We watched Pink Floyd’s The Wall in a small, bare and shabby cinema called Semadar, The Vine Blossom in the quaint German Colony of Jerusalem. Emptied of ethnic Germans by the Jews in 1948, it still preserves its old stone houses roofed with red tiles, gables with immured plaques quoting Psalms inscribed in Gothic script, ivy creeping up its masonry and the mysterious Templars’ Cemetery beyond heavy gate.
Semadar, named after an expression in the Song of the Songs, was a favourite talkies’ spot in our Paradise Lost, nostalgia-bewitched pre-war Palestine, when it was frequented by British officers, and the young cosmopolitan gang of the Holy City’s best and brightest: Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Germans and native Palestinians. Many marriages crossing borders, religious affiliations and political passions were formed in its romantic small yard: a Sephardi Rabbi’s daughter found herself a Scots flier, and a Nashashibi, scion of this noble Muslim Arab family, met a perky Left-Zionist girl. Semadar has not changed; it survived our Fall, the Partition, to become a fixture of Amos Oz Jerusalem-based novels like fossil ice survives global warming.
Semadar remained a decent if rundown place for family outing in 1980s, the blessed days before video, TV and computers took over our free time, and we often went with the kids to the movies. However, the Wall was a flop. In the middle of the film, there is a horrifying shot of a mouth gaping to devour you, the spectator.
This scary boneless but teeth-filled mouth covered the whole screen towering above our heads. It was too much for our seven-year old son, and he rushed out with a piercing yell. But outside, the foyer was plastered by posters with the same gaping mouth! It took a few hours to calm him down, and this symbol of the Wall, the dreadful devouring mouth, remained buried deep in my memory.
It returned with a vengeance like a released spring today, when I ran into the Wall after a beautiful walk. For many hours we had driven and walked the soft Biblical hills of the Highlands, waded high green grass, picked purple lupines, crossed a brook still full of water, and of friendly full-faced and fully-dressed girls and boys who splashed each other and us with youthful abandon, and passed by their parents in the nearby village of Anata who were preparing a picnic repast and called their cordial salaams. We greeted a monk going down from his cliff hermitage of St Chariton and received his blessing; chased away a flock of four or five shy gazelles with white-spotted crupper; lit a candle at a Byzantine image of the Madonna in Taybeh village church, where according to carefully preserved local lore Christ spent his last days before the Passion. We drunk their famous Taybeh draft beer in the Stones, an airy two-tiered café in urbane Ramallah, with a tweed-clad professor of philosophy from Bir Zeit university, a wryly-smiling architect, a lapsed Jew from England with an uncanny resemblance to the younger Noam Chomsky, and a ravishing dark beauty of a French-speaking Palestinian girl brought up in Tunisian exile and schooled in Paris.
As we drew towards the Shepherds’ Fields, we run into the Wall. It cut into the tender Bethlehem countryside like a colossal devouring maw, and nature disappeared, marshmallow-like. Dozens of Caterpillars were tearing at the hills, uprooting fig trees and vines, crushing rocks for some monstrous Margarita. They demolished old peasant houses and medieval towers, and denuded the slopes walked by the Virgin. The Wall was built like a wide four-lane highway, flanked by 20-feet-high double steel mesh fences, topped with high tension wire, interspaced with cameras, sharpshooters’ positions and a few gates. It was the most formidable prison camp perimeter fencing I have ever seen, and it skirted the village houses tightly, like a tipsy tango dancer holds his partner.
The peasants looked through the mesh on their olive trees, still there, still in full modest bloom, but already separated, removed, unavailable. The peasants were locked in, as secure as in any jail, beyond this Wall. Their fields, their pastures, their springs of water were locked out. A gate was guarded by an Israeli soldier; it connected them to their livelihood, to their land, to their freedom – to be opened or closed by army decision. Always looking for a profitable angle, the army instituted a two-dollar fee per person per time for opening the gate. If these Palestinians wish to dally with their olive trees, let them pay for the pleasure.
In some places the Wall was huge concrete construction, stealing away the landscape, the view, locking the villagers in an extended prison court. But the mesh wall was even worse by affording a tantalising sight of the land they once called theirs. The Wall runs for hundreds and hundreds of miles, surrounding villages, separating them from their land, and devouring the beautiful nature of Palestine.
This Wall was not a new invention. I have seen it before. Not far from the sacred Mount Carmel there was an Armenian village. It was settled by Armenian refugees fleeing the Kurds’ fury in 1915. The always hospitable Palestinians helped them build their houses and leased them the land, for these Armenians were peasants from the shores of the Lake Van. In 1948 their village became part of the Jewish state. The Jews did not kill them, did not expel them, they just surrounded the village with a Wall, and strangulated it. The living village lost its lands and was turned into a prison with one always guarded – by the Jewish army – gate. The Armenians lasted ten years. In 1950s the last Armenian sold his house for a song to the Jews and fled.
The Wall had a precursor: the system of ‘for-Jews-only’ highways. While even Haifa or Afula has no bypass road, every Arab village has a bypass: a broad highway encircling and limiting its development. Hundreds of Palestinian houses were demolished, thousands of acres devastated while building the bypass grid by recipe borrowed from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy. It was done for no visible reason, as tiny Jewish settlements did not need this multi-billion investment for ‘security purpose’. Moreover, newly-built roads were usually blocked by the army. Now, with the Wall rising higher and higher, the bypass network begins to make sense: it was Stage One of devastation and imprisonment.
The Wall will leave the olive groves in the hands of settlers, wrote ever-so-rational Uri Avneri. But the settlers do not need olives and do not intend to till the land. They prefer to torch the trees. The settlers are not the cause, but a rationalisation of the cause: desire to depopulate Palestine and kill its nature.
Could it be different? The presently implemented programme of victorious Zionism was portrayed in a 1930s essay, The Iron Wall by Vladimir Zhabotinsky. But the roots are deeper, for the Wall is the utmost manifestation of the Jewish spirit and it fits the Jewish state. There are dozens of words for ‘wall’ in Jewish tongues, probably as many as Eskimo have for ‘snow’. Jews’ sacred symbol is the Wailing Wall; their favourite street is Wall Street. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Christians and Muslims build vertical pyramids, towers, cathedrals to connect Heaven and Earth; but the self-deifying Jews need no Heaven or Earth, and the first thing they build – from London to Minnesota – is eruv, a symbolic Wall to separate them from non-Jews. The only extant inscription from the Jewish Temple (destroyed forty years after Christ was tried in its Walls) is not the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, or moral teachings, but a piece of a Wall with warning: “Goy, if you cross this Wall, you will have to blame yourself for your painful death”.
The most important part of Jewish teaching is the maxim, ‘build a Wall around the Torah’. It enhances every prohibition of the Law by a dozen of additional prohibitions. A Jew is forbidden to gather fruits on Sabbath, but ‘the Wall’ forbids also climbing a tree, lest one be tempted to gather its fruits. Well, what about fruitless birch or fir? It is banned for the same reason: this Saturday you will climb a birch, next Sabbath you will climb an apple tree, and in a month’s time, you will pick an apple and commit a real transgression.
Sharon’s Wall is a Wall around the Torah, for if you let a goy wander freely he will sooner or later be able to kill a Jew. Sharon’s Wall is a Temple Wall, for a goy who crosses it will have to blame himself for the bullet of a sharpshooter. Sharon’s Wall is a Wailing Wall for Palestinians, and it is the Wall Street for the Jewish building contractors. The commanding voice is that of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau: the Wall is built by the sweat of impoverished Palestinian workers, guarded by Russians, paid for by Americans to jail their brothers.
The contractors are into a Bonanza, a remake of their previous endeavour, the fifty-feet-high Bar Lev Wall, constructed on the shores of Suez Canal in 1970s and demolished by the Soviet-made water cannons of the Egyptian Third Army of Marshal Sadat on October 6, 1973. The only part of the Wall that survived the 1973 war was the villas of the contractors.
This Wall is the real Roadmap of the Zionists, for when the Wall is completed, Palestine will be ruined and its happy dwellers turned into refugees. But the fate of Jews will not be enviable, either, for the Wall is everywhere. Every shop, every restaurant, every pub in once jolly Tel Aviv has its living Wall: a Russian or Ukrainian boy imported to guard it. For four dollar per hour they stop the bombers with their bodies and are buried beyond the cemetery Wall. We, Israelis, are frisked ten times a day, as we go to the shop, the office, to work or to have fun. There is no building you can enter without a search. Thus the Holy Land has become a high security prison for all its dwellers, Jews and non-Jews alike.
It could be predicted. The Jews weren’t locked by evil strangers within the ghetto walls, wrote Vladimir Zhabotinsky, they chose it as foreigners in China chose to live in their separate settlements. Fifty years later, Israel Shahak made another valid observation: the walls of ghetto were breached from outside, by the state, while the Jews weren’t keen to leave. The visible walls were breached, but the inner walls remained. The Jewish state is enactment of the paranoid Jewish fear and loathing of stranger, while the Cabal policies of Pentagon are another manifestation of the same fear and loathing on global scale.
Not only individuals, whole societies and cultures can be insane. This important discovery was made by an American social scientist Ruth Benedict, a close and admired friend of Margaret Mead and Franz Boas. Her Patterns of Culture (1934) remains one of the most widely read books in the social sciences ever written. In this work, Ruth Benedict described different Native American cultures and characterized the Pueblo Indians as “placid and harmonious”.
The Jewish social scientist Franz Boas provided her with data showing “the self-aggrandizing, megalomaniac character of the Kwakiutl”, while she found the Dobu Islanders were “paranoiac and mean spirited”.
This last definition fits the Jews as culture to a boot. What was this Cabal-instigated obsessive search for WMD in Iraq if not a fit of paranoia, fear of a cheated goy with an axe? Israel, the country of perennial body search, is the ultimate of paranoid societies, according to Ruth Benedict. The US is succumbing to the same disease under the present ruling clique of Leo Strauss’ followers: it builds walls and disarms far away lands, as well as their own citizens, for the Jewish paranoia is extremely contagious.
It is useless to fight the Wall, as it was useless to fight the illegal settlements, as long you ignore the cause. ‘The Wall is in the heart’, ubeliba homa, sung the Jews as they conquered Jerusalem in 1967. The Wall is at the heart of the problem, and this is the Jewish state in Palestine. Young and not-so-young peace activists at the hilltops along the Wall still wave the slogan “Two States” at the bulldozers, though the bulldozers implement the dream of Two States, my nightmare: a Jewish state and a chain of reservations for the Goyim, the “Palestinian State”. Whoever says, ‘an Independent Palestinian State aside the Jewish state’, turns a blind eye to the Wall. The Wall is an operation of separating the Siamese twins, and only the strongest one will survive it. Discussions of the Wall run into sand in Israel: vast majority of Israelis, from Labour to Likud, support it, while ‘peace-loving’ Israelis are the strongest supporters of the Devouring Maw.
The Wall mocks the innocent souls inflamed by the Roadmap, another doomed plan to separate the Twins. Sharon is not worried for it provides enough delays to complete the Wall, it puts the onus of peacekeeping on the Palestinian side, it gives him full freedom of action in exchange for some empty promises.
The peace activists hope to alter the course of the Wall a bit here and there. But it won’t help, for the Wall will always separate people and their land. Wherever you put it, it will separate the refugees in Deheishe refugee camp from their houses ten miles away in Deir a-Sheik. It will separate the Christians of Taybeh from the Holy Sepulchre and the Muslims of Yassouf from al-Aqsa. It will separate the Jews from the holy sites. It will separate the Highlands peasants from their working places in Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Sharon’s Wall, this unmitigated disaster, provides a rare opportunity to observe the true nature of the Jewish State, and to call for its dismantling. Not the Wall, silly! The Jewish State.