Recently, a friend/coworker tipped me off to VBS (Tilzy.TV page), the Web TV branch of hipster empire, Vice. I trust his taste, so made my way over. The first clip I happened upon was an episode of this VBS travel series that culminated with carnal footage of a donkey-loving farmer in Cartagena, Columbia. Hot. The next clip brought me to a somewhat more pressing issue – the 440 mile long wall separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories.

Continue watching the series here.

Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi takes the cameras, one at the hands of an Israeli, and the other on the shoulder of a Palestinian (not for impartiality… but for logistics) to the front lines and, from the outset, makes no secret of his angle (anti-separation barrier), as the 6-part series documents the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the physical separation, which began in 2002.

### The images here focus mostly on the contrast between the landlocked, resource-starved, land-robbed Palestinians of a West Bank ghetto and the bikini-soaked  beaches of bright ‘n’ shiny Tel Aviv. The images of maimed and bloodied innocent Tel Aviv cafe-goers and bus-riders of the late ’90s and early ’00s didn’t make the cut.

Initially, I was turned off by the apparent bias of the piece. But once I embraced the reporter’s position as just that – one man’s position – I got more comfortable, and as usual, gave the everyday viewer the benefit of the doubt as one who likely recognizes, “Well, there must be more to the story.” And of course there is.

This other side comes in an interview of Itamar Marcus, in which he mentions that this wall was the only solution to the aforementioned violence. The statements, of course, have little impact in a piece where the producer, Rob Semmer, and the Palestinian cameraman, Emad Bornat, take rubber bullets to the stomach and leg respectively.

In the end, Alvi plainly states his sobering and indisputable perspective: “You realize just how irreconcilable the situation is… How fucked it is.” Emad, the Palestinian cameraman sincerely believes in peace for all people, and regularly demonstrates peacefully with his townspeople in Bil’in (whose lives have been all but destroyed by the wall), yet there are hordes who would turn themselves into bombs in hope of taking out as many Israelis in the detonation. A wall with an intrinsically ugly face has been built and, yet, has arguably led to relative quiet on the bright side of the road.

It all leads back to the common question of recent history, and that of many situations before it: How does an establishment deal with many indiscernibly evil minds, among many more that would welcome a constructive exchange and, in turn, reconciliation? Racially profile at the cost of the liberties upon which the Israeli state was supposedly founded, or continue the conversation and simply hope for exhaustion of the bad seeds through an open forum which, to this point, has proven fruitless?

Check out the clips and decide for yourself. 

They provide a half-hour’s summary of a centuries’ old conflict told mostly from the Palestinian perspective. Truly educational, but I’d be interested to see the flip side.
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