Francesco Jodice, ‘What We Want, Bethlehem, T62’, 2010, Gazelli Art House

The settlements in the Occupied Territories of Palestine were built primarily by an Arab-Palestinian workforce. In the area surrounding Bethlehem, behind the wall towards Jerusalem, there are endless Israeli settlements that make the West Bank an ever more problematic political geography. Before the Israeli check-points at the foot of the wall, mile-long queues form in the morning where thousands of Palestinians wait hours for daily permission to enter Israel and build the settlements on a territory that should in fact be Palestinian. This happens every day, while the peace process is hampered by the discussions surrounding a hypothetical withdrawal of settlers and an equally hypothetical destruction of the settlements, the wall and buildings; monumental dismantling operations that may never take place. Bethlehem today is bordered by the wall and a vast area which, according to international law, is illegally occupied by Israel. In 1982, the municipality of Jerusalem ordered the annexation of Al-Walaja and other countries, but refused to accord Israeli citizenship to the inhabitants, who therefore still retain their West Bank identity card but cannot build houses in the area, while children are denied the right to an education in Jerusalem schools. Today the wall incorporates and protects the construction of residential settlements like the medieval hillside fortifications comprising residential buildings that look more like casemates with a garden.

About Francesco Jodice