Simone Bitton, a Morocco-born Arab Jew, looks at all sides of the multi-million-dollar security fence Israel is building along its border with the West Bank—from the differing and often ferocious points of view of an Israeli kibbutznik, a Palestinian farmer, a minister of Defense from Tel Aviv, ideologues, and Bedouin types on horseback. Hey, it worked in Berlin—or was that China? This Special Jury Prize winner at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival has its doubts, rather too tentatively expressed, and its arguments might have been bolstered by considering the recent history of all the other architecture in the killing fields—the settlement towns, transit camps, and agrarian outposts; the occupation of mountain ridges by the “white colonies” of Gush Emunim; evictions, forced migrations, populations redistributed according to class and national origins; the militarizing of space itself. Moats and castles we’ve always had with us. Walled cities on the islands of the Adriatic were the West Bank settlements of their Turk-fearing time. But let’s not kid ourselves. What Mike Davis calls “the architectural policing of social boundaries”—surveillance towers, enclaves, Bantustans, strategic hamlets—turns human beings into landfill.
Sundance Channel, May 1, 9 P.M.