Against the wall: Israeli Embassy accuses festival of bias

Deputy ambassador accuses Roskilde organisers of “choosing sides politically, in spite of stated intentions not to do so”

Roskilde Festival is once again courting controversy with its decision to re-erect ‘The Wall’, an eight-metre high replica of a section of the separation barrier erected by Israel against Palestine in 2002.

This decision has caused outrage at the Israeli Embassy.

“Unfortunately the model of the Israeli security fence at this year's festival clearly demonstrates that the organisers, Roskilde Festival and DanChurchAid, have unequivocally opted to choose sides politically, in spite of the stated intentions not to do so,” its deputy head of mission, Dan Oryan, told The Copenhagen Post.

“This event is clearly anti-Israel, and will not raise awareness about any humanitarian issues, but may rather create more hostility and hatred towards the State of Israel, as was arguably the case the first time around in 2004.”

The monument, built by charitable organisation DanChurchAid, first appeared at the festival in 2004, following the ruling by the International Court of Justice that “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”. The court ruling called for Israel to halt all further construction on the wall, to dismantle any part of the wall in breach of Palestinian territory, and to compensate Palestinians who suffered as a result of the barrier’s creation.

Israel has never recognised the court’s ruling.

“It would seem that the reason for the construction of the security fence – the protection of Israeli civilians (men, women and children) from becoming victims of Palestinian suicide bombers in buses, shopping malls and cafés – is neglected,” Oryan said.

“It should have also have been noted by the organisers that the Israeli Supreme Court on several occasions has ruled that the route of the fence be altered, in order not to create unnecessary suffering on the Palestinian side.”

While Roskilde Festival’s affiliation with political causes is being questioned, on its website, it describes itself as “a boundary-pushing cultural-political manifestation” with a focus on “environmental issues, humanitarian causes and cultural work”.

Oryan said that the festival and DCA must reconsider their methods and choose a more balanced approach to the issue.

“One might even hope that the organisers might consider co-operating with both Israeli and Palestinian partners who actually work to create dialogue and change, which can hopefully lead to Israel and the Palestinians reaching a negotiated political solution, should the Palestinian leadership choose to drop its unwillingness to negotiate with Israel,” he said.

In addition to bringing attention to the Israeli barrier with the mock wall, 500 volunteers will collect empty bottles at the festival, with the refund money being donated by the Roskilde Foundation to establish mobile health clinics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. About 300,000 kroner is expected to be collected. Earlier this year, Roskilde Festival donated one ambulance for relief efforts in Syria, and has previously donated profits to victims of the War in Iraq and earthquake victims in Pakistan.

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