Show me something that will shock me, I told Amira Hass. So Israel’s only journalist in the Palestinian West Bank – or Palestine, if you still believe in so unorthodox a word – took me down a road outside Ramallah that I remember as a highway which led to Jerusalem. But now, just over a hill, it deteriorates into a half tarmac road, a set of closed, rusting shop doors, and garbage. The same old summer smell of raw sewage creeps up the road. It lies, green and gentle, in a pool at the bottom of the wall.
Or The Wall. Or, for more cautious scribes, the “Security Wall”. Or, for more squeamish souls, the “Security Barrier”. Or for even more slovenly pens, just the “Barrier”. Or, if you’re really worried about the political implications, the “Fence”. The Fence – like the friendly wooden posts and crossbeams you might find along the edge of a field. Or – if you really want to frighten the TV editors and anger the Israelis – the “Segregation Wall” or even the “Apartheid Wall”. Why, soon we will be talking about the Palestinian “Bantustans” that lie cut off by The Wall and the Israelis-only roads, and the vast empire of Jewish settlements on Arab lands.