Whitewash

We met today with leaders from Ittijah and Ma'an, both serving Palestinian communities in Israel (that is, those Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, commonly known as "Arab Israelis.") Since the beginning of the Oslo process, these communities are facing new challenges - the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories do not see them as part of the same community, and the Israelis see them as part of the wider Arab masses. More about this tomorrow. After seeing the Wall for several days from the Palestinian side, our drive up to the Galilee took us past the Wall from the Israeli side. Alongside one highway, it is colorfully painted with arches, through which one can see stylized views of Israeli homes and communities. Alongside another, the ground is landscaped so that a gentle hill leads up to the top of the Wall, giving it the appearance of being only two or three feet high (rather than the twenty-five foot monstrosity that you see from the Palestinian side). In other words, it is very easy for the average Israeli to believe that there is no Wall, or that it isn't that bad.

The Wall has been built. It is being extended. It offers no peace for Israelis outside it, and no justice for Palestinians trapped within it. And the government of Israel is smearing it with whitewash, covering it with frescoes, hiding its inhumanity. I pray for the day that we will be able to say, "The Wall is no more." May it come soon.