The West Bank wall is a living canvas of Israeli-Palestinian narratives.
A massive concrete wall looms oppressively over Bethlehem’s horizon. Many tourists flock to the city, curious to see the biblical birthplace of Jesus in a grotto under the sixth-century Church of the Nativity on Manger Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Instead of finding Christmas card-worthy surroundings of fields and shepherds, an imposing structure—planned to stretch a total of 440 miles and at some points, reaching up to 26 feet tall—divides the landscape.
“The wall is part of the history and everyday life of the local population,” explains Jerusalem native and National Geographic Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah. “It evokes strong emotions and opinions in Israelis and Palestinians for different reasons.”