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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Protest Recipe on the Wall

Palestinian spray-paints graffiti message on the side of the separation fence near Ramallah on Tuesday. (AP)_

Last update - 23:53 18/12/2007
Falafel recipe painted on West Bank fence as part of protest
By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press
Tags: West Bank, falafel

"For the rest of the recipe, turn over the wall," reads a falafel recipe spray-painted on Israel's imposing West Bank separation fence Tuesday, in a lighthearted but serious protest against the hardships it causes Palestinians.

A Dutch group called Sendamessage collects money over the Internet for the project - painting messages on the barrier Israel is building along the West Bank. The barrier, made up of concrete walls, barbed wire, trenches and electronic sensors, is meant to keep Palestinian suicide bombers and other attackers out of Israel, but Palestinians charge it juts into their land and cuts many people off from their fields and services.

The idea evolved during two workshops by advertising creatives from the Palo-Dutch Concept Factory from the Palo-Dutch Concept Factory, who had come to Ramallah to coach young Palestinians in creative campaigning and public relations.

The project aims to publicize the difficulties while raising money for social projects in the West Bank. For a $43 contribution, a Palestinian volunteer will paint a message on the wall - anything from a political statement to marriage proposal. However, hate messages against Israelis or Palestinians are forbidden.

"We've received dozens of orders," the site's operator and concept designer, Justus van Oel, says. One woman, van Oel recalls, left a message for Tareq - a long-lost ex-boyfriend. Another couple wanted their wedding date on the wall.

To ensure no hateful content ends up on the wall, van Oel reviews all slogans. "Payment is in advance and defamers get no refunds," van Oel says. "I'm hoping it'll keep them away."

"It's not about changing the wall, it's about spreading the news ... that [the separation fence] is in our cities, our towns and our villages," explained the project's local coordinator, Faris Arouri.

It wasn't easy for Yousef Nijim, 24, to paint the first part of the felafel recipe and 13 other messages in various languages on the Palestinian side of the wall on Tuesday.

Israel Defense Forces helicopters could be heard flying by, and a stiff wind blew dust and paint in all directions. Leaning against the eight-meter-high concrete wall, Arouri called out the spelling of the words to the painter, Nijim. Several times they failed and had to start over. After Nijim struggled mightily with a Hebrew word, other volunteers joked that next time, he should bring some Wite-Out.

Arouri said a small portion of the money raised through the Web site goes to administrative costs, while most goes to charities in and around Ramallah, including building a children's garden, a youth cinema and a basketball court.

"I think it's important for Palestinians to see that people from around the world are supporting their cause," said Nabil Kukali, an expert on Palestinian opinion on Israel. "They are happy to see this type of organization standing with them and understanding their suffering."


LINK to send message (It says it's for those in Holland-but MAYBE others can too!)

Palo Dutch Concept

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