TIME portfolio

From Belfast to Baghdad, See the World’s Dividing Walls

When Lieutenant-Colonel Harald Jäger made history by opening the Bornholmer Strasse checkpoint of the Berlin Wall at 11.30 pm on November 9, 1989, without any orders, an eager young photography student named Kai Wiedenhöfer was nearly 300 miles away in the city of Essen.

At that time, the lensman was unaware that Jäger had effectively ended the separation of East and West Berlin that had existed since 1961; one that had restricted the free movement of citizens between the Soviet administered east of the city and the Allied administered west.

But that evening, one of Wiedenhöfer’s professors called with simple instructions: get to Berlin as fast as you can. The wall is coming down. This is huge: “We jumped into a car and raced all the way to Berlin,” Wiedenhöfer tells TIME. “[We] got to Potsdamer Platz at about four or five in the morning.”

Kai WiedenhšferPotsdamer Platz, Berlin, Germany, 1989.

Over the following days, Wiedenhöfer captured the activity as the wall was gradually dismantled. He was there when East German security guards watched crowds of East Berliners stream through to the west on foot and in their Trabants, and when West Berliners welcomed them on the other side.

But now, 25 years after the wall came down, it seems more and more separation walls are going up. The Guardian estimates that at least 6,000 miles of barriers have been built worldwide in the last decade alone. Wiedenhöfer says he sees this fact as flying in the face of globalization’s promise to remove all barriers.

So in 2003, encouraged by a colleague at a Swiss newspaper, he started photographing the walls separating Palestinian territories from Israel. Later, he visited the towering peace lines of Belfast, the monolithic edifice of the Baghdad Wall and the 22-foot high Melilla border fence (which separates the Spanish exclave from surrounding Morocco), among many others.

Kai WiedenhšferWest Berlin, Germany, 1989.

It was a project that took seven years, and one that was sometimes fraught with difficulty. In a few locations, safety was a concern. In others, access could pose problems. Wiedenhöfer also received criticism for portraying, as some saw it, only one side of a story (by photographing, say, one side of a wall). “I have no personal involvement in these conflicts,” he explains. “For me it’s mostly to get the best angle of the barrier or the best light situations.”

It is the visual similarity of Wiedenhöfer’s work that is perhaps most striking, though. When placed beside one another, his images seem to blend into a tableau of partition and separation, in which Belfast becomes almost indistinguishable from Baghdad.

It might not be so surprising, he says, because what he found in each place was often the same: “When you build a border, or fence, the life [of the area] mostly dies down and people move away.”

“This is a phenomenon you see in every place.”


Kai Wiedenhöfer is an award-winning photographer based in Berlin. His book Confrontier is available now.

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for TIME LightBox.


TIME Jerusalem

Tensions Mount in Jerusalem After Latest Attack

An ultra-Orthodox youth stands in front of the vehicle of a Palestinian motorist who rammed into pedestrians at the scene of an attack in Jerusalem, Nov. 5, 2014.
Ammar Awad—Reuters An ultra-Orthodox youth stands in front of the vehicle of a Palestinian motorist who rammed into pedestrians at the scene of an attack in Jerusalem, Nov. 5, 2014.

Two are dead in Israel after a driver plowed his van into a queue of commuters waiting for a tram Wednesday, marking the latest deadly incident amid escalating religious tensions around one of the country’s heavily disputed sacred sites for both Jews and Muslims.

Police said the motorist Wednesday slammed his vehicle into the light rail stop in east Jerusalem first, backed out and proceeded to drive off, hitting several cars along the way. He then got out of the car and attacked a group of civilians and police officers on the side of the road with a metal bar before authorities shot and killed him.

The attacker was identified by authorities as Ibrahim al-Akari, a 38-year-old Palestinian who had recently been released from prison after serving time for security offenses, police said. Security camera footage appeared to show al-Akari darting through a crowded intersection before he was shot.

The attack Wednesday bore similarities to an incident two weeks ago in which two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian assailant who was then killed by Israeli police.

Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, confirmed that al-Akari was a member of the group, and said in a statement that al-Akari, “whose blood watered the land of the occupied holy city of Jerusalem, preferred but to retaliate for the blood of his people and the sacredness of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.”

The Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary compound, which includes the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, is at the center of rising tension as a movement for Jewish right to prayer there gains a foothold in political spheres. Israel forbids non-Muslims from praying on the compound. Jews pray instead at the Western Wall, a retaining wall of the ancient demolished Jewish temple.

Last week, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who managed a center aimed at advancing Jewish rights at the Temple Mount, was leaving a Jerusalem conference he convened called “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount” when Moataz Hijazi, a Palestinian dishwasher at the conference building who had previously spend 12 years in Israeli prisons, pulled up on a motorbike and shot him. Police shot the 32-year-old Hijazi 22 times in his home the following morning.

Supporters of Glick say the attack on him should be a watershed moment. At a prayer rally for Glick Saturday, Jerusalem city council member Aryeh King called on the Israeli government to “wake up and strengthen the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.”

Up a stone staircase from the Hijazi home, a young man named Amar, 25, said Hijazi reminded him of himself, caught between making money in an Israeli job and nursing a deep grudge toward Israel. He declined to give his last name for fear of losing his job cooking in a Tel Aviv restaurant. He said he works in an Israeli restaurant because he cannot find any other work but, “I would take a life sentence for the sake of Al-Aqsa,” he said.

Since Israel conquered Jerusalem’s Old City from Jordan in 1967, Muslims have been able to access the site at all times, while non-Muslims have limited visiting hours. Jews may not pray on the site. King Abdullah of Jordan has warned that changing the agreement could jeopardize the 20-year-old peace treaty between his country and Israel. On Wednesday, Jordan recalled its ambassador for consultations.

TIME Israel

Amnesty International Accuses Israel of War Crimes in Gaza

PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI-CONFLICT-UNREST
Mahmud Hams—AFP/Getty Images A Palestinian boy looks up during a rain storm while walking through a neighborhood destroyed during the 50 day conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the Shejaiya neighbourhood of Gaza City on October 19, 2014.

Israel says it is conducting its own investigations

Amnesty International has accused the Israeli military of war crimes in Gaza during a war earlier this year against Hamas.

In a new report, Amnesty described eight cases in which residential Palestinian homes were attacked without warning, which resulted in the deaths of 104 people including 62 children.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the war crime charge, adding that “investigations are currently underway by several bodies inside and outside the Israel Defense Forces, into over 90 incidents. Two criminal investigations are underway.”

On July 8, the Israeli military launched “Operation Protective Edge” in response to rocket fire from Hamas. The fighting lasted seven weeks and more than 2,200 people were killed, almost all Gaza civilians.

“Israeli forces have brazenly flouted the laws of war by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. “Even if a fighter had been present in one of these residential homes, it would not absolve Israel of its obligation to take every feasible precaution to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the fighting.”

The report contains numerous accounts from survivors describing frantically digging through the rubble and dust of their destroyed homes in search of the bodies of children and loved ones.

At least 18,000 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable during the conflict.

TIME Photojournalism Links

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 4, 2014

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Marcus Bleasdale’s work on child marriage in Tanzania, East Africa, where four out of 10 girls marry before their 18th birthday. The photographs, made on assignment for Human Rights Watch, draw attention to young girls and women who have been pressured or forced to marry as adolescents and undergo female genital mutilation. It’s a blunt, compelling look at the hardships these girls face.


Marcus Bleasdale: Child Marriage in Tanzania (Human Right Watch)

Lynsey Addario: Amid Record Waves of Refugees, Italy Finding Limits to Its Compassion (National Geographic News) These photographs from Sicily show how the island has become the entry point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.

Tanya Habjouqa: Widows of Syrian ‘Freedom Fighters’ (The New York Times Lens) These pictures document the poverty and uncertainty faced by Syrian widows and their families in Jordan.

Luca Locatelli: Where Ferraris Are Born (Wired Raw File) Inside the famed car factory in Maranello, Italy.

Twelve Views on Israel (Le Monde) Pictures from a project, This Place, for which 12 international photographers were invited to document Israel. NB The post is in French. Also published on TIME LightBox in April 2014.


Photojournalism Links is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen, Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.


TIME Israel

Sen. Ted Cruz: Obama’s Unprecedented Attack on Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, Oct. 13, 2014.
Menahem Kahana—EPA Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, Oct. 13, 2014.

Cruz is the junior U.S. Senator from Texas.

Voters should challenge the administration's views on Election Day

This week, the world was treated to yet another embarrassing display of the Obama administration’s incompetent foreign policy.

According to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, various anonymous officials referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as both “a chicken****” and “a coward.” While these indefensible comments have received the lion’s share of media attention, the substantive remarks about Iran were even more troubling. Goldberg wrote that another senior official claimed that due to their pressure on Netanyahu, it is now “too late” for Israel to stop Iran from amassing an “atomic arsenal.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told the White House press corps on Tuesday that the President likely does not know who did this, and there is no effort underway to find out. Other officials have signaled that these persons may be disciplined in ways that are have not been disclosed. But, regardless, they will continue to serve at the pleasure of the President because, as Earnest said, such things happen almost every day in this administration.

In other words, this is no big deal.

With all due respect, this is a very big deal. This is an unprecedented attack on a critical ally of the United States at a moment of international crisis. It is a de facto admission to the mullahs in Tehran that the Obama administration thinks it is too late to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is an inexcusable betrayal of the national security of the American people.

Do the Democrats agree with what Obama administration officials are saying about Israel and its leaders? Do they also concede that a nuclear Iran is inevitable? If not, will they call on the President to identify and fire the persons making these assertions? These questions should be asked—and answered—before Americans head to the polls next Tuesday.

It is my hope that Congress can unite to reverse this administration’s approach by defending our allies and standing up to hostile actors in the world. When the White House acts recklessly, Congress should swiftly act to defend our nation. We will not be able to do so if the Senate is led by Harry Reid acting as a rubber stamp for President Obama. Either the Democrats should denounce the Obama Administration’s dangerous policies or the voters should send them home in November.

As disgraceful as these comments were, at least they bring crystal clarity to the choice we face as a nation on November 4th. Choose wisely.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Israel

Provocative Israeli Cartoon on Deteriorating Relations With U.S. Evokes 9/11

It was published days after a White House official reportedly called Netanyahu "chickens--t"

A cartoon published Thursday by the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz has sparked controversy for its blunt attempt to depict deteriorating relations between conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama.

The cartoon shows Netanyahu flying an airplane aimed at a tall building topped with an American flag, which resembles one of the Twin Towers that were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

The cartoonist, Amos Biderman, told the Times of Israel that the image was intended to imply that Netanyahu was leading to “a disaster in Israel-U.S. relations on the scale of 9/11.” But it has drawn criticism in the U.S. and in Israel, with Vox writing that “it so breaches the very basics of good taste that it is astounding.”

Relations between Netanyahu and the White House have been notoriously poor, and the Israeli leader moved earlier this week to accelerate planning for new settler homes in East Jerusalem despite the Obama Administration’s opposition. On Tuesday, the Atlantic quoted one unnamed White House official calling Netanyahu “chickens–t.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest later said the official’s comment did not “accurately reflect at all” the administration’s view about Israel.

Read next: Sweden Becomes the First E.U. Member to Recognize a Palestinian State

TIME sweden

Sweden Becomes the First E.U. Member to Recognize a Palestinian State

The decision, which has drawn the ire of Israel, comes unexpectedly early

The Swedish government became the first E.U. member to officially recognize a Palestinian state on Thursday.

Newly elected Prime Minister Stefan Lofven first announced the move at his swearing-in ceremony on Oct. 3, but he was not expected to follow through so soon, Haaretz reports.

“Some will claim that today’s decision comes too early. I’m rather afraid it’s too late,” writes Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. “The past year, we’ve seen how the peace negotiations once again have halted, how decisions on new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have obstructed a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza.”

Wallstrom writes that the recognition aims to support moderate forces among the Palestinians, make future negotiations more equal and give young Palestinians hope of a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Israel has publicly protested the move, which some believe is feeding unrealistic Palestinian expectations of working out a resolution with the international community but without involving Israel, writes the Jerusalem Post.

A total of 134 other countries recognized Palestine before Sweden. Hungary, Poland and Slovakia all did so before joining the E.U.

TIME food and drink

SodaStream to Move Controversial West Bank Facility

Scarlett Johansson SodaStream Partnership
Mike Coppola—2014 Getty Images SodaStream unveils Scarlett Johansson as its first-ever Global Brand Ambassador at the Gramercy Park Hotel on January 10, 2014 in New York City.

The company says the move does not come in response to a Palestinian activist-led boycott

SodaStream announced Wednesday that it will move a controversial facility located in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. The company said that their reason for moving was “purely commercial,” and not due to pressure from Palestinian activists.

The Israeli company will relocate its operations from Maaleh Adumim in the West Bank to Lehavim, northern Israel by 2015. “We are offering all employees the opportunity to join us in Lehavim, and specifically, we are working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for our Palestinian employees,” SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said, according to the Associated Press.

Palestinian activists launched a boycott of the company because of its location in the West Bank, land that Israel has controversially laid claim to since 1967. Up until now, the company has maintained that shutting down its facility—which employed 500 Palestinians, 450 Israeli Arabs and 350 Israeli Jews—would not benefit the cause for Palestinian statehood or the Israeli-Palestine peace process.

Scarlett Johansson was swept up in the controversy earlier this year when the actress stepped down from her position as an Oxfam International ambassador over her role as a spokesperson for SodaStream. The Avengers actress said she had a “fundamental difference of opinion” with the international charity, which opposes all trade from the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Johansson later defended the ad: “I’m coming into this as someone who sees that factory as a model for some sort of movement forward in a seemingly impossible situation,” she said. “Until someone has a solution to the closing of that factory to leaving all those people destitute, that doesn’t seem like the solution to the problem.”

Meanwhile, SodaStream has been having a hard time convincing U.S. consumers to buy at-home soda machines. Its third-quarter earnings dropped 14% from last year.

[AP]

TIME Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Infant’s Killing in Jerusalem Reignites Talk of a New Intifada

Mideast Israel Palestinians
Majdi Mohammed—AP A masked Palestinian kicks a burning tire during clashes with Israeli security forces a day after 14-year-old Palestinian-American, Orwah Hammad was killed by Israeli troops during clashes, in the village of Silwad, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Oct. 25, 2014.

Incidents of violence in the city and the West Bank increase tension between Israelis and Palestinians

Gill Schechter has lived in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood of East Jerusalem for over 30 years, during which time he has always felt safe — until recently. His street abuts a Palestinian neighborhood, from which rocks and cement chunks have been lobbed at the Jewish homes and cars here with increased intensity.

He doesn’t remember ever before worrying, as he does now, about driving in and out of his neighborhood or letting his kids walk home from school.

“I don’t think it’s heading in the direction of an Intifada — I think it’s here already,” says Schechter, a 41-year-old Israeli electrical engineer and father of four, referring to the Arabic word for uprising “People don’t want to walk in the streets, people’s houses are being trashed and we see very little being done, as the police have their hands tied behind their backs.”

Tensions increased in the city, including in Schechter’s neighborhood, on Oct. 22 when a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of Jerusalem named Abdel-Rahman Shaloudi drove into a line of people waiting for a tram in the center of the city. Shaloudi’s car hit Haya Zissel Braun, a three-month-old Israeli baby, throwing her into the air. She landed on her head and later died. Police shot Shaloudi as he tried to flee the scene on foot. He later died of his wounds.

Schechter is a member of the security committee for Armon HaNatziv, which sits in the southern part of the city and borders two Arab villages that are part of Jerusalem — Jabel Mukaber and Sur Baher. Armon HaNatziv is over the Green Line, which marks Israel’s pre-1967 borders, and therefore is considered by Palestinians as an illegal settlement. Many Israelis consider Armon HaNatziv simply as a neighborhood of the capital.

“I’m not a war-monger, but there is a limit to what the authorities should allow when you’re in charge of a city,” Schechter tells TIME. “We have young guys across the road throwing huge chunks of concrete at us. Were it to hit someone in the head, it could easily kill a person.”

Across town, to the north, Saedi Shrateh is a 22-year-old construction worker and student at Al-Quds University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, north of Jerusalem. He lives near the Qalandia checkpoint, which separates Jerusalem from the southern outskirts of Ramallah. Although he has an Israeli-issued Jerusalem resident’s ID, which allows him to go anywhere in the city, he stays away from West Jerusalem more and more following a spate of attacks on Arabs by Israeli ultranationalists. Everyone, he says, tries to avoid walking alone.

“As witnessed in the past week or so, the vibe in the streets is for a third Intifada. But not all Palestinians are willing to participate,” says Shrateh, who wears a black T-shirt that reads “Gaza is under fire,” a reminder of the recent seven-week-long war between Israel and the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza. “I think we need another Intifada to achieve our goals, but I’m afraid too many people will sit at home. Nowadays, people are more concerned about making it in life and advancing their economic situation.”

There is almost no corner of this city that isn’t abuzz with talk of a third Intifada. (The first Palestinian uprising started in 1987, and the second in 2000.) Fears grew over the summer after the murder in June of a Palestinian youth named Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The teenager was abducted in Jerusalem and then murdered. Police have charged three Israelis with the murder, including two minors, saying the three were upset by the news that three Israeli teenagers had been kidnapped in the West Bank — Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah — and shot dead by Hamas operatives.

Although the clashes simmered down following an Israel-Hamas cease-fire in late August, the rage among many Palestinians has yet to abate. In recent weeks, several events seemed close to reigniting the conflict. One has been the arrival in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood near the Old City of Jerusalem, of several dozen Jewish settlers who have moved into two buildings they had bought. Palestinians see these moves as a provocation. To them, any time a group of Israeli Jews moves into the neighborhood, it not only causes friction but potentially marks it is as territory Israel would retain control of in a peace deal. Israeli Jewish groups who move their activists to these neighborhoods say they’re reclaiming ancestral land and acknowledge that part of their goal is to prevent Jerusalem from being redivided, as it was between 1948 and 1967. The Jerusalem municipality says it cannot stop anyone from moving to another neighborhood of Jerusalem if the property is purchased legally.

Also in recent weeks, Jewish groups seeking to hold holiday prayers at the Temple Mount — known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, housing both the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock — have led to concerns that a dangerous showdown is brewing over Jerusalem’s holiest site. And each time things get tense Israeli police keep young Muslim worshippers out, only allowing access to people over 50. Earlier this week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told activists from his Fatah party that Palestinians should be present on the site at all times to stop “the fierce onslaught on Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre Church.”

When news broke Wednesday night that a Palestinian from Silwan had driven his car into pedestrians waiting for a tram, killing the three-month-old, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately blamed the attack on Abbas and said his “incitement” was responsible. In response, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Netanyahu’s accusations represented a “dangerous new low” in Israeli-Palestinians relations.

The two sides have only seemed to exacerbate tensions, likely setting the stage for more violence.

The tensions are not limited to Jerusalem, but are also spreading to the West Bank. During riots on Friday, Israeli forces shot and killed a 14-year-old Palestinian-American youth named Orwah Hammad. The shooting took place in the village of Silwad, north of Ramallah.

Government ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet and Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, have argued for taking a tougher line in East Jerusalem, arguing that this is the only way to stop Palestinian rioters. Barkat also announced he was deploying more police throughout the city, installing cameras in neighborhoods like Schechter’s, and launching a surveillance balloon over East Jerusalem to collect information about riots as they are forming.

Schechter — and many others Israelis in Jerusalem — seemed pleased with the response. But Palestinians say it will only bring further trouble.

“I certainly don’t see this moving in the direction of calming down,” Adnan Husseini, who holds the Jerusalem portfolio for the Palestinian Authority, tells TIME. “The Israeli government is doing everything to accelerate tensions and make things more difficult. We have a confrontation in almost every area of Jerusalem, on every street. It may not have been announced, but is seems there is a small Intifada already.”

Read next: Palestinian Killed in Clash With Israeli Military

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 21

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. After another war, it seems more clear that the Israeli siege of Gaza continues through “inertia.”

By Itamar Sha’altiel in +972

2. A new project looks to inspire a generation to bold new scientific innovation by stimulating creative storytelling.

By Michael White in Pacific Standard

3. Attempts to combat voter fraud should be balanced against a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

By Matthew Yglesias in Vox

4. More than meets the eye: Visual inspection is far from sufficient for guaranteeing the safety of meat and poultry. It’s time to reform USDA food safety systems.

By the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Center for Science in the Public Interest

5. Lifting teachers into leadership roles could help achieve the big gains for students we’ve been seeking.

By Ross Wiener in the Aspen Idea

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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