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Israel's wall cements psychological divide between Arab, Jew

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But by thwarting the daily interactions between people like Zeid and his customers, which until recently served as a crucial buffer against hard-line views of the "other," the wall looms as an obstacle to peace – though not an insurmountable one.

"We want all the world to support us to get a settlement through peace," says Nidal Jaloud, a municipal spokesman in Qal­qilya. "Whoever managed to bring down the Berlin Wall – which we all thought would never fall – will bring down this wall."

Israeli: 'I felt like one of the family' in neighboring West Bank town

Young men from Qalqilya and its surrounding suburbs once crossed into Israel daily for work, along with tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers throughout the West Bank. And Israelis would flood into border towns like Qalqilya on the weekends to bargain hunt in second-hand shops on a street nicknamed Alte Zachen, Yiddish for "old things."

"Those days were beautiful," recalls shopkeeper Mohammed Izzat. "There was a good life for us."

Shlomo Madmon, a dovish Israeli activist from Kfar Saba, also speaks nostalgically about that time, when he would visit Qalqilya and a neighboring Palestinian village to purchase building materials and hire construction workers to build his home. "I felt like one of the family there," he says.

In those days, Qalqilya and Kfar Saba were exploring a series of joint ventures. Mayors from the towns attended retreats together and talked about cooperating on an industrial park straddling the border and a medical center inside Qalqilya.

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