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Culture

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters denounces Israel's 'Walled Horizons'

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-19

Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters presents a film with the United Nations Wednesday in east Jerusalem. Entitled "Walled Horizons", the 15-minute-film strongly denounces Israel's controversial barrier separating Israel from the West Bank.

AFP - The United Nations on Wednesday premiered a film narrated by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters on the plight of Palestinians living in the shadow of Israel's controversial separation barrier.
   
The 15-minute film entitled "Walled Horizons" was made in honour of the fifth anniversary of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) opinion that the barrier's meandering route through the occupied West Bank is illegal.
   
The film opens with a wide shot of Waters, the songwriter behind Pink Floyd's hit 1979 album "The Wall," walking along a towering concrete segment of the barrier beneath the painted silhouette of a giant lying on its back.
   
"The reason for walls is always fear, whether the personal walls that we build around ourselves or walls like this that frightened governments build around themselves," Waters says.
   
"They are always expressions of a deep-seated insecurity."
   
Israel credits the barrier, which it began constructing in 2003, with helping to halt the wave of deadly suicide bombings unleashed on the Jewish state at the height of the latest Palestinian uprising in 2002.
   
The Palestinians view it as an "Apartheid Wall" that carves off large segments of the West Bank, splitting families, separating farmers from their land and slicing east Jerusalem off from their hoped-for future state.
   
The filmmakers interview a Palestinian farmer who has lost several dunams (hectares) of land to the wall and a family caught in the "seam line" between the wall and the Green Line delineating territories Israel occupied in the 1967 Six Day War, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
   
The film concludes with a shot of scores of Palestinians packed into a fenced-in corridor waiting to pass through an Israeli checkpoint.
   
"It fills me with horror, the thought of living in a giant prison," Waters says as he spray-paints "We don't need no thought control" on the wall.
   
Organisers of the project said they made the film out of concern that international awareness of the barrier's effect on Palestinians may be waning five years after the court's decision.
   
"It is first and foremost a reminder that the world's highest court has essentially said you cannot build a fence on your neighbour's yard," Yohan Eriksson, the Finnish director of the film, told AFP.
   
Israel has long accused the United Nations of bias towards the Palestinians.
   
But Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Palestinian refugee agency, insisted that "as well as being a powerful piece of advocacy, the film is also a very balanced piece of journalism."
   
The film features top Israeli security officials involved in the wall's construction who defend the overall project as a desperate response to the violence of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which erupted in 2000.
   
It also includes footage of the aftermath of suicide attacks carried out prior to the wall being built.
   
Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said he hoped the virtual disappearance of such attacks in recent years would encourage Israel to rethink the barrier.
   
"The number of suicide bombings has dropped from about 38 a year to one in the last two years," he said ahead of the premiere.
   
"This might be an opportunity to reflect if the reasons still prevail for continued construction at the expense of tens of thousands of Palestinians."
   
According to UN figures, Israel has so far completed 413 kilometres (256 miles) of the planned 709-kilometre (435-mile) barrier, a network of walls, barbed-wire fences, trenches, and closed military roads.
   
When completed, 85 percent of the wall will have been built inside the West Bank, leaving 9.5 percent of the territory and 35,000 Palestinians between the barrier and the Green Line.
 

Date created : 2009-08-19

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