An eight-metre-high wall erected at this year’s Roskilde Festival, which closed on Sunday, has unleashed a bitter row between Israel’s Ambassador to Denmark and humanitarian group DanChurch Aid. The wall, a replica of the Israeli security fence on the West Bank, led Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Ben-Matityanu to accuse the aid group of pushing a political agenda.
‘The wall at Roskilde Festival is yet another unfortunate example of DanChurchAid politicising to the detriment of its humanitarian work,’ the ambassador told daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende last week.
Ben-Matityanu stressed that Israel was not opposed to humanitarian aid reaching Palestinian civilians, but said that aid groups were obliged not to take political sides in regions of conflict.
DanChurchAid’s press officer, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, told Ritzau news bureau that the West Bank security fence was such a serious humanitarian problem that the political aspects of the structure could not be ignored.
‘We’re talking about this wall in order to support the humanitarian efforts. No much how much aid we provide, there will be no fundamental change as long as this wall continues to block people from farming their soil, going to work or accessing hospitals or schools. Getting this wall removed is a humanitarian issue,’ said Helveg Pedersen, likening his group’s position on the security fence to a stand against apartheid.
‘In this instance, it’s a physical wall that’s causing terrible misery and want in people. Whether it’s politicising?. well, it’s not partisan or anti-Israeli by any means. This is an attempt to help people who cannot be helped through traditional aid channels,’ said Helveg Petersen.