Among a new generation of Muslims, this is what Mr. Sharon will be known for long after he leaves office: unilaterally erecting a barrier, most of it a fence, some of it a wall, that cuts Arab villages in half, chokes the movement of ordinary Palestinians, cripples local economies and, ultimately, separates human beings.
The critics have a point – up to a point. They’re right that Palestinians are virtually wailing at “the wall.” When I went to see its towering cement slabs in the West Bank town of Abu Dis last year, an Arab man approached me to unload his sadness.
“It’s no good,” he said. “It’s hard.”
“Why do you think they built it?” I asked.
The man shook his head and repeated, “It’s hard.” After some silence, he added, “We are not two people. We are one.”
“How do you explain that to suicide bombers?” I wondered aloud.
The man smiled. “No understand,” he replied. “No English. Thank you. Goodbye.”
Was it something I said? Maybe my impolite mention of Palestinian martyrs? Then again, how could I not mention them? After all, this barrier, although built by Mr. Sharon, was birthed by “shaheeds,” suicide bombers whom Palestinian leaders have glorified as martyrs. More.