Sunday, October 5, 2008

Separation Barriers 7/13/08


Since I got back into Jerusalem last night, I heard that there were 2 Israeli policemen shot a few days ago very near to where I am studying, namely the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, and this meant that the borders were on high alert as it has been labeled a terrorist act. Therefore, today my Islam professor was not allowed to come teach class because he is a Palestinian living only a few measly miles away in Bethlehem. This surprised me. This man is known for his books and research about the rise of radical Islam which have proved to be very valuable for the world in understanding where many of today’s terrorists are emerging from. He is an expert on the subject, not because he has leanings on their side, but because he wants to grasp the twisting of a peaceful religion that has led to an awful stereotype of the admirable Muslim people worldwide. And yet, even with an Israeli work permit, he was not allowed to come to Jerusalem. We hear about the walls being constructed between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and it is something entirely different to see how it affects the life of someone I know personally. There is a wall to the East of the Center that, upon construction, meant the termination of jobs of some other Jerusalem Center employees at the time because, as Palestinians, they were not allowed to regularly enter Jerusalem. According to the Clinton Parameters, Jerusalem was supposed to remain an undivided and open city, clearly this has not come to pass. The Israelis say that these walls are necessary security measures and that it helps fight against terrorism and illegal immigration and border crossing, keeping their Holy City as well as surrounding areas safer. Palestinians see is as a breech of their rights and it is true (as I have researched, at least) that some of these walls have crossed through Palestinian neighborhoods and extended the Israeli borders. Because of this, even the International Court of Justice has deemed these separation barriers as illegal, although Israelis may say that they had no choice, as Palestinians would not compromise and they did what they thought was necessary for the protection of their people. These walls are like scars in the landscape, disturbing the serenity of a holy land. But with terrorist events alive and well in the city, there have been 2 that I know of in the last 2 or 3 weeks, can you begin to see the agony of these people, manifest in walls and guns? As I see it, the ones making these decisions to either create barriers or to hurt others are the extreme minority. The real injustice is to the innocent on both sides who want peace but keep seeing events and falling prey to legislation that make it looks less and less possible. I pray that hope survives.
blog post photo(Top photo is of a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan and bottom photo was taken from on top of Nabi Samwel, which is just over the Israeli border into Palestine on the West of Jerusalem. This photo is facing north, along the Biblical hills of Ephraim which is currently cut up by the Israel/Palestine wall in the distance.)
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