Before the Wall is an ongoing project that aims to portray the last generation of Palestinians born before the completion of the Israeli apartheid wall. These images serve as a somber reminder of the brutal reality in which Palestinians live, imprisoned by an oppressive wall that extends over 700 kilometers and towers up to 8 meters in height.
Approximately 62.1% of the wall is complete, a further 8% is under construction and 29.9% is planned but not yet constructed.
The children, youths and expectant mothers featured in this project were placed in those areas where construction is ongoing and nearing completion. They physically stand before the wall as victims in silent protest.
By focusing on children, this project seeks to remind the viewer of the negative impact the Israeli occupation and its policies have on Palestinian children. Travel restrictions and lack of access to medical supplies impact their physical and mental wellbeing. They live under constant threat of Israeli attack and even their most basic rights, including to education, health, and leisure, are violated on a daily basis. The majority of Palestinian children have been exposed to indirect violence in the form of bomb detonations, gun ire, tear gas, instructions by armed military vehicles, and strictly-imposed curfews. They are constantly exposed to a visually aggressive environment where checkpoints, heavily-armed soldiers and, most-recently, the Apartheid Wall are normalized.
A study about the influence of violence on Palestinian children conducted by the Adler Research Center in Israel found that 70% of Palestinian children in the West Bank have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. Another study, done by the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, found that 94.6% of Palestinian children have witnessed shocking incidents like bombings and murder. Unfortunately, the majority of Palestinian children do not have access to professional mental health support and remain confined within the open-air prisons that are the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Apartheid Wall is the natural backdrop to life under occupation. Perspective and perceptions of the Wall play a crucial role in the psychology of occupation. Through the medium of photography, Before the Wall represents both a spatial and temporal analysis of the Wall’s impact. This relationship between subject and circumstance brings into perspective the rupture in time and geography that will be caused by the Wall’s completion, and the separation it will create between what is left behind it and before it.