Israeli security defense wall murals Banksy

A glimpse behind the security wall in Israel

by Michael on October 11, 2012

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Whenever there is a wall dividing one group from another it provides an irresistible canvas to artists, both political and otherwise. After seeing the murals on the “peace walls” in Belfast and the surviving sections of the Berlin Wall, we were curious to venture into the Palestinian territories to see the other side of the Israeli security wall.

To see the other side of the Separation Barrier we traveled to Bethlehem, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority, via Arab Bus #21 which leaves from the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The ride takes only a half hour but truly enters another world. There is no checkpoint when entering the Palestinian territory but this changed on our return. Then the bus stopped at a checkpoint to re-enter Jerusalem so Israeli soldiers could come onboard to check papers.

Security wall in Israel murals Banksy

The British graffitti artist and political activist Banksy has made his mark in the area, although not on the actual wall. He painted the masked man throwing flowers at the top of this post and the girl above who is frisking a soldier.

Security wall in Israel murals dove Banksy

Another Banksy mural. The dove of peace wearing a bulletproof vest while being targeted through a rifle scope.

Security wall in Israel murals man walking

In many ways the security wall looks like the Berlin wall with its guard towers and graffiti. The neighborhood along it has become desolate, similar to what happened along the wall in West Berlin.

Israel defense wall guard tower

Israel defense wall mural Marianne

This mural borrows the imagery of Marianne storming the barricades during the French Revolution.

Israel security wall mural Wheaton College

Visiting the wall seems to be a right of passage for some American college students.

Israel defense wall mural rhino

A hippo breaks through the wall.

Israel defense wall street view white van

belfast peace wall catholic side

Note the two photos above. The first is of the wall in Israel from the Palestinian side. The second is a photo we took last year of the “peace” wall that still separates the Catholic and Protestant areas in Belfast. The only difference is the graffiti.

murals on security wall in israel

murals security wall in Israel

Israel defense wall billboard

One entrepreneur has put the wall to good use with a billboard for his shop.

Israeli defense wall house surrounded

This house is surrounded on three sides by the wall. Someone told us it is available for rent as a vacation rental.

Israeli defense barrier olive trees

Ironically, the wall cuts through a grove of olive trees. Olive branches are a symbol of peace.

Israeli defense wall along road

In some sections the wall projects out over the road.

Hopefully the situation will be peaceful enough one day so the wall is no longer needed.

Click the link for photos of the murals of Belfast.

And here’s a look at the current peace wall in Belfast.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete October 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Um, guess you didn’t see many hippos in Africa? Or maybe the ones you saw look like rhinoceroses.

All kidding aside, these are great shots.

I would love to see the realtor-spin on the listing for the vacation house…”peaceful, yet in the heart of the action…cozy, intimate neighborhood with lots of privacy…Fenced yard makes it safe for the kiddies to play…”

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Larissa October 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

It was pretty powerful seeing them up close. Also to know that we could cross back and forth at will, while for others it is a major event.

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Adam October 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm

So glad you visited Bethlehem and you didn’t go on a guided tour from Israel, but instead took one of the local sheruts. Love those buses (they’re so cheap)!

Beautiful photos. Such an important thing to see.

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Michael October 15, 2012 at 8:51 am

Thanks for the comments Adam.

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Fred Allen Barfoot October 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

Perhaps your most powerful images to date. I still cannot imagine how humans can live with wall mentality. Thanks for sharing.

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Michael October 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

Thanks Fred. It felt similar to the walls in Belfast but the separation is so much stronger in Jerusalem.

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Barb October 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

Hi Michael & Larissa,

I hope that you are both well.
These murals are awesome. The creativity of artists has no boundries for expressing itself. These works are fabulous and thought provoking.

Wishing you both well.
Barb

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Michael October 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

There’s similar artwork all over the world but is more poignant on wall like this.

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Suzy October 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

These murals are really remarkable. I have been to both Berlin and Belfast and really gained a lot of insight while perusing those walls.

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Michael October 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm

It really did compare to visiting Berlin and Belfast.

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Charu October 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Remarkeable murals…very powerful! I’ve never been to Berlin but have been to Belfast and the street art and graffiti speak louder than any manifesto.

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Michael October 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

In some areas it’s hard to resist a blank wall.

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Tiny Girl with Big Bag October 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

Very nice shots :) I’ve just been to Chile where wall painting has also a big role in everyday life, it was very interesting to see that on the other side of the world people think the same.

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Michael October 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

Thanks Tiny Girl,

We noticed that street art is very popular in Argentina too.

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Anonymous March 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I hope soon the Palestinians go back to their land as Palestine not israel.

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banksy girl balloons April 3, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Very good blog post. I certainly appreciate this site. Stick with it!

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