Walls of Shame: West Bank Separation Wall

A look at one of the most controversial walls in the world today.

It matters little what they are called – walls, barriers or fences – the intention is the same: to redefine human relations into “us” and “them”.

The Walls of Shame series is about division, and about the barriers that men erect, in calculation or desperation, to separate themselves from others, or others from them. When diplomacy and conciliation fail, this is the alternative, and not since medieval times have walls been so in demand around the world.

Tens of new walls, barriers and fences are currently being built, while old ones are being renovated. And there are many types: barriers between countries, walls around cities and fences that zigzag through neighbourhoods.

This series looks at four examples of walls around the world. It examines the lives of those who are living next to them and how their lives are affected. It also reveals the intention of the walls’ designers and builders, and explores the novel and artistic ways walls are used to chronicle the past and imagine the future.

Taking its name from John F Kennedy’s reference to the Berlin Wall in his state of the union address in 1963, this series examines four walls: the one on the American-Mexican border, the West Bank wall, the Spanish fence around Ceuta, and the walls inside the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

West Bank: The Reality of the Separation Wall

In this episode of Walls of Shame, we look at the plight of Palestinian farmers whose land has become inaccessible because of Israel’s 700km security wall.

Most ancient cities had so-called “protective” walls – and while we see some around Jerusalem dating back to the 16th century, the separation barrier erected by Israel not only looks different – it serves a completely different purpose. 

Israel claims the wall is vital for its security, but according to the International Court of Justice it is in clear violation of international law.

This episode also looks at the real intention of those who first drew its outlines and their highest priority was not the security of Israel. 

Update: Since this film first aired in 2007, Israel has continued to expand the wall more than 200km, despite condemnation from the UN and most recently the EU.

It’s a measure that has continued to cause outrage, even from some of  Israel’s own citizens. Among these protesters are Israelis. We spoke with Jonathan Pollack, an Israeli activist who is part of the movement against the wall.