Palestinian Refugees Welcome The Pope: The story behind the iconic photo at the Separation Wall

An activist from Aida Refugee Camp walks with spray paint in hand toward the Wall near Rachel's Tomb, on May 24th, 2014 after the military gate and a section of the sniper tower were painted over in preparation for Pope Francis’s visit to Bethlehem. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

An activist from Aida Refugee Camp walks with spray paint in hand toward the Wall near Rachel’s Tomb, on May 24th, 2014 after the military gate and a section of the sniper tower were painted over in preparation for Pope Francis’s visit to Bethlehem. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

In an effort to resist the Bethlehem Municipality’s efforts to beautify a section of the Apartheid Wall where Pope Francis was scheduled to pass, Local activists from Aida Refugee Camp gathered to paint slogans both against Israeli occupation and welcoming His Holiness, on the eve of his arrival, on May 24th 2014.  

“Why do we have to make it beautiful?  It’s not,” said 23-year-old Mohammed Abu Srour, one of activists involved.

Activists from Aida Refugee Camp paint slogans on a newly painted portion of the  Apartheid Wall and military gate near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem on May 24th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Activists from Aida Refugee Camp paint slogans on a newly painted portion of the
Apartheid Wall and military gate near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem on May 24th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

The group successfully maneuvered past a few PA security personnel to reach the wall and defame a newly painted military gate, a sliver of the wall and the paint-bombed sniper tower near Rachel’s Tomb.  Israeli soldiers opened the gate after several minutes and activists backed off before soldiers retreated and closed the gate.  One activist started again tagging, “Welcome Pope,” but was chased down the street by several Israeli soldiers who emerged from a re-opened gate.

A Palestinian activist runs after painting the sniper tower near Rachel's Tomb in  Bethlehem on May 24th, 2014, as Israeli soldiers attempt to detain him. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

A Palestinian activist runs after painting the sniper tower near Rachel’s Tomb in
Bethlehem on May 24th, 2014, as Israeli soldiers attempt to detain him. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Palestinian Authority officials then addressed the Israeli soldiers at the gate, proceeding to talk for several minutes.  When asked why they were present, they responded by saying they were only there to secure the visit of an Orthodox leader that day, who would eventually pass in a six car caravan through the gate around 1:10 PM.  Soon after, armed PA soldiers blocked the sidewalk to anyone trying to reach the gate.  The activists went home, and their slogans in red and black popped against the uniform canvas of slate grey.

That evening, word came to Abu Srour that their work had been painted over. 

 Israeli soldiers stand beside a recently painted slogan after opening the military gate  near Rachel's Tomb in response to Palestinian activists from Aida Refugee Camp May 24th,  2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Israeli soldiers stand beside a recently painted slogan after opening the military gate
near Rachel’s Tomb in response to Palestinian activists from Aida Refugee Camp May 24th,
2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

 PA soldiers block the sidewalk toward the Israeli military gate near Rachel's Tomb,  after Palestinian activists were chased away following their activity on May 24th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

PA soldiers block the sidewalk toward the Israeli military gate near Rachel’s Tomb,
after Palestinian activists were chased away following their activity on May 24th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

The next morning, the Pontiff arrived via helicopter, landing near Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and the children of Aida Camp assembled.  They marched toward the repainted section and waited for “Baba” to arrive.  Beats from the Aida Youth Center’s Keshafa program, a youth drum line, echoed through hot air.  Local leaders from the Al Rowwad and Lagee Centers dispersed signs to children declaring prisoner rights, dreams and freedom, the usual.  

A few minutes before Pope Francis arrived, spray cans surfaced and activists from the previous day’s action began to paint over the newly, newly-painted wall and gate.  Mohammed climbed his friend’s shoulders and because of the frenzy, security personnel could not be bothered. “They painted all of the wall silver, you couldn’t see anything we did yesterday, so we decided to write again for the Pope.  We want him to pay attention to our issues as normal Palestinians,” explained Abu Srour.

Mohammed Abu Srour, 23, writes slogans on the military gate which was painted over twice in preparation for Pope Francis's visit May 25th, 2014. The completed slogans read, "Pope, we need some1 to speak about justice," and "Pope, Bethlehem look like Warsaw Ghetto." (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Mohammed Abu Srour, 23, writes slogans on the military gate which was painted over twice in preparation for Pope Francis’s visit May 25th, 2014. The completed slogans read, “Pope, we need some1 to speak about justice,” and “Pope, Bethlehem look like Warsaw Ghetto.” (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

And then, in a glass-covered pristine white pick-up truck, he came.

“I didn’t expect the Pope to go down and start to read the sentences and meet the children and people there.  He shocked us,” said Abu Srour.

He stepped onto the red-carpeted stairs of his custom ride and down onto the severed Jerusalem-Hebron Road, where he walked deliberately toward the gate, as if it was actually planned (it was not according to his security team).  One must have a little more experience with His Holiness to know if his face is always so somber.  But it was somber.  He didn’t ignore the two young girls to his right but his solemn focus was on the gate, the Wall.  Initially, he seemed to express awe as he reached out his hand to touch just under Abu Srour’s hurried handiwork,  “Pope, Bethlehem look like Warsaw ghetto.”

Pope Francis prays at the military gate in the Israeli built Apartheid Wall on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Pope Francis prays at the military gate in the Israeli built Apartheid Wall on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Pope Francis backs up slowly with his head bowed after praying at the military gate in the Israeli built Apartheid Wall on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Pope Francis backs up slowly with his head bowed after praying at the military gate in the Israeli built Apartheid Wall on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

He stayed for several minutes as guards kept the distance between him and the mostly cell phone photographers jockeying for a shot.  An Israeli soldier could be seen observing the situation from the sniper tower above.  

His head bowed, the Pontiff touched his forehead to the monolith before slowly retreating back to his car and continuing his route to the Nativity Church.  It was an undeniable picture of solidarity for Palestinians who have suffered under the wall and its effects for a decade now.  

Later he performed Mass to thousands of locals and baseball-capped international tourists in Manger Square, along with Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage, though they left early.  The massive backdrop depicted the Pontiff greeting Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus, swaddled in an unmistakable Palestinian keffiyeh.  Walkways and rooftops teamed with press, but it was his prayer at the 8-meter high Apartheid Wall that made headlines from the BBC to TIME.  

That afternoon, he made his way to Dheisheh Refugee Camp for a ceremony and meeting with mostly children from the camp including participants from neighboring Azza and Aida camps.  As his caravan entered the camp, local kids clamored against a metal barrier for a glimpse and held signs that read in English, “Every year, Israel arrests over 500 children.”  After the ceremony, he was whisked away in a helicopter, rising slowly above families who had brought chairs and children to their roofs to wave.

Children from Dheisheh Refugee Camp wave as Pope Francis passes in a caravan on his way to meet with young refugees from Bethlehem's three camps, Dheisheh, Aida and Azza, on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Children from Dheisheh Refugee Camp wave as Pope Francis passes in a caravan on his way to meet with young refugees from Bethlehem’s three camps, Dheisheh, Aida and Azza, on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

The Pope supports President Mahmoud Abbas, but Abu Srour says the Palestinian Authority’s stance on promoting a two state solution doesn’t address his circumstances or hopes as a refugee.

“My original village – it’s in Beit Nattif.  It’s outside the West Bank.  They occupied it in 1948 and by that I will lose my right as a refugee.  I will represent my case better than anyone. Because I feel – I live in that situation everyday.”   

Still, no one seemed disappointed with “Baba’s” unexpected display.

“We just thought he will pass in front of us and just say hi or something and go to the Nativity Church, but he came and stood in front of the Wall and prayed there…it was a good thing for us as Palestinians.  He’s supporting us and he respects us and he respects our suffering,” Abu Srour said.

Original artwork welcoming Pope Francis, created by residents from Dheisheh  Refugee Camp hangs at the entrance to the community on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

Original artwork welcoming Pope Francis, created by residents from Dheisheh
Refugee Camp hangs at the entrance to the community on May 25th, 2014. (Photo: Kelly Lynn)

About Kelly Lynn

Kelly Lynn is a freelance photojournalist based in Bethlehem in Occupied Palestine.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged

{ 52 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    Great work. So effective.

  2. just says:

    Many thanks Kelly– wonderful photographs………and story.

    I truly believe that Pope Francis made an indelible mark that will not be forgotten. He educated millions with his simple and somber prayer. In that he acknowledged before the Palestinians (and the whole world) the horrific circumstances perpetrated and perpetuated by Apartheid, Occupying Israel on the Palestinian people. In that he gave succor and hope and grace.

    Nobody can take that away. Those activists from Aida Refugee Camp and Abu Srour are incredibly brave and determined– many thanks to them for writing truth for all the world to see! The resilience of the Palestinian people is awe inspiring.

    • Citizen says:

      Really amazing, the last minute graffiti fight between the imprisoned non-Jewish natives and Israel’s painters to block awareness from the world.

  3. Kay24 says:

    It would be great if anti occupation groups, and those fighting hard to bring the attention of the world, to the plight of these unfortunate Palestinian people, put up huge posters of the Pope in front of this occupartheid wall, with the very noticeable red words stating “Free Palestine”, every place possible. The usual cries of anti-semitism will be lame and sound even silly.
    No words are necessary, but it will be a powerful message.

    • just says:

      I think they should name it the “Wall of Israeli Terror” (built on OUR land)

      • Kay24 says:

        If they do have any anti Israeli slogans, then it would be attacked as usual, and called anti-semitic.
        With no words, but simply this awesome picture, no one can call the Pope “anti-semitic”, on the other hand perhaps the meanies, will.

    • Giles says:

      The Boston Globe decided yesterday would be a good time to run another large article on the Catholic Church’s sex scandals. And to not that the Pope had paid homage to the founder of Zionism in Israel. No mention of this.

      • Shmuel says:

        The Boston Globe decided yesterday would be a good time to run another large article on the Catholic Church’s sex scandals.

        Same in the Italian press, because Pope Francis made an important statement on the subject upon his return from the Holy Land (calling the abuse of children by priests a violation of the body of Christ, and comparing such acts to black masses).

        And to not that the Pope had paid homage to the founder of Zionism in Israel.

        I too wish more attention had been paid to that shameful visit, but it doesn’t seem to have registered, beyond a line or two in the general accounts of the Israel part of his trip.

  4. I hope these activists are not arrested now that their photos are public…

    • me too C&D. just wow. what a great event and so awesome kelly lynn was there to record it all.

      that photo of Mohammed Abu Srour, along with his words, just makes my day.

      • Historic indeed. I am sure that he is satisfied with the result of his efforts. Perhaps Kelly could have blurred all the faces in the photos to protect them from incarceration. We know what Israel is capable of.

  5. A powerful reminder that simple graffiti can be a remarkable act of courage.

  6. Elisabeth says:

    I am going to be blasted for this on this site, but I will say it nevertheless: The Warsaw ghetto was something different.
    Many people defend comparisons of Israeli polices with Nazi policies by saying that they resemle the EARLER STAGES of Nazism, and that people who disagree with such comparisons focus too much on what Nazism ended in: Extermination.
    With this, I can agree to a certain extent. But I cannot think of the Warsaw ghetto as belonging to such ‘earier stages’.
    Apart from this, I am not sure that such comparisons are helpful: It alientates many people of good will. If I already have the instinct to recoil …

    • Shmuel says:

      I agree, Elisabeth (although I don’t think you will be blasted).

      • Citizen says:

        What are you saying? Do we have to wait until a people is gassed in ovens to act to protect them? Did we do that for the black South Africans under apartheid? Did we do that for those suffering in the Jim Crow South? I don’t get the point of what you are saying.

        • Shmuel says:

          Do we have to wait until a people is gassed in ovens to act to protect them? Did we do that for the black South Africans under apartheid? Did we do that for those suffering in the Jim Crow South?

          How does objecting to a specific comparison on both historical and pragmatic grounds amount to inaction or indifference? Was the Warsaw Ghetto comparison a sine qua non for the two struggles you mention?

          I don’t get the point of what you are saying.

          Ditto.

        • Shmuel says:

          I will answer you, Shmuel, by linking to this article …

          Sorry, Citizen. I must be thick today, but I still don’t get it. The Palestinians (in general, as well as these particular graffitti writers) have my solidarity and my respect. Saying that a certain comparison is wrong and unhelpful (in a western context) doesn’t change that.

    • With regard to “Jewish policy” the Nazi period consisted of three stages — up to 1939, with the stress on getting rid of Jews through emigration; 1939–1941, a period of transition; and 1941–1945, the genocide. Ghettoes were established toward the end of the first period (Berlin — December 1938) but mostly during the middle period (Warsaw — mid to late 1940). Is it possible to distinguish between ghettoes as such and their eventual function as holding zones prior to extermination? That depends on when the decision to exterminate was taken. Historians disagree on that, but probably the decision had not yet been taken when the first ghettoes were established.

      In terms of the logic of ethnic cleansing, ghettoes are useful devices for separating and imprisoning populations and making them “invisible.” If it is decided to proceed from ghettoization to expulsion and/or extermination, ghettoes facilitate those processes. From the point of view of the ethnic cleanser, ghettoes are better than nothing but they don’t provide a “final solution” because the undesired people are still there, they are not completely invisible, they can still make trouble. And full ethnic purity has not yet been attained. So ghettoization is fraught with the possibility that under “favorable” circumstances it may “spill over” into expulsion or — if that is blocked — extermination. All this applies just as much to Israel’s Palestinian ghettoes as it did to Nazi Germany’s Jewish ghettoes. So whatever stage may have been reached the essential parallel is undeniable.

      • Elisabeth says:

        I am not quite sure that I can follow you logic to the end.

        Let me just say that I do not think Israel intends to literally exterminate the Palestinians of the West Bank. And people were not herded into the West Bank as far as I know (unlike the people in the Warsaw ghetto), but rather ‘herded out’.

        Gaza is a different story: 70% of people who live there now, descend from people chased out of what is now Israel. But I still think comparisons with the Warsaw ghetto are not EFFECTIVE and USEFUL. They may appeal to a small group of already convinced people, but it is better to just say what the horrible situation is like. Why insist on imperfect comparisons, if they distract people from the reality of NOW?

        By the way, did you read the exchange between Salman Abu Sitta and Uri Avneri on this topic?
        link to avnery-news.co.il

        • Elisabeth says:

          With ‘ this topic’, I mean the herding of people into Gaza.

        • I too do not think Israel intends to exterminate the Palestinians. But there is a body of scholarly literature according to which the Nazis up to about 1940 did not intend to exterminate the Jews either. They were intent on getting rid of the Jews, but their preferred method was expulsion — perhaps to Madagascar or to a Jewish zone in Poland. When these impractical schemes fell through the intent to expel escalated into the intent to exterminate. Well, the Zionists want to get rid of the Palestinians and their preferred method is expulsion, but what happens if a new Nakba is attempted and runs aground? The danger of genocide is inherent in the situation, even in the absence of intention (up to a certain stage).

          Of course, all comparisons are imperfect. If they do distract people from reality let’s not use them. But sometimes they are so striking that it’s hard to ignore them.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      I disagree completely.

      First, you mention that what “Nazism ended in: Extermination.” Okay, fair enough. But how do you know that that is not what the Zioinists have in store for the Palestinians? I wouldn’t put it past some of them. They already refer to the birth of babies as a “demographic threat” or “problem.” Now, I don’t think it likely, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that they could never attempt it, or something similar to it.

      But, second, and more importantly, I think you are misconstruing the foundation for the assertion. The assertion isn’t “This is just like the Warsaw Ghetto in every respect, so if you didn’t like that, you shouldn’t like this.” Rather, it’s more aspirational. It is basically saying, what good is humanity where we don’t even learn the lessons of the Warsaw Ghetto?? (the real lessons — not the b.s. nationalistic nonsense spewed by the Zionists to excuse their evil) What good is humanity if we permit the massive crime against humanity known as the occupation of Palestine to exist?? What good is all the high-minded talk about rights and humanity if we permit people to be oppressed simply because they are of a certain ethno-religious background in the land coveted by a different ethno-religious group??

      That’s why it’s apt. And, frankly, if any “people of good will” can’t or won’t get that (or can’t just move on if they refuse to get it), then I have serious doubts that they are “people of good will” in the first place.

    • Giles says:

      Elis. You start off by saying the situation if different than the Warsaw ghetto so I read your comment expecting at least some support for your assertion. But you gave us nothing. Can you list a reason or two as to why such comparisons are false. And don’t give us that “comparisons and not helpful and alienate people of good will” nonsense. That is a standard tactic of Zionist apologists; rich privileged Jews on campus are made” uncomfortable” and feel “marginalized” by all the discussions of Israeli apartheid is something we hear all the time

      • Shmuel says:

        You start off by saying the situation if different than the Warsaw ghetto so I read your comment expecting at least some support for your assertion. But you gave us nothing. Can you list a reason or two as to why such comparisons are false.

        From Wiki (sorry, but in this case, I think it will do):

        The Warsaw Ghetto … was established in the Polish capital between October and November 16, 1940, in the territory of the General Government of German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity residing in an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi). … During the next year and a half, thousands of Polish Jews as well as some Romani people from smaller cities and the countryside were brought into the Ghetto, while diseases (especially typhus), and starvation kept the inhabitants at about the same number. Average food rations in 1941 for Jews in Warsaw were limited to 184 calories, compared to 699 calories for gentile Poles and 2,613 calories for Germans. … Hundreds of four- to eight-year-old Jewish children went across en masse to the “Aryan side,” sometimes several times a day, smuggling food into the ghettos, returning with goods that often weighed more than they did. Smuggling was often the only source of subsistence for Ghetto inhabitants, who would otherwise have died of starvation. … Over 100,000 of the Ghetto’s residents died due to rampant disease or starvation, as well as random killings, even before the Nazis began massive deportations of the inhabitants from the Ghetto’s Umschlagplatz to the Treblinka extermination camp during the Grossaktion Warschau, part of the countrywide Operation Reinhard. Between Tisha B’Av (July 23) and Yom Kippur (September 21) of 1942, about 254,000 Ghetto residents (or at least 300,000 by different accounts) were sent to Treblinka and murdered there.

        Stating that this is a “different situation” hardly minimises Palestinian suffering and the injustices they continue to endure. I can understand why a Palestinian living under occupation would scribble something like that on the Apartheid Wall (particularly in Bethlehem), but that doesn’t mean that the comparison is apt or serves the Palestinian cause in Europe or America.

        • Walid says:

          Shmuel, amazing and distressing at the same time how your Wiki description of the Warsaw Ghetto applied so much to Gaza. The small cramped area with so many people in it, the ridiculously low calorie count diet, the smuggling, the diseases and the starvation with echoes of Dov Weisglass’ “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger” and the infamous Martin Kramer opus at Herzliya 2010 in which he advances that the West should stop feeding the entrapped Gazans to cause their birthrate rate to drop thus avoiding having “superfluous young men” being born to become terrorists. In everything the Zionists do, you can find traces of ways and means picked up from the Nazis; what the Zionists are doing to the Gazans is not much different from what was done to the Jews of Warsaw.

          Video of Martin Kramer at Herzliya elaborating on Gunnar Heinsohn’s theory on superfluous young men; he gets into the meat of it around the 2 minute mark of the 6 minute video:

          • Shmuel says:

            Walid,

            The elements that do correspond to Gaza are indeed “amazing and distressing”, but Gazans are not limited to rations of 184 calories, a quarter of the population has not died of starvation, disease and random killings, and the remaining population has not been deported to death camps. Life in Gaza is harsh and the injustices terrible (beginning with the ethnic cleansing of the rest of Palestine), but it is still very much “different from what was done to the Jews of Warsaw.” Although worse than the WB, the comparison is still both historically wrong and politically unhelpful (except perhaps among the convinced, as Elisabeth has pointed out).

          • Walid says:

            Of course, Shmuel, Gaza is still a far cry from the horrors of Warsaw and in Gaza they can still fly their kites on the beach. I still see parallels although with a marked difference in degree of misery. Sorry, I didn’t know that this discussion had started with something written by Elizabeth. But I still hold to my conviction that the Zionists are treating the Palestinians in an inhuman manner.

          • just says:

            All the more heinous because of the history…..

            What, should we wait until it gets “as bad”? It’s insane and horrible right now.

            At any rate, I’ll leave it to the Palestinians to express themselves with graffiti as they see fit.

          • Shmuel says:

            But I still hold to my conviction that the Zionists are treating the Palestinians in an inhuman manner.

            A conviction I share.

          • Shmuel says:

            All the more heinous because of the history…..

            I don’t buy the “Jews of all people …” argument.

            What, should we wait until it gets “as bad”? It’s insane and horrible right now.

            Comparisons have to do with the way things are (insane and horrible are fitting descriptions), not the way they might be.

            At any rate, I’ll leave it to the Palestinians to express themselves with graffiti as they see fit.

            So who’s stopping them (apart from the occupation forces)?

        • Citizen says:

          @ Shmuel

          Do you question that the government of Israel literally white washed the Palestinian graffiti on the wall pointing to Jewish oppression of Palestinians in the days before the Pope’s visit? Do you question that, post-Nuremberg Trials, Geneva, etc, whatever Israel does is looked at through a universal microscope of Never Again? What’s your point, Shmuel?

          • Shmuel says:

            Do you question that the government of Israel literally white washed the Palestinian graffiti on the wall pointing to Jewish oppression of Palestinians in the days before the Pope’s visit?

            No.

            Do you question that, post-Nuremberg Trials, Geneva, etc, whatever Israel does is looked at through a universal microscope of Never Again?

            No.

            What’s your point

            That the comparison between the WB and the Warsaw Ghetto is inaccurate and counter-productive. That’s it. No more, no less.

      • Elisabeth says:

        I thought the history of the Warsaw ghetto was rather well known Giles, but Shmuel has pasted some information above. 100.000 deaths by starvation and random killing alone, before the deportations to Treblinka even started.
        I don’t know about rich privileged Jews on American campuses, but I do know that memories of the persecution are still very much alive here in Europe, where it all happened. And that people find comparisons of the West Bank (and even Gaza) with the Warsaw ghetto over the top. Exaggerated at best, and offensive at the worst.
        That is what sticks in their minds when they hear such comparisons: That the comparison was off.
        The desired effect should be, awareness of what is happening to the Palestinians NOW.

        • Elisabeth says:

          Palestinians can express themselves about their situation in the way that they see fit.
          But if I were a European newspaper editor who was sympathetic to the Palestinians, and wanted to make sure that the gesture of the Pope got maximum effect, I would choose a picture that included the ‘Free Palestine’ graffiti.
          If I wanted to discredit the Palestinians viewpoint, and diminish the effect of what the Pope did, I would choose a picture that included the ‘Warsaw ghetto’ graffiti.
          That is just the reality of how this works, and definitely over here. (But I also think the comparison is inaccurate.)

  7. alfa says:

    Wait for BO, Blitzer-Oren, ‘pallywood’ spin.

  8. lysias says:

    Pope John Paul II’s visit as pope to Poland was a major step along the way to the fall of Communism and the Berlin Wall.

  9. wes says:

    Pop goes the weasel,and the weasel goes pope

    (LOL)………what a joke and now it turns out the 2 shot dead have arisen……….sounds like a biblical story i once read.

  10. ritzl says:

    Wow! An anatomy of how little acts become really BIG moments. Cool, cool, cool.

    I guess this would be the working definition (and outcome…?) of sumud. That living spirit must scare the pants off the Israeli ptb’s.

    Thanks so much for documenting this. I think there’s a movie in it somewhere, a la an uplifting, but no less suspenseful, “24 Hours.”

    PS. Sorry for the cynicism in such a positive thread, but I’ll bet a milkshake that the IDF/SB soldiers “behind the gate” who didn’t control the graffiti get disciplined quicker and more severely than the ones that shot those two kids dead.

    • just says:

      I don’t think it’s “cynicism” at all. You are most probably correct.

      (what flavor milkshake would you like?)

    • Citizen says:

      You are right. If you can’t control literal whitewash of the problem, you will be disciplined. What’s truly amazing is the courageous Palestinian youth that painted over the whitewash just in time. And then the equally courageous Pope who melded with them at the wall. Even Sheldon Adelson could not stop either.

      • ritzl says:

        Whether it’s the “moral arc of the universe,” political entropy, bottled genies, or something else, you’re right Citizen. Justice is the natural evolution and it can’t be stopped.

  11. alfa says:

    I have no doubt Baba is completely aware how useful the image is, looks like he thinks on his feet, like a good general. It’s tantamount to committing the RC Church to supporting Palestine, that’s a lot of political power. The image should be used over and over, established and integrated in public art and culture as a icon of the era. Artist, a call to arms!

  12. Kathleen says:

    Thank you Kelly for the background story. That picture of the Palestinian kids says it all. The Pope gave them hope for a few minutes.

  13. Daniel Rich says:

    @ Kelly,

    Thank for this great job.

    Given the following remark, I think the pontiff’s action might be labeled a ‘bull’s eye.’

    “Obviously the Palestinians laid well prepared traps for the pope which were used as part of their instrumentalisation of this visit for propaganda purposes.” – foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor

    • Citizen says:

      Interesting way of putting that Palestinians don’t give up when Israel literally repaints to oblivion the Palestinians cause.

  14. The Palestinian graffiti artists are not only courageous, they are also very clever.
    Given that the first draft of their message was too long-winded and not targeted at the right audience, they cleverly lured the occupation authorities into respraying their canvas for a second and final attempt.

    First draft message (erased):
    “Free our prisoner”
    “The wall fall”
    “The refugees want to go home”

    Final message:
    “FREE PALESTINE”
    +2 messages addressed directly to the Pope

  15. alfa says:

    The Pope’s entire trip has been a running battle from it’s inception, the Zionists working to control and extract as much propaganda, while the main purpose of the Pope’s Pilgrimage, a religious function. The “well prepared traps” were the Zionists, the Palestinian’s were improvised. It is insulting to be used, doubly so when used in a lie. Pope certainly displayed his refusal to used by Nutzi when he was correcting him on Jesus’s Aramaic language, just part of that running battle. I agree the Pope won big.

  16. Accentitude says:

    Excellent article. Though I worry over the safety of these activists. I wish you hadn’t published their names. It’s disgusting how deep the cooperation between the PA and the IDF really goes.

  17. Walid says:

    Connivance would be a better word.

  18. wes says:

    walid says

    “connivance”…………willingness to allow or be secretly involved in an immoral or illegal act.

    link to atimes.com

    link to atimes.com