people to climb over or through. If you look toward the center-left of the photograph, you will notice two young boys preparing to do just that. The Israeli soldiers nearby seemed not to care, and were amazed that anyone would want to take a photograph of the wall. A terrible necessity.

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