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My travels: Mark Thomas on walking Israel’s West Bank barrier

Comedian Mark Thomas found his idea of rambling along the Israeli barrier in the West Bank even more fraught than it sounds

The dubious honour of being the first person to walk the length of Israel’s barrier in the West Bank, to the best of my knowledge, belongs to, well, me. Admittedly it’s not a hotly contested title. Israel’s massive barrier covered in watchtowers, wire and soldiers is hardly a hiking trail but it will become one eventually. That is the fate of military follies, from the Great Wall of China to Hadrian’s Wall: they are destined to a future of tea shops and tour guides. I suppose I wanted to ramble this one before it goes mainstream and ends up covered with daytrippers wearing T-shirts saying: “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go to Gaza.”

There were other reasons for wanting to do the walk (primarily devilment and curiosity), but essentially I wanted to do for rambling what Hunter S Thompson did for journalism. Gonzo Rambling is what I was after (though without recourse to soaking the Kendal Mint Cake in acid) and where Thompson relied on drink and drugs for inspiration, I would rely on my natural talent for ineptitude.

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