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CRIMES AND CORRUPTIONS OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER NEWS


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Newsweek: The Palestinians call them apartheid walls. They are a nightmare
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MIDDLE EAST

‘Our Dreams Are Dead’

Violence in Gaza gets the headlines. But the slow suffocation of the West Bank should get more attention too, writes a Middle East traveler.

Saif Dahlah / AFP-Getty Images
Palestinians wait at an Israeli checkpoint in a village north of the West Bank city of Jenin
By Linda Bird Francke | Special Guest Columnist
Apr 29, 2008 | Updated: 3:27  p.m. ET Apr 29, 2008

‘Our Dreams Are Dead’

Violence in Gaza gets the headlines. But the slow suffocation of the West Bank should get more attention too, writes a Middle East traveler.

Linda Bird Francke
Special Guest Columnist
Updated: 3:27 PM ET Apr 29, 2008

The walls stand 30 feet high, huge slabs of gray cement, snaking their way through the West Bank for almost 500 miles. They block roads, bisect villages, cut off kids from their schools, farmers from their fields, families from relatives. "Welcome to the Ghetto, Walls of Tears" reads one of the many graffiti. "The Dumb Wall Is Screaming," "Make Love, Not Walls," read others. And my favorite, in huge orange letters on the road to Ramallah: "Control*Alt*Delete." Around Bethlehem the walls have become a protest art gallery—an oversize white donkey with tears running down its cheeks, a dove wearing a flak vest with a bull's-eye painted on its breast, a young girl frisking a soldier. The Israelis call them separation walls. The Palestinians call them apartheid walls. They are a nightmare.

To spend a week among the Palestinians in the West Bank, as I recently did, is grounds for antidepressants. Not half enough has been written about what is going on there. The violence in Gaza gets almost daily press—more border attacks and rockets launched into Israel, a new retaliatory body count (including, just this week, a mother and four young children killed during an Israeli operation in northern Gaza)—but the slow suffocation of the Palestinians in Jerusalem, in Bethlehem, in Ramallah, in every village in the West Bank, gets scant attention. "Our dreams are dead," says Ali Asamil Abkhrka, a bead vendor outside a Bethlehem restaurant. "There can never be peace with the Israelis. Never." A Palestinian policeman in the Church of the Nativity echoes him: "The wall closes the earth, closes the life. Everything is going backward."

I was in Jerusalem with friends to visit our old friend Karim Nashashibi. Karim, a Palestinian, recently retired from the International Monetary Fund in Washington and is now financial adviser to Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. Karim could have had any number of high-paying jobs in the United States but felt an obligation to help Fayyad, his friend and predecessor at the IMF, work toward peace with the Israelis. It seems a thankless job to me, but Karim's distinguished family's roots in Jerusalem stretch back five centuries, and his grandfather was mayor in the 1920s. Still, he's up against it.

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