Christian Aid attacks apartheid wall around West Bank
Christian Aid's director, Dr Daleep Mukarji, has returned from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, criticising the Israeli security fence which will eventually surround the West Bank.
While in the West Bank town of Qalqilya he witnessed the construction of the fence and spent an afternoon in the Palestinian West Bank town of Qalqilya looking at what is in reality a huge concrete wall.
The Israeli government, which is building the wall, calls it a 'security fence' which they say is designed to keep suicide bombers and other terrorists from getting into Israel. It has been referred to by some as the 'apartheid wall'.
This fence is about 25 feet high and 12 feet wide and is punctuated by a series of watchtowers.
"We felt we were in prison - it was very depressing" said Dr Mukarji.
"Yet we were in Qalqilya only for about two hours to see the work of our partners, and to experience for a short time the kind of thing that ordinary Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have to go through every day at the hands of the Israeli government."
The trip was undertaken from Jerusalem with colleagues from the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC) to visit the West Bank.
The journey, which should have been relatively short, took hours as they had to negotiate roadblocks, check points and barriers that are every-day realities for Palestinians.
"On the way to Qalqilya, we saw from a vantage point what this new wall of separation was doing to Palestinian villages, communities and their economy" Christian Aid's director continued.
"It separated farmers from their lands and their water supplies, closed access roads and destroyed many olive trees."
"I found the whole experience very sad. It appeared that huge, open-air prisons were being built, to destabilise and demoralise Palestinian communities."
Both Israeli and Palestinian partners of Christian Aid spoke of the "horrors" of the new wall and its costs to both communities.
"I left with a prayer in my heart - for peace, for justice and for urgent action by all concerned for find a lasting solution to the tragedy of the Middle East" said Dr Mukarji