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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 00:03 GMT
Fashion on Israel's frontline
Fashion show along the West Bank barrier
The Israeli fashion house tried in vain to recruit Palestinian models
An Israeli fashion house has launched its summer catalogue with a parade along Israel's controversial West Bank barrier.

Comme-il-faut owner Sybil Goldfinger said the parade aimed to raise awareness of the barrier among a "mostly uninterested" Israeli public.

But local Palestinians were angered. "Shame on you," one elderly woman told the firm. "You shouldn't be here just to put on a show."

Israel says the barrier is needed to stop the suicide bombers; Palestinians contend it is a land grab.

Models from Slovenia, Russia, Poland, France and Israel took part in the shoot, sporting brightly-coloured summer outfits.

The part of the barrier chosen as a backdrop for the shoot was eight-metre high slabs of concrete that now separate parts of Jerusalem from the West Bank.

Ms Goldfinger said she had been unsuccessful in recruiting Palestinian models.


But she maintained that the fashion parade sought to encourage Israeli and Palestinian women to work together for peace.

"We offer a suggestion, or the hope, that women from both sides who bring life into the world will unify to stop this killing that has gone on for too long," she said.

But some local Palestinian women were unimpressed.

"We don't need clothes. We need to know the wall will be removed," said Aisha, on the other side of the barrier. "It makes us afraid and is destroying our economy."

Not far away, Palestinians were burying a 21-year-old man who was fatally wounded while protesting against the barrier last week. Two Palestinians were also killed.

The BBC's Orla Guerin said that for both sides the barrier has become a life and death issue.

The BBC's Orla Guerin
"The company behind it says it's just provoking debate"

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