Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Concealing Palestinians: A telling advert on the Separation Barrier

Posted by worriedlebanese on 13/07/2009

Haaretz published a story on Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi  joining calls to scrap this television commercial which he finds offensive. He explained to Reuters that “the advertisement presents the barrier as though it were just a garden fence in Tel Aviv”, while it actually “separates families and prevents children from reaching schools and clinics”.

Don’t you find his stand rather irrelevant? It will certainly not bring about any kind of change. The advert will keep on running (which is inconsequential) and the wall will stay standing. And Ahmed Tibi will keep on making ineffective political moves meant to reassure his constituency on his political stands.

I found this advert amazing because it reveals the Separation Fence’s greatest effect on Israeli society. It conceals the Palestinian issue and materialises the policy of ethnic separation that limits all kinds of interactions between the two intertwined people. In this advert, soldiers play football with Palestinians without seeing them. And the audience doesn’t see them either. What do those football playing Palestinians look like? Are they children or adults? Are they men, women or a mixed gender group? How many of them are there? Are they from a well-to-do or a destitute neighbourhood? Are they dressed in football clothing or in everyday clothes? Nobody knows (except the person behind the surveillance camera). All these questions remain answered. They are irrelevant to the advert. It’s only about Israelis communicating with each others and having fun. As for the Palestinians they are hidden from our view; they are better unseen as long as they remain harmless and keep throwing the ball back; The promise of the separation wall.

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