The Wall: A Monologue


Here’s a piece written by David Hare in the New York Review of Books on the West Bank wall:

It’s a dusty spot, featureless, in the middle of nowhere—or would be featureless if it weren’t for the series of high concrete slabs on our left-hand side. The wall. Although the road doesn’t run through the wall, we are forced to stop. We join a long line of cars which we are told has been here for fifteen minutes. The drivers have turned their engines off, and they sit on the roofs or the hoods, smoking cigarettes and talking. Yes, this is what happens every day. A daily event. For those who go back and forth between towns in the West Bank more than once daily, a more-than-once daily event. The soldiers are letting only one side go through at a time. So we sit for a further twenty minutes, cars coming at us from the opposite direction, and then very slowly, insolently, the Israelis, carrying machine guns, move to our side of the road, and for no reason, begin to let us through.

I say “for no reason” but probably there is a reason. And nobody imagines it has anything to do with security—since the road doesn’t go to Israel itself, and no one shows any interest in the cars themselves. After all, the road stretches empty in either direction, and the checkpoint is not short-staffed. Why, then, are Israeli soldiers wasting time by holding back one line of traffic which they could perfectly well let through, while they permit the flow of another? Why are they doing this? The answer seems clear. They are doing it because they can. To those waiting in line the implicit message is: “If we choose to delay you, we shall. We have the right to delay you. We have the right to render your life meaningless.”

Read it all…


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Filed under American Politics, Humanitarian, Media, Middle East Politics, Palestine/Israel

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