“Just like they brought the Berlin Wall down, so too will this wall come down.”
Detail #3, The Separation Wall, Seen from Bloomfield Gardens, Jerusalem 2011
© Leslie Hossack
The question of inclusion and exclusion permeates my photographs of modern Israel and historic Berlin. This theme underscores every image, but it is most obvious in photographs of walls: the walls of the Old City, the walls of Masada, the Western Wall, the Separation Wall, and of course the Berlin Wall.
Some observers have compared the Israeli barrier to the Berlin Wall, but the provocation, purpose and impact need to be examined separately. To borrow from Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall, one was built for “walling out” and one for “walling in.” The Israeli barrier is still standing, but the Berlin Wall fell November 9th, 1989. René Backmann, author of A Wall In Palestine, writes: “I still can’t believe that what the entire world saw fall down yesterday in Berlin could be a solution tomorrow for Jerusalem.”
In 2007, a group of German bishops toured Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. They were upset by the Jerusalem Wall, the concrete barrier seen in this photograph. While crossing into East Jerusalem, Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, said: “This is something that is done to animals, not people.” He was referring to the wall and the fortified checkpoints where Palestinians are subjected to questioning and demands for Israel-approved documentation. The Archbishop, who grew up in Communist East Germany, added: “For me it is a nightmare. I didn’t think I would see such a wall again in my life… Just like they brought the Berlin Wall down, so too will this wall come down.”