A cultural protest against the wall

An artist paints a red handprint at the mural near the checkpoint at northern Bethlehem. The artists were stopped by private security agents of the wall’s construction company near the checkpoint in Bethlehem and later by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF). (Omar Tesdell/The International Center of Bethlehem (ICB))

The Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions is becoming a source of continuous suffering instead of blessing. For more than ten years the Israeli government has been creating obstacles in many different main roads between all the Palestinian cities and villages. For more than two years, the illegal building of a concrete wall around the Palestinian residential areas, on Palestinian land, has increased the suffering. In many places the wall is eight meters high, while in most places it reaches up to three meters.

The wall is not only violating Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement and obstructing them from their source of income, but it is also blocking their view of natural sunrise and sunset. It is blocking the hope of a bright future and a just peace. History shows that building walls rarely solves conflicts or guarantees security.

A fuller view of the mural in northern Bethlehem (Omar Tesdell/ICB)

As a creative and non-violent protest against the Segregation Wall, the International Center of Bethlehem organized for three muralists from Mexico to join with locals to deface the wall.

The three artists, Alberto Aragon Reyes, Gustavo Chavez Pavon and Erasto Molina Urbina arrived in Palestine Oct. 19 to begin work and stayed in Bethlehem. Development agency DanChurchAid sponsored the travel and the accommodation expenses of the three muralists and the International Center of Bethlehem provided support for local expenses including travel and supplies.

The mural in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem (Omar Tesdell/ICB)

The mural near Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, Occupied East Jerusalem (Omar Tesdell/ICB)

The paintings are very expressive and reflect the suffering, the pain and the wounds of the obsessed human being in any place. Artists from Mexico and internationals from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, USA, England, Holland, Spain and New Zealand joined the cultural protest, expressing their solidarity with the work against the humiliating segregation wall and to call for its demolition. On two occasions, Israeli Occupation Forces and private security contractors stopped the artists from continuing their work, in Qalqiliya Nov. 1 and Bethlehem Nov. 6.

The mural near the checkpoint at northern Bethlehem. The artists also painted the wall in Tulkarem and Qalqilya, where they were stopped by Israeli soldiers, had a joint project with Israeli activist artists, and several schools in Palestine also requested murals. (Omar Tesdell/ICB)

The three muralists were always accompanied with several other internationals including the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) Program, as well as some local young people from the International Center of Bethlehem, Karama institute in Bethlehem, the Committee Against the Wall in Bethlehem and Qalqilya, and Shuaa in Tulkarem.

For more information or more photographs please contact:

  • Faten, (02) 2764876, (052-2387698)
  • Inger, (02) 2770047, (054-6413320)

    Related links:

  • The International Center of Bethlehem
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