Mayor Ron Nachma
A Palestinian man walks towards the security fence, which separates the West Bank town of Mesah from nearby Israeli settlements. (David Gilkey/NPR)
An Israel Defense Forces Jeep
An Israeli soldier stands guard at the Qalandiya checkpoint along the security wall dividing Jerusalem from Ramallah. (David Gilkey/NPR)

Overview: Life Along Israel's Barrier

By Eric Westervelt

Most everything about Israel's West Bank barrier is disputed; Israelis and Palestinians disagree on its name, its route and its impact.

Israelis call it the "security barrier" or "the good fence." Many Palestinians call it "the apartheid wall" or the "racist fence."

Young conscripted Israeli soldiers guard its network of checkpoints and roadblocks and patrol its walls and fences. Palestinians regularly protest its existence with peaceful demonstrations, rocks and -- sometimes -- armed attacks. For Palestinians, much of the concrete in the barrier has become a canvas for political graffiti, satire and, on occasion, art and humor.

Israel's new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized an economic peace process with the West Bank Palestinians and downplayed any talk of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Arabs say the barrier is one of the biggest impediments to economic growth. Israelis maintain it's vital to the Jewish state's security to thwart suicide bombers.

This four-part multimedia series explores how the barrier has affected the lives of those who live there today -- profiling workers, businessmen, settlers and soldiers.

It introduces Palestinian laborers, farmers, small-business owners and school kids who, daily, have to navigate the barrier and its checkpoints to get to work and school -- and to see family and friends. It also looks at Jewish settlers who have mixed feelings about the barrier and who want to be included in the route of the controversial project. And it profiles other settlers who were left on the "wrong" side of the wall who now want to leave the West Bank -- if compensated by the government.

The series captures the realities of life along the barrier, including the struggles of the people who find good and bad in it everyday.

Series credits:
Reporter - Eric Westervelt
Photographer/Multimedia Producer - David Gilkey
Sr. Multimedia Producer - Keith Jenkins
Designer - Nelson Hsu
Producer - Maureen Pao
Editor - Meghan Collins Sullivan
Radio Editor - Doug Roberts

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