Do you know the difference between an Israeli and a Palestinian?
That’s not a joke and there is no punch line. It’s a question raised by Swiss photographer Olivier Suter in his project Enemies.
Last March while on a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Mr. Suter asked Palestinians for photographs that he could use to compare with photographs of Israelis. He then published the eight photos he received in an ad in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, with the words “Wanted: people who look alike.” There was no mention in the ad that the people in the pictures were Arabs.
The photograph on the left shows five-year old Adam Shurati, who lives in Bet Hanina, a Palestinian suburb of Jerusalem. On the right is an Israeli, Hadas Maor, in a photograph taken many years ago when she was six years old.
Hadas’ father Yehuda said, “Ben-Gurion was right when he said ‘The Palestinians are not our cousins, they’re our brothers. Turns out, they could be twins.”
Adam’s mother Nancy was surprised but happy about the resemblance between the children. But, she says, Adam is not too pleased that he looks like a girl.
Can you tell the difference between an Israeli and a Palestinian? [Haaretz; May 30, 2009]