"First of All This Wall Must Fall"
by Uri Avnery
This slogan was born spontaneously, opposite the Wall in Kalkiliya, at the place where it becomes a fence and turns east, penetrating deep into Palestinian territory. On the other side of the wall the Palestinians were demonstrating. We were looking for a short rhyme to broadcast by megaphone. A common effort brought forth the seven words that carry the whole message.
True, this is not the wall of Jericho that could be destroyed by the sounding of trumpets. The people who are building this obstacle want it to stand for eternity, much as "united" Jerusalem is the "eternal capital of Israel". The Israeli Right has no concept of a period of time less than eternity. But among Israeli Leftist there are also some who believe that the wall has created an "irreversible" situation.
Not me. Because I remember other "irreversible" situations. And other "eternities", too.
Our Wall is frequently being compared to the Berlin Wall. Visually and politically, this is a reasonable comparison. Also because the "Berlin Wall" was not only an urban monstrosity. It was part of the German section of the Iron Curtain, cutting all of Germany into two and extending from the Baltic Sea in the north to the border of Czechoslovakia in the south almost a thousand km, approximately the same as the planned length of Sharon's monster.
In Germany, too, it was a huge obstacle, a combination of walls and fences, watchtowers and firing positions, "death zones" and patrol paths. It divided the country, scarred the landscape and separated parents from children. An awesome monster, arousing fear and loathing, a symbol of power and finality.
Especially finality. Everyone who saw it felt that this was a point of no return in German history, that the separation was eternal, that there was no point fighting against it.
Indeed, serious politicians based their policy on the wall's permanency. Leftists and Rightists resigned themselves to the fact. No serious commentator questioned it. The situation was "irreversible".
And then, one day, like a completely unforeseen eruption of a volcano, it just happened. The terrible wall disappeared, as if by itself. A communist minister made a slip of the tongue, the police had a moment of indecision, a crowd gathered and the "irreversible" became eminently "reversible". The situation had changed. Like the dinosaurs, the terrible monster disappeared from the earth.