The West Bank

a barred life

The West Bank
A series of photographs by Scott Smith © 2008

a barred life

A collection of images gathered from six months spent in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The purpose of the series is not to be political but merely an attempt to point out all that is not normal in Palestinian life and serve as a visual reference point of the broader issues that are affecting the Palestinian people in all areas of their lives.

About the photographer:
Cover picture A barred life Location: Bethlehem Date: 12 September

Scott Smith is an independent writer and photojournalist, currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The photographs in this series are a result of living and working in the West Bank for six months in 2008. Contact: +27 (0)82 547 5948 / /

Yielded settlements View of the Israeli Har Homa settlement to the east of Bethlehem from the troubled Arab village of An Nu’man whose future existence is under threat due to Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. Settlement expansion in the West Bank is one of the sticking points of any peace negotiation. Location: An Nu’man, east of Bethlehem Date: 11 November

Demolished by your best friend The rubble remains of a house demolition in Silwan, outside the Old City of Jerusalem, minutes after it occurred. Residents are often given little or no warning of the demolition and a very short time to remove any valuables. Location: Silwan, East Jerusalem Date: 5 November

Basketball diaries A decaying school court in the Muslim quarter of the old city of Jerusalem Location: Old City Jerusalem Date: 28 February

Wasted hands A strange apparition of hands on a newly constructed wall down the road from the Bethlehem terminal; I felt the image was a perfect way of saying a 1000 words. Location: Bethlehem Date: 6 November

Jerusalem protest post Israeli soldiers stand watch over an organised protest in remembrance of the Nakba at the Damascus gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. Protests are a common occurrence in the West Bank but are more commonly attended by internationals. Location: Jerusalem Date: 15 May

Bedouin boy demolition A Bedouin boy in Arab Ar-rahmadin Ash-shamali, near the Zufin settlement, Qalqiliya district stands over the demolished remains of his family’s animal house. The land they live on is in the so-called seam zone; that is the area of land between the wall and the green line. On the hill behind the boy is a military district office. Location: Qalqilya Date: 12 March

Flower power A famous work by the UK graffiti artist, Banksy, in Bet Sahour, outside Bethlehem. A call to non-violent protest. Location: Bet Sahour, Bethlehem Date: 27 September

Stop the occupation Members of the EAPPI gather in central Jerusalem along with the Women in Black in protest of the continuing occupation of the West Bank. Occurring every Friday, these protests are one of the few protests allowed by the Israeli government. Public reaction is varied. Location: Jerusalem Date: 29 August

Bethlehem terminal before it opens Men jump the queue at the Bethlehem terminal before the checkpoint opens on a working day. Hundreds of men pass through the terminal before 7:00 in the morning, some wait at the entrance from 2:00 to ensure that they are the first to go through. Those who come late may wait some 3 hours before they are allowed into Israel. Location: Bethlehem Date: 9 November

Hebron walls A view of the wall separating H1 from H2 in the southern city of Hebron, on route to the famous Shahuda street, a once thriving market area, now deserted. Location: Hebron Date: 25 March

Beware, cameras everywhere! A stencilled warning in the Muslim Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem Location: Old City Jerusalem Date: 24 August

Rose on a car A rose placed on a car burnt out the day before. Parked outside the Jewish neighbourhood of Yemin Moshe, a stones throw from the Jaffa gate of the old city of Jerusalem. Residents say this kind of thing occurs often. Location: Jerusalem Date: 14 November

Denied entry Two elderly Palestinian men attempt to avoid the crushing queue on this Ramadan Friday when thousands flock to Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Even though both men were over 60, their green ID cards were denied and they had to join the common queue. Location: Bethlehem Date: 19 September

Sunrays before the sweat Taken in the early morning as pilgrims gathered at the Bethlehem Terminal on a Friday during Ramadan. Location: Bethlehem Date: 19 September

Grimaced access Woman struggle to stand in the swaying and crushing of the queue; the very old and the very young are crushed indiscriminately Location: Bethlehem Date: 19 September

Last chance Palestinian men who have been denied entry into Jerusalem cautiously observe an Israeli soldier in the late morning. All opportunities to pass through the terminal on this day are gone. Location: Bethlehem Date: 19 September

Sheltered existence The men’s queue on Friday during Ramadan, under a sun shade placed there temporarily. Location: Bethlehem Date: 26 September

Crushed The crushing force of the queue at the Bethlehem terminal; the man to the bottom left of the photograph feints shortly after this photograph is taken Location: Bethlehem Date: 26 September

Barred women Women line up at the checkpoint on Friday during Ramadan. The cement wall can be seen behind them, snaking over the hilltop, dividing the West Bank and Israel on a superficial border. Location: Bethlehem Date: 26 September

Photographed young man Photograph of an unknown man, placed on the bars of the terminal bars with a coat hanger on Friday during Ramadan Location: Bethlehem Date: 26 September

Voices from the ghetto Through the wall, can be seen the free land of Israel Location: Bethlehem Date: 26 September

Israeli soldiers withdraw Israeli soldiers and border police take one last look before they close the gate at the Bethlehem Terminal for the last Friday of Ramadan. Location: Bethlehem Date: 26 September

Organised occupation A member of the Israeli border police, this Druze man directs Palestinian woman in the queue early in the morning on a Friday during Ramadan. Location: Bethlehem Date: 5 September

A moment at the cement wall A man turns momentarily in the crushing queue at the Bethlehem terminal on a Friday during Ramadan; note the green ID book ready for inspection. Location: Bethlehem Date: 12 September

Barbed little girl In the front of the queue a little girl still gets pushed up against the bars and the barbed wire in the early morning on a Friday during Ramadan. Location: Bethlehem Date: 12 September

Red keffiyeh and a soldier A Palestinian man waits to join the queue with a soldier in the foreground Location: Bethlehem Date: 12 September

Young woman through the bars After the terminal is closed, people still push to get through the barred gates even though there are no Israeli soldiers present. Location: Bethlehem Date: 5 September

Muslim girl A lone teenaged girl at the Bethlehem terminal after it has been closed. According to Israeli security restrictions, she is both too young and too old to pass through the gate based on terrorist profiling – a prime suspect. Location: Bethlehem Date: 26 September

Escape hatch Political graffiti painted by an unknown artist on the steel gate that provides entrance to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. The tomb was closed off to Palestinians by the Israeli’s who feared revenge attacks after the shooting incident at Abraham’s Mosque in 1994 by a Jewish American-Israeli that killed 29 Muslims while they prayed. Location: Bethlehem Date: 22 March