“Israeli border guards watch an elderly Palestinian man as he crosses back from Israel into the West Bank on Oct. 16, 2009.”
The Promised Land
For some Palestinians making a living means living in limbo.
BY AMNON GUTMAN
SEPTEMBER 16, 2011
In June 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada, the Israeli government began erecting a barrier separating Israel from the West Bank in an attempt to curtail the entry of Palestinian terrorists into the country. This fence, some 456 miles long, has significantly cut down on terrorist infiltration and suicide bombings within Israel, but at the cost of freedom of movement for many Palestinians who live in its shadow.
The daily commute of Palestinians coming into Israel to find work has been cruelly disrupted by checkpoints. But with sky-high unemployment in the West Bank, there’s nowhere else to find work. Determined to keep providing for their families, men risk danger and terrible conditions to find work illegally in Israel — sleeping in river creeks, under bridges, on building sites, and under highways. Those who are caught sneaking past the barrier are arrested; once it’s determined that they pose no imminent threat, the men are sent back to their homes in the West Bank. And the wearisome cycle continues.
Photographer Amnon Gutman has been documenting these itinerant Palestinian workers, on their way into Israel via gaps and breaks in the separation barrier, in the southern region of Mount Hebron and Beer Sheva since 2009.