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.
But then in September 2000 the second intifada (uprising) began, eventually killing more than 1,000 Israelis and four times as many Palestinians. Military officials have credited the "security fence" with a drastic drop in attacks inside Israel, and even dovish Israelis support its existence as an unpleasant but necessary measure absent a peace deal.
"For me it's a scar.... It's a reminder to me of the failure of this conflict to heal itself," says Yossi Klein Halevi, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. "On the other hand, as the father of two teenagers during the suicide bombings, I felt deep gratitude to the wall for keeping my kids safe. I think many Israelis have that ambivalence."
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Though the barrier hasn't snuffed out the desire for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation entirely, it makes normalized ties nearly impossible.
"How can I have relations with the Israelis now when they are besieging me with a wall, and building settlements, and turning cities into cantons?" asks Mr. Jaloud, the Qalqilya municipal spokesman during the period of cooperation with Kfar Saba.
Palestinians dub the barrier an "apartheid wall" because it deprives them of access to land, jobs, basic humanitarian services, even family. They see it as a symbol of Israel's military occupation – a view backed up by the International Court of Justice's 2004 declaration that the barrier is illegal under international law.