Opening 12 May 2005
Writing credits: Simone Bitton
In June 2002, the Israelis began construction of a “security fence” between the Israeli and Palestinian territories. Originally it was to follow the “Green Line” established after the 1967 war, but the Israelis often bend the line in their favor, accumulating land that should be on the Palestinian side. The Israelis refer to this new version of the division as the “Seam Line”. The truth is the wall divides villages, families, Palestinian farmers from their farmland, Palestinians from precious water, and yes, Arabs from Jews.
The documentary follows the construction of the wall, in many places 16-foot-high reinforced concrete, and in other places an electronic fence. In both cases there is a no man’s land, heavy coils of barbed wire, guard towers and soldiers with loaded guns. To Germans it is all very familiar. The occasional passages through the wall are opened capriciously when it suits the Israelis, and those Palestinians with work permits on the Israel side have great difficulty getting to work. People breach the wall constantly wherever possible and at risk to their lives, of course.
Simone Bitton speaks both Hebrew and Arabic fluently, and she interviews people on both sides of the wall. All the men and women she speaks to deplore it; no one finds that it brings security; all fear the eternally divisive quality of the barrier. In this film, only the Israeli Defense Minister is unequivocally in favor. Bitton herself, in a video conference with a psychiatrist in Gaza, says she feels she is going mad. The psychiatrist replies, “No Simone, you are normal; it is the others who are abnormal. Anyone who thinks this wall is a good idea is abnormal. Our world is now controlled by extremists on both sides and you, who are normal, are caught in the middle.” (Adele Riepe)