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Art And Resistance In The West Bank Part 1

2171 words - 9 pages

. The Israeli military occupation of Palestine has caused unspeakable suffering for Palestinians. However, dating back to the first Intifada (1987-1993), Palestinians have used various models of resistance, ranging from courts, weekly demonstrations, to the use of art such as sculpture, murals and graffiti, to resist Israeli occupation with their Israeli and International supporters. Polly Pallister-Wilkins argues that the “wall has created a localized opportunity for Palestinians to resist.” The use of art in Palestine has been one of the most effective tools deployed to critique the Israeli occupation, while simultaneously projecting their identity to the world. Creating art on the Separation Wall offers individuals a means to express personal anguish within restrictive power structures. The anonymity of the art shows the freedom of expression that is uncensored though illegal. As Julie Peteet points out, graffiti, sculptures and murals enabled Palestinians to intervene in power relations by providing alternative discourse through visual and written tropes. As David Hanauer indicates, the value of street art such as graffiti, murals and sculptures lies in its ability to promote public literacy through the voice of the marginalized. Empowerment through art thus allows Palestinians to shape and change the perception of them by the world as violent stone-throwing, bomb blasting individuals or powerless victims. Art serves as a model of cultural resistance and defiance. Art on the West Bank wall has also played a crucial role in mobilizing Palestinians into peaceful resistance.
Nature of Oppression
In 2002, the Israeli government sanctioned the construction of a “security fence” with the justification that it is protecting the Israeli civilians from Palestinian suicide bombers (militants). The construction of the wall began during the Al-Aqsa Intifada that lasted from 2000-2005. By 2003, Israel began its construction of an elaborate 708-kilometer barrier, with an electronic fence, walls, ditches, and a watchtower. However, Israel’s new “security fence” was built beyond the internationally recognized Palestinian-Israeli borders (the Green Line of 1948). As a result, massive parts of Palestine became annexed to the Israeli side of the wall. Since its construction, the wall has had shifting boundaries that continue to today to engulf more Palestinian territories in the West Bank, which illustrates that the barrier more than a security protocol serves a colonial role of expansion and conquest. Palestinian’s began losing their lands and homes, dating even as far back as 1967 as the Israeli government incentivized Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Illegal settlements in the West bank continue to today and have become a common occurrence despite the outcry from the international community. Despite the International Court of Justices claim that such settlement are illegal, Israel continues to move more Jewish people to the occupied territory,...

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