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First-Hand Reports from Israel/Palestine

Children, Artists Paint Mural on
Apartheid Wall at Mas’ha

International Women’s Peace Service
Photos by Dalit Baum
Mas’ha, West Bank, Palestine
July 18, 2004

Watch the video in RealPlayer | Windows Media Player.

Photo of the mural of flowers, birds, and grass painted on the wall.
Photo by Dalit Baum
(Click photo to enlarge.)

For almost nine months, Maisa, Assia, Ishak, Nidal, and Shaad have looked out their front door to see an 8-meter grey wall where their village used to be. On Sunday, the children worked with muralists from San Francisco’s Break the Silence Mural Project to transform their view into one of hope and freedom. Where dark concrete loomed, a yellow bird now soars from a lush green valley dotted with red flowers.

The family of Hani Aamer lives surrounded by the Segregation Wall in Mas’ha, Salfit District, West Bank, Palestine. Their house sits between the two main gates into the village, and they let themselves and others in and out through a gate which sends an alarm to the Israeli army every time it is opened. Although the Wall in Mas’ha is a fence, last November, the army erected a concrete wall, 24 feet high and 40 meters long, directly in front of the house. For months, the family was allowed no visitors at all, but recently, after their situation was publicized on Israeli television, the army commander said that they could have periodic visits from family members. However, all the family’s visitors must be approved by the army.

On Sunday, July 18, 2004, the two visiting muralists came to Mas’ha with members of the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) and friends from the neighboring village of Biddia bringing paints and designs to create a mural on the Wall. Soldiers at the gate stopped the activists and took their passports, saying they had to obtain permission for the visit. After about 20 minutes, the family was allowed to open the gate for their visitors and the art party began. Over 20 children and five adults helped to design and paint the mural, which took six hours to complete.

The Aamer house was the site of the last Mas’ha Peace Camp in August 2003. At that time, forty-five Israeli, international and Palestinian activists were arrested trying to block demolition of the Aamer’s animal shed for the sake of the Wall.

Today’s direct action went peacefully, however, as the army watched but decided not to interfere with the painting.

Susan, one of the visiting muralists, said she and IWPS organized the art party because “The Aamer children have been so traumatized by their imprisonment and the constant military presence in their home. I wanted to help them reclaim and transform their space.”

“When you come here to paint with the children like this, you make them feel that they can live,” Hani Aamer told her.

Photographs by Dalit Baum

Click any photo to enlarge.

Little girl painting a flower.
Little girl painting a flower.
Little girl painting.
Women and children painting the Apartheid Wall.
Children paint the wall with brightly colored flowers, suns, and other images.
Children paint the wall with brightly colored flowers, suns, and other images.
An American artist shows her fingers covered with paint.
An American artist painting a purple and red frog.
The finished mural.
The view of the mural from inside the Aamer home.

Read more first-hand reports.

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Videos & Multimedia

Amnesty International Video:
Dina Goor, Yesh Din

3/20/2004 demonstration in Karbatha, Palestine – activists shot

Watch International Court of Justice’s Hearings on Barrier

UK Guardian Interactive Graphic on Wall

View footage from 2/6/2004 demonstration at Georgetown University, USA

View footage from 12/26/2003 demonstration in Mas’ha, West Bank—Israeli activist, Gil Ne’amati, is shot

View footage from 11/9/2003 demonstration in Ramallah, West Bank

View footage from 11/9/2003 demonstration in Zbuba, West Bank

MORE footage from 11/9/2003 demonstration in Zbuba, West Bank

News Without Borders 8/24/2003 Presentation on Israel’s Wall

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Israeli government decision aims to strip Palestinians of their properties in East Jerusalem

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More Articles on the Wall

The Death of Bassem Abu Rahme

Witness for the Defenseless

American priest and nun join Palestinian non-violent resistance in Gaza

Nonviolent Palestinian Resistance

The Palestinian Resistance: Its Legitimate Right and the Moral Duty

More Articles on Resistance

Additional Resources

Booklet – The Wall Must Fall

Documentary – The Israeli Wall in Palestinian Lands

Poster

International Court of Justice Ruling

Electronic Intifada on the Wall

Palestine Monitor on the Wall

Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance

Charter of the United Nations

Organizations

Stop the Wall

Americans for Middle East Understanding

End the Occupation Coalition

Al Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

International Solidarity Movement

Secular Peace Groups

American Muslims for Palestine

A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)

More Religious Peace Groups

International Humanitarian Groups Condemn the Barrier

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

World Council of Churches

B’Tselem

International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative

Oxford Public Interest Lawyers

The National Lawyers Guild


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