Painting Israel's Wall
Picasso said art is the elimination of the unnecessary. That phrase seems to ring true to a group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian “artists” working in Israel. They are sending messages to the Israeli government on a security wall being erected on the West Bank. As Reed Galin reports, these peaceful protesters are armed with paint and a purpose.
(Locator: Bethlehem, Israel)
Hands of defiant people mark a wall of contention.
Faten Nastas / Art Coordinator, International Center of Bethlehem: “I asked them if they want the wall to be put down, so they simply answered ‘Yes,’ childlike in heart, ‘with God’s help it will fall down’”
The United Methodist Church and others are funding this effort. Through paint – not firepower – these peaceful protestors are sending the message to Israelis: stop building this wall.
Sandra Olewine / United Methodist Liaison to the Holy Land: “Churches here have been very supportive of non-violent resistance, so the art department created a project where we actually try to deface the wall. It’s not to make the wall pretty.”
As of now, Israel has no intention of stopping construction despite criticism by human rights groups, other governments, and religious organizations.
Sandra Olewine: “Anything that is done here that helps to increase the destabilization ultimately will cause destabilization in the rest of the world as well.”
Faten Nastas: “People really feel anger with such a wall and they want to just explode it. So instead of exploding it with bombs, we thought it better to explode it with paint.”
Jewish, Christian, and Muslim “artists” vow they will continue to work together to paint their way to peace.
Sandra Olewine: “The building of this wall, it will never bring good neighbors.”
The Israeli government began building the wall in June 2002. According to the Israeli government, the completion of the wall should occur later this year and will stretch 450 miles.
The wall “art” project was developed by the International Center of Bethlehem, an organization that works with young artists and encourages intercultural exchanges.