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The Wall of Absurdity


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This is not a pretty sight for tourists, and it is far worse for those Palestinians confined to life behind the new Apartheid Walls. Camera: M8. The last picture was taken with my other camera but I'm including it here because it is a metaphor for life behind the Wall. This boy was sandwiched between two walls playing in Behtlehem, walled within walls, how ironic. For more pictures of my recent trip to Israel Palestine please visit my website. Copyright Wilfredo Benitez.




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I watched all 26 on your website. Absolutely stunning. Given the harsh light conditions (not to mention all the other probelms!) very difficult to make as well. Which lenses did you use for the photo's of people? Did they all easily agree to be photographed?


Hans Grünfeld

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Thank you for your comments. I mostly used a Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron ASPH and 50mm Hexanon lenses. I also used a Canon 5D with a 24mm - 105mm lens. All the subjects agreed to be photographed except the Israeli soldier, and some of the more candid street shots. To "shoot" the soldier I put the camera (M8) on my knee and shot the picture from the aisle of our bus sticking my knee out into the aisle. He never noticed what I was doing which was a good thing. I could not have done that with the Canon, I would have been spotted. For that shot I had to guess the distance so it is a bit soft. Often the lighting in the Middle East is very harsh, that was a challenge.




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wow wow wow....


wilfredo, forst about your foto. they are very nice. sometimes, when u make good photo u heat it big time :))

as for their journalistic value - one big shit. one big kitsch. not even close to intelegent observation of the situation. ya, sure im israely, but believe me, im also super educated (including in politics and history) so what im gonna say is not only patriotic motivation to my country, but mainly a closer insight to the situation.


40 years ago, when arab countries wanted to dfistroy israel - u know what happened - the glory of 6days war. still the prime learning in any military academy or strategic stadies etc.


we occupied those place. we were the winners. remember that . we won. after the war, neither egyptians didnt wanted to get back gaza nor jordanian super smart king husein dfidnt want the west bank. ok, with the egyptians it was clear, they were humilated with the loss, but the king hussien knew exactly why he refuses to take responsibility there. peacefulness with israel - he knew very well that he will be peacful with israel wether officially or not, but having that ticking bombs of west bank and their poor leadership under his responsibility????


what happens now?? u know what happens.. they kill each other. we were out from gaza as a first step for normalization and they started to kill each other. see what happens - the distroy houses of each other leaders. they fire the anti-tank-rockets and rpgs on each other offices and privet houses. assesinate each other. u tell me - can u trust this kind of leadership any way. they have alwasy been little family tribes, and even now they are just like that. man, doesnt sound beautiful but that is what it is. hamas people cannot control their own militzias properly. evrybody for its own.


now beautiful souls... how apertheim - oh israel, poor palestinians....

wilfredo, what would happen to u if not the order that israely soldiers do there? good chances that they would cut u to peaces with your leica in your face. no nothing personal.. it is just that some of the militias have orders - to kill everybody. im not kidding.


now about the boy, dont be naive.

i will ask u a simple question:

what kind of friend u would prefer to your son if he is at the same age as that boy in the pic? an avarge israely boy that is equaly developed as very well educated american boy, or palestinian boy where half of them are potential terorists, hardly knowing reading and writting, agitated and brain washed by radical terrorsit groups? u answer to yourself who would be a better friend.


no i dont say that all the palestinians are that way. while saying that many are potential terorist, then even more are poor people that just want peace and prosperity and good life, and fuck, no body gives them the oprtunity to live that life that is more common on the israely side. ya shit, and i feel sorrow for them, but they have to orgnaize themselve first of all, and once and forever.


israel gave them a few historic oprtunities to do that. the good people among them tried and tried, but they were removed from the political scene by their own "brothers", and they lost those oprtunities for normalization each and each time.


so today, with the way they kill each other - it is clear more than ever where is the problem....


dont be neive. study the issue before saysing kitschy journalistic statements

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Guest Bernd Banken
An object lesson to all those folks who draw straight lines on maps to divide different peoples. :(


the experience in my country:


concrete as thick and high as possible doesn't last forever...



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They are great photos which I have enjoyed viewing. Of course they will create discussion, debate and controversy which is the objective of intelligent photo-journalism and must be the highest accolade you can achieve. They have a valuable reportage function, as well.


However, I object to the analogy with Apartheid because I think it is lazy journalism as opposed to acute observation. For example, I could use the same term for other countries that place "walls" between themselves and the outside world but everyone would know that it is a false analogy.


Next time I travel to the USA I plan to do a photo-journalistic piece in the immigration hall about "apartheid" in the America :-)



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I realize that Apartheid is a loaded term, and each is entitled to their own interpretation of what these walls represent for those who live locked behind them. Perhaps the segregation in Israel/Palestine is not as blatant as it was in South Africa, nevertheless the element of segregation and the deliberate attempt to keep Israeli's and Palestinians separate is real and imposed by the stronger of the two. It was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who recognized what he saw in Palestine as Apartheid. I trust his judgement as a nobel peace prize winner. Regardless of what we may call these hideous walls, the impact is the same on the lives of the people who are forced to live behind them. My hope would be that both Palestinians and Israeli Jews would find ways to see a friend in each other, and not an enemy. I came across some truly remarkable Israeli Jews and Palestinians who see no value in further violence from either side and are letting go of the arguments in order to discover the human in the other. When peace comes to the land, I believe it will be because of people like that. Tragically the extremists on both sides don't ever want to see that happen.




You know that I am an Anglican priest. I had a chance to celebrate Mass with a brother Palestinian priest in Ramallah. I'm including a picture here taken by a Jewish friend who was at the church service and to whom I entrusted my M8. I'm the priest on the right. I can assure you that the people in church that Sunday morning were not Terrorists, but even here at home in the U.S., that is the perception, even in our churches. I would encourage you to meet those people in your country that are doing the peace work. Go visit Neve Shalom ( Neve Shalom~Wahat al-Salam ) what an incredible community where Arab Christians and Muslims live side by side in equal partnership with Israeli Jews. This community is living proof that there can be peace between Arab Palestinians and Israeli Jews, they live it.




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ooops wilfredo, no i didnt know that.. my respect to u man...


im a man of peace myself. so what? im serious - so what? the only thing we in israel can do at the moemnt is to make sure that peaceful people in palestine still have a hope that there will be a peace one day. ah we can also get inside again and again and "clean tthe place from terrorists", but then again, how much and how many times we can clean? they also have to do something. be with stronger voices. refuse to let the redical groups washing the brains esecially of the youngs.

ya i know that there are equally good and peaceful people like israelies, wether they belong to community like neve-shalom or not. but they are surrounded to terror each time. we n israel made our steps, at least to stop the buses and caffe and restorant bombings by suicide bombers. is stopping radical terrorists that come to kill civilian people = apertheid???????????


once again, i dont think that solution is that eassy, nor i think that it is impossible. like any rational and civilized person, israely or palestinian, i hope that there will be peace soon. but the main probelem is the social probelm of palestines - the cultural problem. when they will stop making terror summer camps for little kids, when mothers will refuse to bless kids and send to those terror camps, we will know that a cultural change and social healling comes to palestine.

neve-shaloms are super important, but they are not the mirror of the situation, they are ideal we and they have to try to reach. we want and we are ready. politically, mentally etc... they - not neve-shalom people but generally - the palestinian society and politics ??

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Guest Motivfindender

@ vicvic


I think, YOU take us for idiots, don´t you?

Of course, Israel has had EXCELLENT connections to the apartheid regime in South Africa. Astonishing, isn´t it? Victims of rassists cooperate with rassists....

Israel imported not only the A-Bomb, but also the Idea of Homelands. And other things. A "fructual" and intense cooperation over a long time.


"Cleaning" the occupated regions from "Terrorists" means blowing up some Cars or buildings with 90% collateral damage. You have more problems with your own terrorists than with the Palestinians - who killed nobel-priced Jitzhak rabin? A Palestinian? No, your very important part of Israel, the zionistic fundamantalistic ultra-right Rassists. They do everything to stop freedoms as do the other fundamantalists, the Hamas.

the fanatic rassits shouted "Pulsa da-Nura" in front of RAbins house weeks before they killed him - in public, jewish fundamantalists demanded "Din Rodef" which is just the same as the "Fathwa" of the muslim. And they had violent demonstrations, showing rabin in the Uniform of the "SS" !

Your rassists told also Barenboim to stop his jewish-palestinian Classic orchestra, otherwise they would kill him - that was not Hams or Al Fatah. You have a big problem with rassist in Israel, don´t you?


Some months ago, Israel destroyed completely the infrastructure of one of the oldest democracy in near east. That´s north of israel, where "Christian" Miliz killed some thousands of palestinensian refugees in the 80´s , under the glancing eyes of Ariel Sharon, the general who made never Prisoners of War. Now, some months ago, the Israelian Army killed even UNO-Soldiers in south Libanon. That was not a war against Hizbollah, this was a eradication of all infrastructure of libanese civilians.


By the way, many of the old Leaders of your goverment started as terrorists, bombing and killing against english Occupation as have others then and now. That is proved by history. But your historical education seems somewhat unilateral, IMHO.


Don´t take us for fools, vic.... this is not the place for too simple propaganda, is it?!!


"Cleaning for Terrorists" - no, that is only the policy to create 100 times more terrorists by killing innocent civilians and ongoing humiliation of them - the result has been just yesterday in Gaza.


Your "big Wall" is a good symbol for misleading policy for a long time. and - by the way - it is not on the border, it does execute even more occupation of the westbank. there are lots of illegal jewish villages in the westbanks, founded by fundamantalists.


Peace for all kind of peaceful people in near east.

and peace begins with respect for human beings regardless of origin or religion.



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Vic > dont be neive. study the issue before saysing kitschy journalistic statements


You're joking, aren't you?


You may have your own superficial vision of the Palestinian tragedy, but please, don't pretend to be objective.


No offense.


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hi everybody again


gerald, i cannot comment anything to u since the only thing u do is to aplaud to dirk. :) so listen to my response to dirk ok

ah, no, no worries, i dont take it personal, and no offense of course. just discussion


dirk.. u seem to have nice knowledge. it seems that u know even the hebrew termins.

what r u - journalist, or is it just an amature like demogogy :))

if journalizm - then it is really.. how to say it.... one veteran memeber of this forum asked me not to use dirty words. so i will not. i will just say that your journlizm or whatever u call your text stincks. badly stincks.


i will explain why... nothing personal of course.


u give an eclectic collection of historic facts, to impress people here (and maybe yourself too). that is nice and maybe there is also assumption that people here around are idiots to belive those things so eassily.

the problem is that many of the facts r a little irrelevant to the case we deal with (the original wilfrredo stuff), many of the relevant historic facts simply miss here, and those that are presented - even they are a little distorted - again to make impression - speack like impression :))


i will not get into the whole history now, a few books are needed for it (maybe u r able to write at a glance some super short and super comprehensive one, but me not).


i will give my point here once again with some clearification.


1. i have never ever said that my country is perfect. and... i have never ever said that all palestinians are terrorists or bads.

there are not bads and goods in this story, simply because thinking in terms of bad and good is pointless. there is practical RESPONSIBILITY. and there is no theoretical DICHOTOMY

2. the case of Y.Rabin, is one of the most painful national and personal events for almost all israelies wether they agreed with him or not. ask almost every israely, and they will tell u in details where they have been and what they were doing when they heard that Rabin was dead. u know what it means psychologically rite? one big traumatic event. another psychological aspect of this shock is that many people, wether agreed with rabin's attempt or not, just wanted to give a chance to the peace.

3. palestinian were given many oprtunities before and after rabin to do peace and normalization. take an example of super efforts of bill clinton and ehud Barak. where was they Responsibility?? in bombing caafes and buses rite after peace talks?? honestly, their leaders dont give much care about how their people suffer. remember those historic facts that palestinians were walking and working in israely cities? and they were back to their homes not just to feed their children but also to live nice life? ah, they ruined it too.

there are stupid fanat radicalists here too, but their are such a minority both interms of quantity and in terms of influnce too. when israerl will see the oprtunity for peace, they will try it - regardless of those jewish fundamentalists.

but, what about palestinian fundamentalists??? RESPONSIBILITY.

their political and cultural influence in their society is major one. they educated to war and hate etc etc. they educated to uncompramised attitudes, and simply dont leave a theorietic chance for a peace. ask palestinian children, they will tell you what they are studying in schools (even non hamas, not to mention hamas). so again. RESPONIBILITY.

4. THE PR. ya, public relation and media agitation... u want real tragedy of nation. open african affairs and you will see there. but.... african affairs is not as sexy media theme as classic middle east aggitations. there - only people killed, women raped, children fight with automatic guns (not just shoot in air, they fight). those are the cases of real tragic, cause those are the cases that there is not even an OPORTUNITY.

palestinian tragedy is not as big as it is presented by them. they had and they have oprtunity after oprtunity to do peace.

5. RESPONIBILITY of nation to be together, to have leadership that leads them to better future, who defines real national interests. do u find it in palestinian leadership??? see what happens there? this is RESPONSIBILITY. practical responsibility.

6. dont forget that part of this war (inclding within palestine itself) is a cultural war (more in global terms). u know to which of the sides u belong (which of the cultres - western or other kind of fundamentalizm)?


dirk. there are no historic facts without interpretation. and one-deminsional interpretation is ignorance in the best case. not even dichotgomy can help here.


but one thing should be clear. practically, without getting too much into historic debates..

if a nation feels "mature", and it wants its own full freedom and suveregnity, they have to take RESPONSIBILITY over their wealth and national interests, and mainly not to loose oprtunities. crying and yeling in media, getting doubtfull sympathy, and then letting fundamentatlist to rule, will not help. it is not a Responsibility your expect from mature leadership who really cares about the intersts and wealth of their nation. it is dengerous childish political game for that nation.

so it was under nazer (the egyptian leader who wanted to be hegmon of the region and used palestinian case for his pan-arabia interests) and so it seems to be now but with other crazy country that finds a nice use of palestinian case on the expense of the wealth of palestinian nation.


with it, i will say, that israel as much stronger and civilized country, should take responsibility too. responibility for peace and for its own national interests.


next time, if u answer, please without eclectic collection of historic facts... and mainly without one-dimensional observation and dichotomy :)

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It doesn't matter which side of the line you come from, or whether you feel the wall is justified or not, this IS apartheid.


Apartheid : A policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.


Anyway, great shots, regardless of the politics and/or religion behind them.

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