The writing on the wall: graffiti and wall art in Palestine

By EA Theresa, Southern West Bank

Here in Palestine the Separation Barrier is very evident when you are near the Green Line (the 1949 armistice line between Israel and the West Bank). And nowhere is it so obvious as in Bethlehem where it winds its way through and between communities that used to be able to meet.

The Separation Barrier if built on the Green Line would be 315km long. But instead because it twists and turns into the West Bank, taking in Palestinian private land and dividing communities, it will be 709km long when complete.

So what do you do about a wall built in your community without your consent? Use it as an art project and make it part of the protest movement.

Banksy is famous for coming to Palestine and decorating the Barrier but before and since, there have been many Palestinian works of art on the wall. Some are just written statements while others are famous quotes. This one can also be seen in Yad Vashem.

‘A country is not only what it does. It is also what it tolerates’: Kurt Tolstoy a Jewish Russian writer

A country is not only what it does. It is also what it tolerates”: a quote from Kurt Tolstoy, the Jewish Russian writer, written on the Separation Barrier [Photo: EAPPI/T.Mansbridge]

Some are colourful art works:

A Palestinian bird on an old part of the wall alongside Aida Refugee Camp

A bird in Palestinian colours on an old part of the Separation Barrier alongside Aida Refugee Camp [Photo: EAPPI/T.Mansbridge]

And in Bethlehem there are stories of ‘samud’ – Palestinian steadfastness – the determination Palestinians show by staying on in their own land regardless of the pressures and deprivations they are under.

Below are some of these stories:

Graffiti 7

Graffiti 5

Graffiti 4

Graffiti 3

Graf 8

It makes for a very interesting walk along the Barrier and shows the steadfastness of the Palestinians to stay on their land and to tell the world their story.