By Ma’an – 12 Jan 2012
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian graffiti artists took to the streets of West Jerusalem overnight Wednesday, spraying symbols of resistance in the city center.
Activists told Ma’an the artwork was the start of a campaign which will target other locations in the city and may spread across Israel.
Most Israelis will not have seen the messages of resistance, poetry and art sprayed along one side of the concrete wall Israel has been building since 2002, which runs deep inside the West Bank and confiscates Palestinian land.
But Palestinian images can now be seen in around 20 places in West Jerusalem. The street art includes an image of a woman wearing a keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf, with the word “Intifada” or uprising. Another image shows a map of Palestine with “ana” – meaning “I” or “me” — on it.
It is a message “to both our occupiers and our people here in Palestine and around the world, we are still here and our voice is still loud,” one activist said on condition of anonymity.
While the Arab Spring has been chronicled in graffiti across the region, the activists say they are inspired by Palestine’s First Intifada, or uprising, which started in 1987.
“Street art has been always a way of expression for Palestinians. We are inspired by the First Intifada when graffiti was a prominent tool used to make our voices heard,” an activist explained.
He added: “This is part of our struggle for our freedom. We use different tools, and art is one of them.”
The activists hope to mobilize the Palestinian youth by showing that protests can take many forms.
“This is a message to the youth that you don’t need numbers or big actions to be involved in your own struggle. You can do it with whatever tool or capabilities are at your disposal.
“We want to break the fear and recklessness among our people and mobilize them to rise.”
The art is also aimed at to the refugees expelled from their homes when the state of Israel was created in 1948.
“It’s a message to them that our struggle is one and the right of return will not be given away by anyone.”