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Israeli West Bank barrier

The Israeli West Bank barrier (or wall,[1] see also: Names) is a separation barrier built
by Israel in the West Bank or along the 1949 Armistice Line ("Green Line").[2] Upon
completion, its total length will be approximately 700 kilometres (430 mi) and include
on the western side approximately 9.4% of the West Bank and 23,000 Palestinians.[3]
Israel argues that it protects civilians from Palestinian terrorism such as suicide
bombing attacks which increased significantly during the Second Intifada. Between
2000 and July 2003 (completion of the "first continuous segment"), 73 suicide
bombings were carried out from the West Bank. However, from August 2003 to the
end of 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out. Barrier opponents claim it seeks to
annex Palestinian land under the guise of security[7] and undermines peace
negotiations by unilaterally establishing new borders.[8] Opponents object to a route
that in some places substantially deviates eastward from the Green Line and severely
restricts the travel of nearby Palestinians to and from work both in the West Bank[9]
and in Israel.[10]
In English, the International Court of Justice has used the term "wall" explaining "the
other expressions sometimes employed are no more accurate if understood in the
physical sense.It is also referred to as the "Apartheid Wall".
The barrier contains an on-average 60-metre (200 ft) wide exclusion area. The width of
some sections is larger (up to 100 metres (330 ft)) due to topographic conditions.
where the barrier is constructed as a concrete wall up to 8 metres (26 ft) high. These
sections are narrower, require less land, and provide more protection against snipers.
Wall construction is more common in urban settings, e.g., Qalqilyah and Jerusalem,
and in areas where people have been killed by snipers, e.g., the Trans-Israel Highway.
The barrier runs partly along or near the 1949 JordanianIsraeli armistice line ("Green
Line") and partly through the West Bank diverging eastward from the armistice line by
up to 20 km (12 mi) to include on the western side several of the highly populated
areas of Israeli settlements such as East Jerusalem, Ariel, Gush Etzion, Emmanuel,
Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze'ev, Oranit, and Maale Adumim.[25][26]
The barrier nearly encircles some Palestinian towns, approximately 20% follows the
armistice line. Israel states that the topography does not permit putting the barrier
along the Green Line in some places because hills or tall buildings on the Palestinian
side would make the barrier ineffective against terrorism. By contrast, the
International Court of Justice states that in such cases it is only legal to build the
barrier inside Israel.
The barrier route has been challenged in court and changed several times. Argument
presented to the court has reiterated that the cease-fire line of 1949 was negotiated
"without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines" (Art. VI.9).[33]
In 1992, the idea of creating a physical barrier separating the Israeli and Palestinian
populations was proposed by then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. In 1995, the Shahal

commission was established to discuss how to implement a separation barrier. In

2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak approved financing of a 74 km (46 mi) fence between
the Wadi Ara region and Latrun. In 2001, a grass roots organization called "Fence for
Life The Public Movement for The Security Fence" urged the government to build a
fence to separate the Palestinian territories from Israeli population centers. The
construction of the wall was approved by the Israeli government in 2002.
By 2003, 180 km (112 mi) had been completed and in 2004, Israel started the
southern part of the barrier
Suicide bombings have decreased since the construction of the barrier. Al-Aqsa
Martyrs' Brigades, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been less able to
conduct attacks in Israel, which have decreased in areas where the barrier has been
completed. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Security Agency report
that in 2002, there were 452 fatalities from terrorist attacks. Before the completion of
the first continuous segment (July 2003) from the beginning of the Second Intifada, 73
Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis
and injuring over 1,900. After the completion of the first continuous segment through
the end of 2006, there were only 12 attacks based in the West Bank, killing 64 people
and wounding 445.[5] Terrorist attacks declined in 2007[5] and 2008[42] to 9 in 2010.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs predicts that completion of the barrier will continue to
prevent terrorist attacks since "[a]n absolute halt in terrorist activities has been
noticed in the West Bank areas where the fence has been constructed."
Israeli officials (including the head of the Shin Bet) quoted in the newspaper Maariv
have said that in the areas where the barrier was complete, the number of hostile
infiltrations has decreased to almost zero. Maariv also stated that Palestinian militants,
including a senior member of Islamic Jihad, had confirmed that the barrier made it
much harder to conduct attacks inside Israel. Since the completion of the fence in the
area of Tulkarm and Qalqilyah in June 2003, there have been no successful attacks
from those areas. All attacks were intercepted or the suicide bombers detonated
prematurely.[45] In a March 23, 2008 interview, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader
Ramadan Shalah complained to the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq that the separation
barrier "limits the ability of the resistance to arrive deep within [Israeli territory] to
carry out suicide bombing attacks, but the resistance has not surrendered or become
helpless, and is looking for other ways to cope with the requirements of every stage"
of the intifada.[46]
Other factors are also cited as causes for the decline. According to Haaretz, a 2006
report by the Shin Beit concluded that "[t]he fence does make it harder for them
[terrorists]" but that attacks in 2005 decreased due to increased pursuing of
Palestinian militants by the Israeli army and intelligence organizations, Hamas's
increased political activity, and a truce among Palestinian militant groups in the
Palestinian Territories. Haaretz reported, "[t]he security fence is no longer mentioned
as the major factor in preventing suicide bombings, mainly because the terrorists have
found ways to bypass it
Effects on Palestinians[edit]

The barrier has many effects on Palestinians including reduced freedoms, reduction of
the number of Israel Defense Forces checkpoints, road closures, loss of land, increased
difficulty in accessing medical and educational services in Israel, restricted access to
water sources, and economic effects.
Reduced freedoms[edit]
In a 2005 report, the United Nations stated that:
... it is difficult to overstate the humanitarian impact of the Barrier. The route inside
the West Bank severs communities, people's access to services, livelihoods and
religious and cultural amenities. In addition, plans for the Barrier's exact route and
crossing points through it are often not fully revealed until days before construction
commences. This has led to considerable anxiety amongst Palestinians about how
their future lives will be impacted. ... The land between the Barrier and the Green Line
constitutes some of the most fertile in the West Bank. It is currently the home for
49,400 West Bank Palestinians living in 38 villages and towns.[52]
An often-quoted example of the effects of the barrier is the Palestinian town of
Qalqilyah, a city of around 45,000, which is surrounded on all sides by the barrier. One
8 meter-high concrete section of this wall follows the Green Line between the city and
the nearby Trans-Israel Highway. According to the BBC, this section, referred to as an
"anti-sniper wall," is intended to prevent gun attacks against Israeli motorists on the
Trans-Israel Highway.[53] The city is accessible through a military checkpoint on the
main road from the east, and an underground tunnel built in September 2004 on the
south side connects Qalqilyah with the adjacent village of Habla. Recently, the Israeli
Supreme Court ordered the government to change the route of the barrier in this area
to ease movement of Palestinians between Qalqilyah and five surrounding villages. In
the same ruling, the court rejected the arguments that the fence must be built only on
the Green Line. The ruling cited the topography of the terrain, security considerations,
and sections 43 and 52 of The Hague Regulations 1907 and Article 53 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention as reasons for this rejection.[22]
permanent resident permit and other special permits.
Fewer checkpoints and roadblocks
In June 2004, The Washington Times[54] reported that the reduced Israeli military
incursions in Jenin have prompted efforts to rebuild damaged streets and buildings and
a gradual return to a semblance of normality, and in a letter[55] dated October 25,
2004, from the Israeli mission to Kofi Annan, Israel's government pointed out that a
number of restrictions east of the barrier have been lifted as a result of it, including a
reduction in checkpoints from 71 to 47 and roadblocks from 197 to 111. The Jerusalem
Post reports that, for some Palestinians who are Israeli citizens living in the Israeli Arab
town of Umm el-Fahm (population 42,000) near Jenin, the barrier has "significantly
improved their lives" because, on one hand, it prevents would-be thieves or terrorists
from coming to their town and, on the other hand, has increased the flow of customers
from other parts of Israel who would normally have patronised Palestinian business in
the West Bank, resulting in an economic boom. The report states that the downsides
are that the barrier has divided families in half and "damaged Israeli Arabs' solidarity
with the Palestinians living on the other side of the Green Line".[56]

A UN report released in August 2005 observed that the existence of the barrier
"replaced the need for closures: movement within the northern West Bank, for
example, is less restrictive where the Barrier has been constructed. Physical obstacles
have also been removed in Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate and Jerusalem
Governorate where the Barrier is under construction." The report says that more
freedom of movement in rural areas may ease Palestinian access to hospitals and
schools, but also says that restrictions on movement between urban population
centers have not significantly changed.[57]
Loss of land[edit]
Parts of the barrier are built on land seized from Palestinians,or between Palestinians
and their lands. In a 2009 report, the UN said that the most recent barrier route
allocates more segments to be built on the Green Line itself compared to previous
draft routes of the barrier. However, in its current route the barrier is annexing 9.5% of
the total area of the West Bank to the Israeli side of the barrier.
In early 2003, 63 shops straddling the Green Line were demolished by the IDF during
construction of the wall in the village of Nazlat Issa. In August 2003, an additional 115
shops and stalls (an important source of income for several communities) and five to
seven homes there were also demolished.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), 15 communities
were to be directly affected, numbering approximately 138,593 Palestinians, including
13,450 refugee families, or 67,250 individuals. In addition to loss of land, in the city of
Qalqilyah one-third of the city's water wells lie on the other side of the barrier. The
Israeli Supreme Court says the Israeli government's rejection of accusations of a de
facto annexation of these wells, stating that "the construction of the fence does not
affect the implementation of the water agreements determined in the (interim)
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
estimates that in the north of the West Bank approximately 80 per cent of Palestinians
who own land on the other side of the barrier have not received permits from the
Israeli authorities, and hence cannot cultivate their fields.[65]
Israel has built a barrier in the Jordan Valley near the Jordan border. Because of
international condemnation after the 2004 International Court ruling Israel did not
build an even stronger barrier, instead instituting a restrictive permit regime for
Palestinians. However, it has changed the route to allow settlements to annex parcels
of land.The existing barrier cuts off access to the Jordan River for Palestinian farmers
in the West Bank.[68] Israeli settlement councils already have defacto control of 86
percent of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea[69] as the settler population steadily
grows there.[70] In 2013, Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Minister at the time, proposed
that Israel should consider unilateral disengagement from the West Bank and the
dismantling of settlements beyond the separation barrier, but maintain a military
presence in the Jordan Valley along the West Bank-Jordan border.[71]
Health and medical services
Mdecins du Monde, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and Physicians for Human
Rights-Israel have stated that the barrier "harms West Bank health". Upon completion

of the construction, the organizations predict, the barrier would prevent over 130,000
Palestinian children from being immunised, and deny more than 100,000 pregnant
women (out of which 17,640 are high risk pregnancies) access to healthcare in Israel.
In addition, almost a third of West Bank villages will suffer from lack of access to
healthcare. After completion, many residents may lose complete access to emergency
care at night. In towns near Jerusalem (Abu Dis and al-Eizariya), for example, average
time for an ambulance to travel to the nearest hospital has increased from 10 minutes
to over 110 minutes
Economic changes
In 2013, the World Bank cited estimates of costs to the West Bank economy
attributable to "barriers" combined with "checkpoints and movement permits" of USD
$185m and $229m.[75] Foreign Affairs contributor David Makovsky estimated the
number of West Bank Palestinians who lived on the Israeli side in 2004 as "fewer than
one percent" but noted that a larger number living in enclaves like Qalqiliya adjacent
to the fence were also adversely affected. The Israeli human rights organisation
B'Tselem says that "thousands of Palestinians have difficulty going to their fields and
marketing their produce in other areas of the West Bank. Farming is a primary source
of income in the Palestinian communities situated along the Barrier's route, an area
that constitutes one of the most fertile areas in the West Bank. The harm to the
farming sector is liable to have drastic economic effects on the residents whose
economic situation is already very difficult and drive many families into poverty."
Opinions of the barrier[edit]
United Nations[edit]
In October 2003, a United Nations resolution to declare the barrier illegal where it
deviates from the green line and should be torn down was vetoed by the US in the
United Nations Security Council.[79] In December 2003, Resolution ES-10/14 was
adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in an emergency special session.[80]
90 states voted for, 8 against, 74 abstained.[80] The resolution included a request to
the International Court of Justice to urgently render an advisory opinion on the
following question.[80]
"What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built
by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and
around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General,
considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva
Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly
The court concluded that the barrier violated international law.[35] On 20 July 2004,
the UN General Assembly accepted Resolution ES-10/15 condemning the barrier with
150 countries voting for the resolution and 10 abstaining.[81][82] 6 countries voted
against: Israel, the US, Australia, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall
Islands and Palau. The US and Israel rejected both the verdict and the resolution.[83]
All 25 members of the European Union voted in favour of the resolution after it was
amended to include calls for Israelis and Palestinians to meet their obligations under
the "roadmap" peace plan.[84]

On May 19, 2004, the United Nations passed Security Council Resolution 1544
reiterating the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its
legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and called
on Israel to address its security needs within the boundaries of international law. In a
special emergency session of the General Assembly, the United Nations asked the
International Court of Justice [ICJ] to evaluate the legal status of the barrier but as
Israel chose not to accept ICJ jurisdiction nor make oral statements, the opinion was
advisory rather than binding. Instead, Israel submitted a 246 page written statement
containing the views of the Government of Israel on Jurisdiction and Propriety to the
International Court of Justice[edit]
In a 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice, "Israel cannot rely on a right of
self-defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the
construction of the wall". The Court asserted that "the construction of the wall, and its
associated rgime, are contrary to international law."[1][13]
So in the July 9, 2004 ruling the ICJ advised that the barrier is a violation of
international law, that it should be removed, that Arab residents should be
compensated for any damage done, and that other states take action to obtain Israel's
compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. The ICJ said that an occupying power
cannot claim that the lawful inhabitants of the occupied territory constitute a "foreign"
threat for the purposes of Article 51 of the UN Charter. It also explained that necessity
may constitute a circumstance precluding wrongfulness under certain very limited
circumstances, but that Article 25 of the International Law Commission's Articles on
Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (ARSIWA) bars a defense of
necessity if the State has contributed to the situation of necessity. The Court cited
illegal interference by the government of Israel with the Palestinian's national right to
self-determination; and land confiscations, house demolitions, the creation of
enclaves, and restrictions on movement and access to water, food, education, health
care, work, and an adequate standard of living in violation of Israel's obligations under
international law. The Court also said that Israeli settlements had been established and
that Palestinians had been displaced in violation of Article 49, paragraph 6, of the
Fourth Geneva Convention.[86] On request of the ICJ, Palestine submitted a copious
statement.[87] The UN Fact Finding Mission and several UN Rapporteurs subsequently
said that in the movement and access policy there has been a violation of the right not
to be discriminated against on the basis of race or national origin.[88]
The Anti-Defamation League heavily criticized the ruling, asserting that the outcome
was stacked against Israel in advance through the biased wording of the submission. It
said that Israel was systematically excluded from any say in the Court's makeup and
asserted that an anti-Israel environment prevails at the General Assembly, which
"regularly demonize[s] Israel". According to the ADL, the politicized nature of the
process that produced the opinion threatens to undermine the integrity of the Court
and contravene constructive efforts to promote peace in the region.[89]
Israeli supporters of the barrier stood in the plaza near the courthouse, holding the
portraits of 927 terror victims. The organization Christians for Israel helped bring the
No. 19 bus, on which eleven civilians were killed, to the Hague.[90]

Israeli opinions[edit]
Main article: Israeli Supreme Court opinions on the West Bank Barrier
In March 2003, B'Tselem challenged the assumption used as the basis of the decision
to erect the barrier, that people who carry out attacks enter via open areas between
the checkpoints rather than through the checkpoints themselves.[91] According to
Israel's state comptroller's Audit Report on the Seam Area published in July 2002, "IDF
documents indicate that most of the suicide terrorists and the car bombs crossed the
seam area into Israel through the checkpoints, where they underwent faulty and even
shoddy checks."[91][92]
On June 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that a portion of the barrier west
of Jerusalem violated the rights of Palestinians, and ordered 30 km (19 mi) of existing
and planned barrier to be rerouted. However, it did rule that the Barrier is legal in
principle and accepted the Israeli government's assertion that it is a security measure.
On September 15, 2005, the Supreme Court of Israel ordered the Israeli government to
alter the route of the barrier to ensure that negative impacts on Palestinians would be
minimized and proportional.[93]
According to a survey conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, an
academic research institution of Tel Aviv University, there was overwhelming support
for the barrier among the Jewish population of Israel: 84% in March 2004 and 78% in
June 2004.[94]
Some Israelis oppose the barrier. The Israeli Peace Now movement has stated that
while they would support a barrier that follows the 1949 Armistice lines, the "current
route of the fence is intended to destroy all chances of a future peace settlement with
the Palestinians and to annex as much land as possible from the West Bank" and that
the barrier would "only increase the blood to be spilt on both sides and continue the
sacrificing of Israeli and Palestinian lives for the settlements."[95] Some Israeli left
wing activists, such as Anarchists Against the Wall and Gush Shalom, are active in
protests against the barrier, especially in the West Bank towns of Bil'in and Jayyous.
Shaul Arieli, a senior member of the Council for Peace and Security and one of the
architects of the Geneva Initiative wrote in Haaretz in March 2009 of the importance
"to complete the fence along a route based on security considerations." Arieli found
the fence to be justified due to legitimate concerns of Palestinian terrorism and
violence, but was critical of the then-government's alleged negligence of completing
the fence due to budgetary and political considerations. He called on the public to
"demand that the new government complete the fence quickly and along a logical
Daniel Ayalon, Israel's ambassador to the United States, suggested that reduced
ability to conduct attacks would "save the political process" because the barrier would
neutralize the ability of militant groups "to hold that process hostage" by conducting
these acts.[99]
Natan Sharansky, Minister of Housing and Construction at the time, viewed the
security fence as an option for Israel to defend itself, because the Palestinian Authority

had not become a partner in fighting terror, as it was obliged to do under all the
agreements that it signed[100]
Palestinian opinions[edit]
The Palestinian population and its leadership are essentially unanimous in opposing
the barrier. A significant number of Palestinians have been separated from their own
farmlands or their places of work or study, and many more will be separated as the
barriers near Jerusalem are completed. Furthermore, because of its planned route as
published by the Israeli government, the barrier is perceived as a plan to confine the
Palestinian population to specific areas.[101][102] They state that Palestinian
institutions in Abu Dis will be prevented from providing services to residents in the
East Jerusalem suburbs, and that a 10-minute walk has become a 3-hour drive in order
to reach a gate, to go (if allowed) through a crowded military checkpoint, and drive
back to the destination on the other side.[103]
More broadly, Palestinian spokespersons, supported by many in the Israeli left wing
and other organizations, say that the hardships imposed by the barrier will breed
further discontent amongst the affected population and add to the security problem
rather than solving it.
In his November 2006 interview with Al-Manar TV, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader
Ramadan Salah said that the barrier is an important obstacle, and that "if it weren't
there, the situation would be entirely different."[104]
The Palestinian National Authority has accused the U.S. of rewarding construction of
the barrier and replied, "[t]he U.S. assurances are being made at the expense of the
Palestinian people and the Arab world without the knowledge of the legitimate
Palestinian leadership. They are rewarding illegal occupation, settlement and the
apartheid wall."[105]
For over five years, hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli activists have gathered every
week to protest the barrier at the town of Bil'in.[106] A number of Palestinian
protesters have been killed by the IDF while protesting.[107] Covert operatives of the
Israeli government have posed as protesters and threw stones in the general direction
of the IDF to create a pretext for arresting protesters.[108] Protesters posed as
members of the fictional "Na'vi" race of the major motion picture "Avatar" during
protests following release of the movie, in an effort to compare the Palestinian struggle
with that of the fictional Na'vi race, who must defend themselves and their homeland
against foreign invaders.[109]
Replica section of the Israeli Barrier, built in London in 2013, as part of the
international protest against the Israeli wall.
Between 23 December 2013 and 5 January 2014 a major demonstration against the
wall was staged in London, in the grounds of St James's Church, Piccadilly. The
demonstration was entitled "Bethlehem Unwrapped", and featured a large section of
replica wall, reproducing both the fabric of the Israeli wall, and the graffiti to be found
on it. Protesters staffed the wall in order to explain the demonstration to visitors and
passers-by. Large signs were erected, drawing attention to intentional protest against
the wall. Particular reference was made to the International Court of Justice judgement

of 9 July 2004 that the security wall contravened international law. The demonstration
took place just days after the death of Nelson Mandela, and prominence was therefore
given on billboards to Mandella's statement "The UN took a strong stand against
apartheid... We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of
the Palestinians".[110] The replica wall, which was 8 metres tall (the same height as
the actual wall) was constructed as an art installation by Justin Butcher, Geof
Thompson, and Dean Willars, who also credited Deborah Burtin of Tipping Point North
South. They invited visitors to add additional graffiti, particularly in the forms of
prayers for peace.[111] St James' Church, which allowed the demonstration on its
grounds, and permitted its own church building to be almost entirely hidden by the
wall, issued a public statement supporting the right of Israel to defend its borders, but
condemning the wall, and the suffering which it caused to Palestinian peoples.[112]
The church statement drew attention to the request of the World Council of Churches
for all Christians to oppose the wall.[113]
Other International opinions[edit]
See also: International law and the ArabIsraeli conflict Legal issues related to the
Israeli West Bank barrier
The Red Cross[edit]
The Red Cross has declared the barrier in violation of the Geneva Convention. On
February 18, 2004, The International Committee of the Red Cross stated that the
Israeli barrier "causes serious humanitarian and legal problems" and goes "far beyond
what is permissible for an occupying power".[114]
Human rights organizations[edit]
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other Human rights groups have
protested both the routing of the wall and the means by which the land to build the
wall was obtained.[115] The Israeli women of Machsom Watch regularly monitor
events at checkpoints and report their findings. In a 2004 report Amnesty International
wrote that "The fence/wall, in its present configuration, violates Israel's obligations
under international humanitarian law."[116]
They continue:
Since the summer of 2002 the Israeli army has been destroying large areas of
Palestinian agricultural land, as well as other properties, to make way for a fence/wall
which it is building in the West Bank.
In addition to the large areas of particularly fertile Palestinian farmland that have been
destroyed, other larger areas have been cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the
The fence/wall is not being built between Israel and the Occupied Territories but mostly
(close to 90%) inside the West Bank, turning Palestinian towns and villages into
isolated enclaves, cutting off communities and families from each other, separating
farmers from their land and Palestinians from their places of work, education and
health care facilities and other essential services. This in order to facilitate passage
between Israel and more than 50 illegal Israeli settlements located in the West Bank.
World Council of Churches[edit]

On February 20, 2004 the World Council of Churches demanded that Israel halt and
reverse construction on the barrier and strongly condemned "violations of human
rights and humanitarian consequences" that resulted from the construction of the
barrier. While acknowledging Israel's serious security concerns and asserting that the
construction of the barrier on its own territory would not have been a violation of
international law, the statement called on "member Churches, Ecumenical Councils of
Churches, Christian World Communions and specialized ministries of churches to
condemn the wall as an act of unlawful annexation."[113]
United States opinion[edit]
In 2003, when the Bush administration was considering reducing loan guarantees to
Israel to discourage construction of the fence, then Secretary of State Colin Powell
criticized the project. He said, "A nation is within its rights to put up a fence if it sees
the need for one. However, in the case of the Israeli fence, we are concerned when the
fence crosses over onto the land of others."[117] Response from pro-Israel members of
Congress criticized the possible reduction in loan assistance. For example, Senator Joe
Lieberman, D-Conn., said, "The administration's threat to cut aid to Israel unless it
stops construction of a security fence is a heavy-handed tactic." Lieberman criticized
the threat as improper between allies, and continued, "The Israeli people have the
right to defend themselves from terrorism, and a security fence may be necessary to
achieve this."[117]
On April 14, 2004, President of the United States George W. Bush said "In light of new
realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is
unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and
complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a
two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.[118]
On May 25, 2005, President of the United States George W. Bush said "I think the wall
is a problem. And I discussed this with Ariel Sharon. It is very difficult to develop
confidence between the Palestinians and Israel with a wall snaking through the West
Bank."[119] The following year, addressing the issue of the barrier as a future border,
he said in a letter to Sharon on April 14, 2004 that it "should be a security rather than
political barrier, should be temporary rather than permanent and therefore not
prejudice any final status issues including final borders, and its route should take into
account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in
terrorist activities."[53] President Bush reiterated this position during a May 26, 2005
joint press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Rose Garden.
In 2005, Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the time a U.S. Senator from New York, said she
supports the separation fence Israel is building along the edges of the West Bank, and
that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism. "This is not against the
Palestinian people," she said during a tour of a section of the barrier being built around
Jerusalem. "This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to
prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism."[121]
In 2007, Senator Charles Schumer said: "As long as the Palestinians send terrorists
onto school buses and to nightclubs to blow up people, Israel has no choice but to
build the Security Wall." [122]

European Union opinion[edit]

According to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the EU considers the barrier to
be illegal to the extent it is built on Palestinian land.[123]
Canadian opinion[edit]
The Canadian Government recognizes Israel's right to protect its citizens from terrorist
attacks, including through the restriction of access to its territory, and by building a
barrier on its own territory for security purposes. However, it opposes the barrier's
incursion into and the disruption of occupied territories. Considering the West Bank
(including East Jerusalem) to be "occupied territory", the Canadian government
considers the barrier to be contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva
Convention. It opposes the barrier and the expropriations and the demolition of houses
and economic infrastructure preceding its construction.[124]
Border opinions[edit]
Although the Barrier is purported to be a temporary defense against Palestinian
attacks, many view it as significant in terms of future negotiations over Israel's final
borders.[125] Some speculate that because sections of the barrier are not built along
the Green Line but in the West Bank, the real purpose is to acquire territory.[7] Some
people describe the barrier as the de facto future border of the State of Israel. James
Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, has said that the barrier has
"unilaterally helped to demarcate the route for future Israeli control over huge West
Bank settlement blocks and large swathes of West Bank land".[126] According to
B'Tselem, "the overall features of the separation barrier and the considerations that
led to determination of the route give the impression that Israel is relying on security
arguments to unilaterally establish facts on the ground ..."[77] Chris McGreal in The
Guardian writes that the barrier is, "evidently intended to redraw Israel's borders".
Some have speculated that the barrier will prejudice the outcome of border
negotiations in favor of the Israelis.[127][128] Yossi Klein Halevi, Israeli correspondent
for The New Republic, writes that "[b]uilding over the green line, by contrast, reminds
Palestinians that every time they've rejected compromisewhether in 1937, 1947, or
2000the potential map of Palestine shrinks... The fence is a warning: If Palestinians
don't stop terrorism and forfeit their dream of destroying Israel, Israel may impose its
own map on them... and, because Palestine isn't being restored but invented, its
borders are negotiable."[129]
The Israeli Deputy Defence Minister in 2000 stated that the barrier did not necessarily
delineate the boundaries of a future Palestinian State.[34]
On March 9, 2006, The New York Times quoted then-acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert as stating that if his Kadima party wins the upcoming national elections, he
would seek to set Israel's permanent borders by 2010, and that the boundary would
run along or close to the barrier.[130]
In 2012 it was reported that Israel had presented principles for drawing a border,
which essentially propose to turn the West Bank separation barrier into the border with
a future Palestinian state.[131]

Apartheid opinions[edit]
Main article: Israel and the apartheid analogy
Ahmad Hajihosseini, Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC),
said that building and maintaining the wall is a crime of apartheid,[132] isolating
Palestinian communities in the West Bank and consolidating the annexation of
Palestinian land by Israeli settlements.
Malcolm Hedding, a South African minister who worked against South African
apartheid and Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem,
said that the West Bank barrier has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do
with Israel's self-defense. He said that Israel has proven its desire to reach an
accommodation with the Palestinians while granting political rights to its own Arab
citizens within a liberal democratic system, but that the Palestinians remain
committed to Israel's destruction. By contrast, he says, it was a tiny minority in South
Africa that held power and once democracy came, the National Party that had
dominated the masses disappeared.[133][134][135]
Art, Books, Film[edit]
Graffiti paintings on the wall by British graffiti artist Banksy
Section of West Bank barrier located on Route 443, near Jerusalem. Painting was likely
done by the official contractor.[136]
The wall has been used as a canvas for many paintings and writings. It has been called
the "world's largest protest graffiti".[137] Some of these (but not all) have been
removed by the Israelis, and sometimes by people on the Palestinian side.
Graffiti on the Palestinian side of the wall has been one of many forms of protest
against its existence, demanding an end to the barrier, or criticizing its builders and its
existence ("Welcome to the Ghetto-Abu Dis"[138] and "Blessed are the
In August 2005, U.K. graffiti artist Banksy painted nine images on the Palestinian side
of the barrier.[140] He describes the barrier as "the ultimate activity holiday
destination for graffiti writers", and returned in December 2007 with new images for
"Santa's ghetto" in Bethlehem.[141]
The exhibition "Santa's Ghetto in Bethlehem 2007"[142] was co-organized by Banksy
and a number of other artists with the aim of drawing attention to poverty in the West
Bank and boosting tourism.[143] On the wall, it features, among other images, a
peace dove dressed in a bulletproof vest that is being aimed at,[144] a young girl
frisking a soldier,[145] a donkey that is facing a soldier who is checking his identity
papers,[145] as well as a rat, one of Banksy's recurring themes, with a slingshot.[146]
[147] One of Italian artist Blu's contributions to the project, featured a walled
christmas tree surrounded by a number of stumps.[148] American contemporary artist
Ron English pasted portraits of Mickey Mouse dressed as a Palestinian with the slogan
"You are not in Disneyland anymore" on the wall.[147][149] In an expression of
frustration, Palestinian artist "Trash", glued the lower part of a leg on the wall that is
appearing to kick through it.[141]

Although many artists received positive attention and reviews, some Palestinian
people had negative opinions toward the artists' movement. A street artist from New
York, Swoon, put two works on the Sentry towers in Bethlehem. She did not anticipate
that some Palestinians would be opposed to her efforts. Swoon states that there was
much enthusiasm from the kids of the Aida refugee camp, who were excited about the
new artwork going on the wall. While the kids were excited, many elders believed that
the children would grow up with the wrong, positive idea of the wall. One elder from
the refugee camp claimed that "they don't necessarily want the kids to start viewing
that area positively, and so they see the work as a thing of beauty, but in a place
where beauty shouldn't be" (Parry, 10). Most international artists felt that they were
creating "something for the people trapped behind wall, as well as creating an
international symbol that would be broadcast around the world. [The elder man]
wasn't speaking about international symbols, but about what it means to live in the
shadow of an 80 foot guard tower" (Parry, 10). Although the graffiti artists felt that
they were making a statement with their pieces that would help bring attention and
help to the Palestinians, many Palestinians feel that it turns the wall into something
beautiful. By painting on the wall, some Palestinians feel that the wall turns into a work
of art instead "of an aggressive prison Wall" (Parry, 10). Of course, transforming the
wall into something positive was not the intention of the artists. They thought that
their work would bring out the oppressiveness and the emotion responses of the
people affected by the wall.[150][151]
On June 21, 2006, when he visited Israel to give a concert, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters
wrote "Tear down the wall" on the wall, a phrase from the Pink Floyd album The Wall.
In 2007, with their project "Face2Face",[153] French artists JR and "Marco", organized
what was then (until at least 2010), considered to be the largest illegal photography
exhibition ever made.[154] In monumental formats, portraits of Israelis and
Palestinians of similar professions and backgrounds were pasted next to each other on
the wall. The idea was to highlight similarities rather than differences between the
peoples. The project spanned over eight cities on both sides of the wall such as
Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah and Jerusalem.[155] The project was subsequently
hosted by a number of exhibitions around the world including the Biennale di Venezia
in Italy,[156] the Foam-Muse de la Photographie in Amsterdam,[157] the summer
photography festival "Recontres d'Arles" in Arles, Southern France,[158] Artitud in
Berlin, Germany,[159] Artcurial in Paris, France[160] and the Rath Museum in Geneva,
Switzerland.[161] JR's work, including "Face2Face" is currently shown at the Watari-Um
Museum in Tokyo, Japan.[162]
As part of a Dutch-Palestinian collaboration, led by Palestinian activist Faris Arouri,
Internet users were invited to submit 80-character long messages to be spray-painted
on the security barrier in exchange for a donation of 30 Euro. Messages that included
or incited racism, hate, violence or pornography were rejected.[163][164] About twothirds of the money raised was donated to social, cultural and educational grassroots
projects such as the renovation of the Peace and Freedom Youth Forum's open Youth
Center in Bir Zeit. When the project was ended, it was claimed to have reached
550,000,000 people worldwide and placed 1,498 messages on the wall.[164][165]
[166] One of the organizers of "Send a message", Justus van Oel, a Dutch theater

director, commissioned South African anti-apartheid activist and theologian Farid

Esack to compose a letter to be placed on the wall in 2009. The result was a 1,998word letter in English written in a single line and stretching over 2.6 km (1.6 mi) near
the town of Ramallah, comparing the situation in the Palestinian territories to the
South African apartheid era.[163]
The British photojournalist William Parry has recently published a book entitled
"Against the Wall" The wall was the primary focus of British playwright David Hare's
dramatic monologue Wall, which is being adapted as a live-action/animated featurelength documentary by the National Film Board of Canada, to be completed in 2014.
The barrier is also the subject of the 2011 documentary film, 5 Broken Cameras, which
documents the story of Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer of the Palestinian village of
Bil'in, who had intended to use his videocamera to record vignettes of his son's
childhood but ended up filming the resistance movement to the Israeli separation wall
that was erected through his village.[169] This award-winning film tells the story of the
nonviolent protests of the village residents and the international and Israeli activists
who join them, and of how in the course of his filming one after another of his cameras
is shot or smashed.[169][170]
Other barriers[edit]
See also: Border barrier, IsraelGaza barrier and IsraelEgypt barrier
Two similar barriers, the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier and the Israeli-built[171] 79 meter
(2330 ft) wall separating Gaza from Egypt (temporarily breached on January 23,
2008), which is currently under Egyptian control, are also controversial.[172]
See also: SaudiYemen barrier
In February 2004 The Guardian reported that Yemeni opposition newspapers likened
the barrier Saudi Arabia was building to the Israeli West Bank barrier,[173] while The
Independent headed an article with "Saudi Arabia, one of the most vocal critics in the
Arab world of Israel's "security fence" in the West Bank, is quietly emulating the Israeli
example by erecting a barrier along its porous border with Yemen".[174]
Head of Saudi Arabia's border guard, Talal Anqawi, dismissed comparisons with Israel's
West Bank barrier: "The barrier of pipes and concrete could in no way be called a
separation fence. What is being constructed inside our borders with Yemen is a sort of
screen ... which aims to prevent infiltration and smuggling," he said. "It does not
resemble a wall in any way."[173]
Detailed timeline[edit]
In 1992, the idea of creating a physical barrier between the Israeli and Palestinian
populations was proposed by then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, following the murder
of an Israeli teenage girl in Jerusalem. Rabin said that Israel must "take Gaza out of Tel
Aviv" in order to minimize friction between the peoples.[45][175] Following an
outbreak of violent incidents in Gaza in October 1994, Rabin said: "We have to decide
on separation as a philosophy. There has to be a clear border. Without demarcating the
lines, whoever wants to swallow 1.8 million Arabs will just bring greater support for
Hamas."[45][175] Following an attack on HaSharon Junction, near the city of Netanya,
Rabin made his goals more specific: "This path must lead to a separation, though not

according to the borders prior to 1967. We want to reach a separation between us and
them. We do not want a majority of the Jewish residents of the state of Israel, 98% of
whom live within the borders of sovereign Israel, including a united Jerusalem, to be
subject to terrorism."[175][176]
Inside the West Bank on the West Bank barrier
West Bank Barrier, Palestinian side
In 1994, the first section of a barrier (slabs of concrete contiguous for miles) was
constructed. The section follows the border between Bat Hefer and Tulkarm
In 1995, the Shahal commission was established by Yitzhak Rabin to discuss how to
implement a barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Barak, prior to the Camp David 2000 Summit with Yasser Arafat, vowed to build a
separation barrier, stating that it is "essential to the Palestinian nation in order to
foster its national identity and independence without being dependent on the State of
In 2000, during Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in Washington, Prime Minister
Ehud Barak approved financing of a 74 km (46 mi) fence between the Wadi Ara region
and Latrun.[34]
In 2001, following the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing, a grass roots
organization called "Fence for Life The Public Movement for The Security Fence"
began a grassroots effort to gather support for the construction of a security fence
along Israel's borders. "Fence for Life" urged the government to build a contiguous
fence as speedily as possible with a goal of hermetically sealing off the Palestinian
territories from Israeli population centers. The "Fence for Life" campaign emphasized
that any security fence has no connection whatsoever to the political future of the
settlements. The Movement for the Security Fence for Israel included protests,
demonstrations, conferences with public figures, media blitzes, lobbying in the Knesset
as well as legal battles in the High Court of Justice, both with demands to quickly build
the security fence and appeals not to cause further delay in construction. The
movement does not support any specific path for the barrier, as this is subject to a
government decision. "Fence for Life" was of the opinion that "politicization" of the
fence by various groups was delaying the completion of the security barrier and is
likely to block its construction. At the end of 2002, due to government inaction, several
localities who suffered the most from lack of a border barrier had started to build the
barrier using their own funds directly on the green-line.[178] Although then-Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon was initially hesitant to construct the barrier, he finally embraced
the plan.
In 2003, 180 km (112 mi) had been completed. In 2004, Israel started the southern
part of the barrier.[35] In February 2004, the Israeli government said it would review
the route of the barrier in response to US and Palestinian concerns. In particular, Israeli
cabinet members said modifications would be made to reduce the number of
checkpoints Palestinians had to cross, and especially to reduce Palestinian hardship in
areas such as the city of Qalqilyah which the barrier completely surrounds. On

February 20, 2005, the Israeli cabinet approved the barrier's route on the same day it
approved the execution of the Gaza disengagement plan.[125][179] The length of the
route was increased to 670 km (416 mi) (about twice the length of the Green Line) and
would leave approximately 10% of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and nearly
50,000 Palestinians on the Israeli side.[26] It also put the large settlement Maale
Adumim and the Gush Etzion bloc on the Israeli side of the barrier, effectively
annexing them.[125][179][180] The final route, when realized, closes the Wall
separating East Jerusalem, including Maale Adumim, from the West Bank. Before, the
exact route of the barrier had not been determined, and it had been alleged by
opponents that the barrier route would encircle the Samarian highlands of the West
Bank, separating them from the Jordan valley. In June 2004, in exchange for Finance
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's support Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza, Prime
Minister Sharon pledged to build an extension of the barrier to the east of the
settlement Ariel to be completed before the finish of the withdrawal from the Gaza
Strip. Despite the ICJ ruling that the wall beyond the Green Line is illegal, Ariel Sharon
reiterated on September 8, 2004, that the large settlement blocs of Ariel, Ma'aleh
Adumim and Gush Etzion will be on the Israeli side of the Barrier. He also decided that
the Barrier would run east of Ariel, but its connection with the main fence be
postponed.[181] Israel appropriated Palestinian private land to build upon the fence
and started preparations for the construction of the wall to the farthest point inside
the West Bank ever, 22 km beyond the Green Line, 3.5 kilometers long, and 100
meters wide.[182]
In 2005, the Israeli Supreme Court made reference to the conditions and history that
led to the building of the barrier. The Court described the history of violence against
Israeli citizens since the breakout of the Second Intifada and the loss of life that
ensued on the Israeli side. The court ruling also cited the attempts Israel had made to
defend its citizens, including "military operations" carried out against "terrorist acts",
and stated that these actions "did not provide a sufficient answer to the immediate
need to stop the severe acts of terrorism. ... Despite all these measures, the terror did
not come to an end. The attacks did not cease. Innocent people paid with both life and
limb. This is the background behind the decision to construct the separation fence (Id.,
at p. 815)."[22] As of February 2005, approximately 209 km (130 mi) of the Barrier
had been completed.[26][183]
In 2006, 362 km (224.9 mi) of the barrier had been completed, 88 km (54.7 mi) was
under construction and 253 km (157.2 mi) had not yet been started.[30] On April 30,
2006, the route was revised by a cabinet decision, following a suicide bombing in Tel
Aviv.[184][185] In the Ariel area, the new route corrects an anomaly of the previous
route that would have left thousands of Palestinians on the Israeli side. The Alfei
Menashe settlement bloc was reduced in size, and the new plan leaves three groups of
Palestinian houses on the Palestinian side of the fence. The barrier's route in the
Jerusalem area will leave Beit Iksa on the Palestinian side; and Jaba on the Israeli side,
but with a crossing to the Palestinian side at Tzurif. Further changes were made to the
route around Eshkolot and Metzadot Yehuda, and the route from Metzadot to Har
Choled was approved.[186][187]

In 2012, 440 km (273.4 mi) (62%) of the barrier had been completed, 57 km (35.4 mi)
(8%) was under construction and 212 km (131.7 mi) (30%) had not yet been started,
[36] with little progress made by 2014.[37]
As of September 2014, eight years after approving the 45 km stretch of barrier
enclosing Gush Etzion, no progress has been made on it, and Israel reopened the
debate. The fence is scheduled to go through the national park, the Nahal Rafaim
valley, and the Palestinian village of Battir. The Israeli land appropriated in Gva'ot
would be on the Palestinian side of the barrier.[37] On 21 September 2014, the
government voted to not reauthorize the barrier in the Gush Etzion area.[38]

The Wall
The Wall is not being built on, or in most cases near the 1967 Green Line, but rather
cuts deep into the West Bank, expanding Israels theft of Palestinian land and
resources. In total, 85% of the Wall is located in the West Bank.
When completed, the Wall and its associated regime will de facto annex some 46% of
the West Bank, isolating communities into Bantustans, ghettos and military zones.
This means that the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including
almost 1.5 million refugees, will be encircled on only 12% of mandate Palestine.
Some 12% of Palestinians in the West Bank will be living in the closed military zone of
the Jordan Valley or surrounded on three or four sides by the Wall or isolated between
it and the green line. They face increasingly unbearable living conditions - the loss of
land, markets, movement and livelihoods - and many will face expulsion.
This includes over 200,000 Palestinians of East Jerusalem, who will be totally isolated
from the rest of the West Bank. 98% of the settler population will be included in the de
facto annexed areas.
The Wall is not a new idea - since 1994 the Gaza Strip has been surrounded by a
barrier that cuts off Palestinians there from the rest of the world.

The Apartheid Walls Location and Costs

In November 2000 Israeli Prime Minister Barak (Labour Party) approved the first
project to build a barrier. Construction of the Wall, including land confiscation and
the uprooting of trees, began in June 2002 west of Jenin.
As of summer 2010, 520 km of the planned 810 km, or 64%, had been completed.
Wall construction was slow for most of 2010 as a result of worries about the financial
crisis and ongoing court cases. Instead of building new portions of the Wall, work
focused on modifications in the areas of Bilin, Jayyus and around Jerusalem.
In the latter half of 2010, there was renewed work in Jerusalem where the focus was
on closing gaps in certain areas. In Bethlehem, Wall construction has restarted in al
Walaja village, where the village will be surrounded on all sides. Work is also ongoing
in Beit Jala, where the Wall is being built along a settler road.
The Jordan Valley remains almost completely isolated from the rest of the West Bank
as a closed military zone.
According to Israeli military officials, the Walls total length will be some 810 km. The
cost of the Wall is now estimated at $2.1 billion, and each km costs approximately $2
million. In addition, the Occupation has spent 2 billion shekels to construct alternative
roads and tunnels.
The Wall has destroyed a large amount of Palestinian farmland and usurped water
supplies, including the biggest aquifer in the West Bank. 78 Palestinian villages and
communities with a total population of 266,442 will be isolated as follows:
Villages surrounded by Wall, settlements and settler roads - 257,265 Palestinians.
Villages isolated between Wall and Green Line - 8,557 Palestinians
Villages isolated and residents threatened with expulsion - 6,314 Palestinians.
The so-called disengagement, modifications, convergence and development
are all part of the Israeli rhetoric that hides the overall strategy for the complete
colonization of the West Bank and the expulsion or enslavement of the Palestinian
The modification of the path of the Wall, far from being a benefit for the local
population, often only returns a fraction of what was stolen. It also serves to distract
from the ICJ ruling, which calls for the dismantling of the Wall, not the rerouting of
small sections. In addition, these modifications often ensure that the lands that remain
isolated behind the Wall cannot be accessed by their owners, effectively annexing
them. Instead of dismantling settlements, the Occupation continues to expand them,
in particular those located around Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Apartheid Wall as a Network
The concrete Wall is present in Bethlehem, parts of Ramallah, Qalqilya, parts of
Tulkarm and throughout the Jerusalem envelope. It is 8 meters high - twice the height
of the Berlin Wall - with watchtowers and a buffer zone 30-100 meters wide for
electric fences, trenches, cameras, sensors, and military patrols. In other places, the

Wall consists of layers of fencing and razor wire, military patrol roads, sand paths to
trace footprints, ditches and surveillance cameras.
The Apartheid Walls buffer zone paves the way for large-scale demolitions and the
expulsion of nearby residents, as in many places the Wall is located just meters away
from homes, shops, and schools. The land between the Apartheid Wall and the Green
Line has been declared a seam zone, and all residents and landowners in this area
must obtain a permit to remain in their homes and on their lands.
The Occupation has created agricultural gates in the Wall; these do not provide any
guarantee that farmers will have access to their lands but instead strengthen Israels
strangling system of permits and checkpoints where Palestinians are beaten, detained,
shot at and humiliated. In total, there are:
34 fortified checkpoints - 3 main terminals, 9 commercial terminals, and 22 terminals
for cars and workers that control all Palestinian movement.
44 tunnels will connect 22 small ghettos inside 3 main ghettos.
634 checkpoints or other military obstructions including trenches, roadblocks, metal
gates under Occupation control.
1,661 km of settler roads connect settlements and settlement blocs and complement
the Wall system.
Creating Ghettos
The ghettoization project in all of its forms imprisons the Palestinian population and, in
many places, isolates it from basic services. This, along with the loss of land, markets,
and resources, results in the inability of communities to sustain themselves
adequately and with dignity.
Northern Ghetto
The northwestern part from Jenin to Qalqiliya (the first phase of 145 km) is complete
while continuing south until Salfit. From there it merges with the other portion of the
Wall to form a ghetto in the north.
Within the first phase, 13 villages west of the Wall have been de facto annexed to
Israel and some 50 villages are separated from their lands.
Also in the first phase, Israel has confiscated 36 groundwater wells and at least
another 14 wells are threatened with demolition in the Walls buffer zone.
Central Ghetto
Salfit, the most fertile area of the West Bank known as the food basket, will lose
more than 50% of its land isolated behind the Apartheid Wall.
North of Salfit, the Ariel settlement bloc cuts into 22km of the West Bank, separating
the Central Ghetto from the North. This annexes 2% of the West Bank.
The Wall winds 22km into the West Bank to annex the settlement blocs creating two
fingers: Immanuel and Ariel. The route of the two creates small, isolated Palestinian
ghettos. Communities like Izbat Abu Adam, Dar Abu Basal and Wadi Qana are isolated
inside the settlement blocs themselves. Another three villages, Az Zawiya, Deir Ballut

and Rafat, east of the Ariel Finger, are to be surrounded on four sides by the Wall and
connected to the reset of the West Bank by tunnel. More than a dozen villages located
along the route of the Wall will collectively lose thousands of dunums of productive
The Wall encircles the Holy City and the ring of settler colonies around it, furthering
Jerusalems isolation from the West Bank. The Wall rips through villages and
neighborhoods, separating families, cutting social and economic ties, and ghettoizing
areas stolen by the Zionist project in its plans for Jerusalem as the future capital of
New settlements are under construction around Jerusalem built on the annexed lands.
This seeks to enlarge the number of Jewish settlers in the area in the project to change
the citys demography. Some 25 villages and neighbourhoods will be completely
isolated from the rest of Jerusalem and the West Bank and squeezed into five different
ghettos. The Wall in Jerusalem is almost completed. Only small parts in the north and
east of the city are still under construction. The Jerusalem district will, in total, lose
90% of its land when the Wall is completed. It is a central component of the plan to
ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Jerusalem.
The right of Palestinians to live in Jerusalem is also under threat, and of the 396
Palestinian structures that were demolished by Israeli forces in 2010, many were
located in Jerusalem.
Southern Ghetto/Bethlehem/Hebron
In the southern West Bank the Apartheid Wall encircles Bethlehem by continuing south
of East Jerusalem in both the east and west. With the land isolated by the Wall,
annexed for settlements, and closed under various pretexts, only 13% of the
Bethlehem district is available for Palestinian use. In Bethlehem and Hebron concrete
walls surround the main holy sites, Rachels Tomb and Abrahams Mosque respectively.
Rachels Tomb is already inaccessible to Palestinians and is being annexed. The Wall
isolates thousands of dunums from Hebron district, threatening cattle rearing, which is
a main of source livelihood in the area.
Jordan Valley
Since 2000 the Valley has been surrounded with 6 checkpoints controlling all access.
The Occupation announced in February 2006 a plan to annex 28.5% of the Valley,
including 24 villages with a population of 52,000 along with their water resources and
the Eastern aquifer. 200,000 people living in the Tubas and Nablus regions who own
land or have family in the Jordan Valley are denied access.
Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip, with a population of some 1.5 million people in 365 km2 is one of the
most densely populated places on the globe. It is a prison that has been completely
surrounded for years by walls and razor wire. The Wall in Gaza extends to about 55
kilometers starting from northwest of Beit Lahia until southeast of Rafah. Along the

Wall runs a buffer zone which ranges, since the Gaza assault, between 300 600
meters. Anyone approaching the buffer zone runs the risk of being shot. The
consequences of the buffer zone have been severe. 25% of the most fertile
agricultural lands in Gaza are not useable. 15% of Gaza farmers are deprived of work,
joining the ranks of the unemployed and becoming dependent on the food aid.
Repression of popular resistance
Popular resistance to the Wall, which consists of demonstrations and various means of
direct action, began with the first demolitions in 2002 and has continued ever since.
Repression by Israeli forces has been severe. There have been 16 people killed in
demonstrations against the Wall, half of them under 18. Thousands more have been
injured, and hundreds arrested. From 2008 2009 in the village of Nilin, for instance,
nearly 500 were injured by Israeli fire, and more than 70 were arrested. The first wave
of killings and serious repression lasted for a year and began in 2004 with the killing of
5 people in Biddu, which had organized mass demonstrations against the construction
of the Wall. In 2005, 3 children were shot dead in Beit Liqya. A similar wave of killings
occurred during 2008-2009, when Occupation forces killed 5 in Nilin and 1 in Bilin,
again in response to ongoing resistance.
Repression continued in 2010, and arrests in villages protesting the Wall increased.
This is not to say that violence disappeared; protestors are continually beaten and
injured by projectiles at demonstrations. In March 2010, soldiers shot and killed
Mohammed Abdelqader Qadus (16) and Usaid Abd Qadus (19) in the village of Iraq
Burin. The village had been holding weekly demonstrations in protest of settler
violence and land confiscation.
Arrests related to actions against the Wall and settlements continued to increase. From
our grassroots committees and local human rights NGOs, there has been an estimated
250 arrests of human rights defenders (HRDs) in response to actions against the Wall
and settlements. This number does not include Jerusalem, where an estimated 750
Palestinians, many of them minors, were arrested in 2010.
Despite this repression, grassroots action against the Wall and settlements continue to
expand across the West Bank. Friday protests continued in the villages of Bilin, al
Masara and Nilin as well as the Saturday protests in Beit Ummar. The weekly protest
in an Nabi Saleh, which began a year ago, remains strong.
Marches against the checkpoint in Beitin, the Wall in al Walaja and Beit Jala have also
been organized, in addition to the protests against the settlements that were also
occurring every Saturday in Iraq Burkin and more recently in the old city of Hebron.
These demonstrations are costly for Occupation forces. During the trial of Abdallah
Abu Rahmah, documents presented revealed that ammunition used against
demonstrations from August 2008 2009 cost 6.5 million NIS (1.83 USD), and the
concrete wall erected in Nilin, a response to the continued cutting of the fence, cost
8.5 million NIS (2.39 USD).
Settlement expansion and settler violence

Despite the pretense of international political pressure, settlement expansion

continued in 2010, with a considerable amount of activity taking place in and around
Jerusalem. In January, 600 new settlement units were approved in East Jerusalem in
the settlement of Pisgat Zeev and around the Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat.
This was followed in March by the approval of 1600 housing in Ramat Shlomo, north of
Jerusalem, as well as 1300 units in Pisgat Zeev, Neve Yakoov, and Har Homa.
Construction on many of the buildings in Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yakoov began or
reached various stages of approval throughout the year. In April, the Occupation
municipality approved 321 settlement units in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
New homes for settlers were built around Bethlehem, where Occupation authorities
are also in the process of continuing Wall construction. In March 112 settlement units
were authorized for construction in Betar Illit, while in June construction on 100 units
began near Beit Jala and al Walajah. At the end of the year, a plan to build 90 housing
units in the Gilo settlement was approved.
Settlement activity continued in other areas of the West Bank as well. According to the
PNA, during the first half of 2010, 1135 housing units were built, 339 in East Jerusalem
and remainder in other parts of the West Bank. Also in the first half of 2010, 3009
settlement residential units were under construction, 1029 in the West Bank.
More construction is planned, and media reports in June reported settler councils
planned to build 2,700 new housing units, many in the northern West Bank. Other
reports in September revealed that 12,000 housing units were planned for East
Jerusalem settlements, and that 50,000 more new housing units were in various
stages of planning, approval or construction through the remainder of the West Bank.
Settler violence against Palestinians also increased in 2010, with more than 300
incidents recorded by UN OCHA. Of these, 205 related to attacks and damage of
property by settlers. In 108 cases settlers attacked and wounded Palestinians. As has
been the case in past years, attacks intensified during the yearly olive harvest, in
particular in villages around Nablus, where Palestinian residents faced dozens of
settler attacks.

Q&A: What is the West Bank barrier?

The West Bank barrier has been highly controversial ever since
the Israeli government decided to build it in 2002 and it remains
a bitter bone of contention after Israel's evacuation of
settlements in the Gaza Strip.
The BBC News website answers questions about the plan.
Wall? Fence? What exactly is this structure?
"The Thing", as one commentator has drolly called it, is in fact part-wall,
part-fence. Most of its 670-kilometre (420-mile) length is made up of a
concrete base with a five-metre-high wire-and-mesh superstructure. Rolls

of razor wire and a four-metre-deep ditch are placed on one side. In

addition, the structure is fitted with electronic sensors and has an earthcovered "trace road" beside it where footprints of anyone crossing can be
Parts of the structure consist of an eight-metre-high solid concrete wall,
complete with massive watchtowers. The solid section around the
Palestinian town of Qalqilya is conceived as a "sniper wall" to prevent gun
attacks against Israeli motorists on the nearby Trans-Israel Highway.
There are also sections of wall around Jerusalem - blocking off Ramallah
and Bethlehem and running through the village of Abu Dis.
Work started - at a cost of $2m a kilometre - in June 2002 and
contractors have now completed about half of the planned barrier: a long
segment on the north-west edge of the West Bank; two sections either
side of Jerusalem; and a section in the Jordan Valley.
But construction has been slowed with the Israelis announcing some
changes to the route necessitated by legal rulings.
On 20 February 2005 - the same day it approved the Gaza
disengagement plan - Israel's cabinet approved the current planned route
for the barrier, after Israel's Supreme Court ruled the previous route was
needlessly disruptive to Palestinians' lives.
The new route runs closer to Israel's boundary with the West Bank - the
Green Line - than the original one but will still include 6-8% of occupied
territory in the West Bank on the Israeli side.
Why is Israel building it?
The government says it is essential to prevent Palestinian would-be
suicide bombers from entering Israel and attacking Israeli civilians, as
has happened many times during the Palestinian intifada.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government was originally reluctant to build
the barrier - which was first championed by the centre-left opposition
Labour party.
Right-wing ministers and their hardline supporters were not keen to build
any structure which might be construed as a future Israeli-Palestinian
border which left Jewish settlements stranded in Palestinian land.
Pro-settlement objections have been largely assuaged by the fact that the
structure is not being built on Israel's pre-1967 boundary, but snakes
several kilometres into the West Bank to link settlements with Israel.
What are the main objections to the plan?
Israel's critics say the plan epitomises everything that is wrong with
Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and its approach to making peace
with its Arab neighbours.

Palestinian land is confiscated to build the

barrier; hundreds of Palestinian farmers
and traders are cut off from their land and
means of economic survival. Most
significantly, it creates "facts on the
ground" and imposes unilateral solutions
which preclude negotiated agreements in

The massive structure

is part-wall, partfence

Enlarge Image

the future.
The impact of the plan has been felt acutely in Qalqilya, once known as
the West Bank's "fruit basket", which lies within a tight loop in the wall. It
is cut off on three sides - from the farms which supply its markets and
the region's second-largest water sources. Access to the 40,000inhabitant town passes through a single Israeli checkpoint.
Why didn't Israel build the barrier along the old 1967 boundary?
Palestinians say a fence around the entire West Bank might have shown
the Israeli government was serious about ending the occupation - the
minimum requirement for a fair resolution of the conflict as far as
Palestinians are concerned.
As it is, the Palestinians argue, the current plan looks suspiciously like the
precursor to a structure which will hem them into discontiguous
"bantustans" on 42% of the West Bank - something they believe Mr
Sharon has been planning all along.
But Israel argues that the fence is purely a security obstacle, definitely
not a part of a future border. Israeli officials say there is nothing to
prevent the fence from being moved after a negotiated settlement.
Can legal action stand in the way of the barrier?
Court challenges have been made to the barrier both internationally and
in Israel itself.
The International Court of Justice ruled against the barrier in July 2004,
saying that it breaches international law and should be dismantled.
Calling it "tantamount to de facto annexation", the Court said the barrier
inhibited Palestinians' right to self-determination.
The court's decision - which came at the request of the United Nations
General Assembly - is advisory, not binding, and it has been rejected by
the Israeli government.
Civil rights groups have meanwhile gone to Israel's Supreme Court
questioning the principle of building the barrier on occupied land and the
restrictions it imposes on the Palestinians in the West Bank.
This challenge has not succeeded, but more limited challenges have. In
June 2004 the Court ruled that a 30-km section of barrier northwest of
Jerusalem imposed undue hardship on Palestinians and must be rerouted.
The Supreme Court specifically said Israel had to limit Palestinian

suffering, even if that meant accepting some restrictions on its ability to

defend itself. It accepted that security was the reason for building the
A second ruling in September 2005 ordered reconsideration of the route
around Alfei Menashe, south of Qalqilya, where several Palestinian
villages have been left stranded on the western, "Israeli" side of the
fence, devastating the local economy.
On this occasion, the court also rejected the World Court ruling, saying
Israel did have the right to build the barrier on occupied West Bank land,
but ordering that the route be determined by the army on the basis of
security needs.
Where does America stand?
Washington, still keen to keep alive the roadmap peace plan, views the
barrier as problematic because of its capacity to poison the atmosphere
between the two sides.
In an exchange of letters in April 2004, President George W Bush outlined
US policy in this way:
"As the government of Israel has stated, the barrier being erected by
Israel should be a security rather than political barrier, should be
temporary rather than permanent and therefore not prejudice any final
status issues including final borders, and its route should take into
account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not
engaged in terrorist activities."
What is the UN's position on the barrier?
In late September 2003, the UN issued a report which condemned the
barrier as illegal and tantamount to "an unlawful act of annexation".
In his report for the UN Commission on Human Rights, John Dugard, a
South African law professor, warned that about 210,000 Palestinians
living in the area between the wall and Israel would be cut off from social
services, schools and places of work.
"This is likely to lead to a new generation of refugees or internally
displaced people," he said.
Israel has dismissed the UN report as "one-sided, highly politicised and

Walled off: 12 years of Israels separation barrier

An international photography collective documents the evolution and conflicts
surrounding the barrier wall
March 12, 2014 11:51AM ET
by Mairav Zonszein @MairavZ
Barrier Wall
Construction on the barrier wall, 2006.Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org
The West Bank separation barrier or security fence or apartheid wall or antiterrorist fence, depending on whom you ask, is the largest infrastructure project in
Israel's history. Twelve years old this April, it costs Israel an annual average of $260
million for maintenance.
Since 2005, Activestills, a collective of Israeli, Palestinian and international
photographers, has been documenting the evolution of this structure and its impact on
the lives of those it is designed to keep out of Israel. In the process, Activestills has
created a compelling visual record of a physical structure that has come to exemplify
the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Children play soccer in Anata, Nov. 25, 2005. Photo by Yotam Ronen
barrier wall

Most of the barrier comprises a set of 2-meter-high, electrified barbed-wire fences with
vehicle-barrier trenches and a 60-meter-wide exclusion zone on the Palestinian side.
But in more densely populated urban areas, particularly those around Jerusalem, like
Anata, above, space limitations prompted the Israelis to instead build a concrete wall
to the height of 8 meters. The approximately 15,000 residents of the village are
surrounded on three sides by the barrier, which keeps its residents from regular access
to the businesses, hospitals, cultural centers and other services in the Holy City.
Wall construction in Anata, Dec. 20, 2006. Photo by Yotam Ronen
barrier wall
Construction of the barrier commenced on April 14, 2002, at the height of the second
intifada, when thenPrime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered it as a measure to protect
Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers. From the moment construction began,
Palestinians protested its route, 85 percent of which runs east of the Green Line, which
marked the 1967 boundary between Israel and the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The full route, as outlined in the blueprint approved by Israels Ministry of Defense, is
422 miles of zigzagging curves and loops, making it more than twice as long as the
199-mile-long Green Line. More than one-fifth of the planned barrier has not yet been
Demonstration against the barrier in Bilin, Sept. 23, 2005. Photo by Yotam Ronen
barrier wall
The Palestinian village of Bil'in began organizing demonstrations in 2005 to protest
construction of the barrier, whose route cut the village off from more than half of its
agricultural lands. Under Israeli military law, a protest, or even just a procession of 10
or more people, in Palestinian villages is illegal and warrants forceful dispersion. The
weekly protests at Bil'in, regularly suppressed by Israeli border guards using stun
grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, have become an international spectacle.
Almost everyone was at some stage either injured, or arrested, or having seen his/her
equipment destroyed, says Activestills photographer Anne Paq. This is not an
environment where you can be calm and have a lot of time to really do good pictures.
On some occasions, you do not even have time to think about the pictures you take.
Bassem Abu Rahme flies a kite at a demonstration in Bilin, July 25, 2008. Photo by
Oren Ziv
barrier wall
Bil'in resident Bassem Abu Rahme was killed on April 17, 2009, by a high-velocity tear
gas canister fired at his chest, in an incident captured on video. Known in his village as
Pheel (elephant, in Arabic) because of his large frame and fun-loving demeanor, Abu
Rahme was a regular at the weekly protest, often seen trying to reason with the
soldiers in broken Hebrew and English.

In September 2013, Israels military advocate general closed the investigation into
Abu Rahmes death without any indictment, claiming it was impossible to identify the
soldier involved, or to establish whether there had been a breach of regulations that
forbid tear gas canisters from being fired directly at human targets.
Al-Walaja, Dec. 7, 2010. Photo by Anne Paq
barrier wall
It may look like a surrealist painting, but this image of the barrier in Al-Walaja is very
real: The village is to be completely encircled by 360 degrees of concrete wall,
according to the planned route of the barrier.
Al-Walaja is a five-minute drive from southern Jerusalem, just across the Green Line.
Some of its lands were annexed by Israel in 1967, used to build the settlements Gilo
and Har Gilo. Part of the Israeli plan for this area is to build a national park that
preserves the agricultural terraces Palestinians have been farming for generations
although they will no longer be able to do so once the wall is finished. Residents are
currently engaged in a protracted legal battle over the route of the barrier.
Waiting near the Bethlehem checkpoint to attend Ramadan prayers at Al-Aqsa
Mosque, Aug. 10, 2012. Photo by Anne Paq
barrier wall
As of September 2013, there were 99 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank through
which Palestinians must pass to move between towns. Most have been privatized and
are run by employees of security companies rather than by uniformed Israel Defense
Forces soldiers, and are a constant source of disruption and humiliation in Palestinian
Protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Sarsak, Nablus, June 14, 2012.
Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz
barrier wall
I'm trying to focus on neglected issues, about issues that few people know about,
says Ahmad Al-Bazz, the photographer who took this picture on the 89th day of the
hunger strike of Mahmoud Sarsak, a midfielder for the Palestinian national soccer
team. Sarsak had been held under administrative detention in an Israeli prison for
three years without charge or trial. His plight, together with that of many other
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, became the focus of almost daily
demonstrations in Palestinian cities, although few of those received media attention.
Despite being blindfolded and handcuffed, one of the children looks directly at the
camera. The boy can see, his eyes are not totally covered. He noticed me while
taking photos. This is why he is looking right at me, al-Bazz explained.
Perhaps because of his role in the nascent Palestinian national soccer setup, Sarsak
became a popular symbol of protest. Even FIFA President Sepp Blatter called for his
release, which was achieved after he had gone 92 days without eating.

The wall as a giant screen, Bethlehem, Nov. 29, 2012. Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler
barrier wall
Residents of Bethlehem used the barrier as a screen on which to project the live feed
of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas formally appealing to the United
Nations General Assembly for Palestine to be granted non-member observer state
status. The vote was 1389 in favor of the upgraded status for Palestine, with 41
nations abstaining.
Director Emad Burnat near the wall in Bilin, Nov. 29, 2013. Photo by Hamde Abu
barrier wall
Emad Burnat began filming the protests against the separation barrier in his native
Bilin in 2005, the same year his fourth son, Gibreel, was born. Six years later, the
documentary Five Broken Cameras, which he co-directed with Israeli filmmaker Guy
Davidi, put the story of Bilin on the world map. It received critical acclaim, was
nominated for an Oscar and won an International Emmy Award, which he is pictured
holding here.
The movie has become an international success, and will even be screened in Israeli
high schools. But it has done nothing to move the wall or better the villages situation.
The photo was taken by Hamde Abu Rahma, also a resident of Bilin, who entered
photojournalism after seeing his cousin Bassem Abu Rahme shot and killed in 2009.
Climbing the wall to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, July 26, 2013. Photo by Oren
barrier wall
During the holy month of Ramadan last year, Israel granted thousands of permits to
Palestinians living in the West Bank that would allow them to reach the Al-Aqsa
Mosque in Jerusalem. But getting through the checkpoints can take hours, and not
everyone was granted a permit. It is much faster though also more dangerous to
simply climb over the wall.
Oren Ziv, one of Activestills co-founders, who took this photo, comments,
Mainstream media often leaves events early, or doesnt show up at all, so we get
exclusive photos.
Marathon, Bethlehem, April 21, 2013. Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler
barrier wall
When Palestinians staged their first-ever marathon, calling it the "Right to Movement"
race, runners had to complete two laps of the route. Thats because there simply isnt
one single stretch of 26 uninterrupted miles under Palestinian Authority control.
It's easy just to roll up and take some shots of the wall, of the cool graffiti or
whatever, says photographer Ryan Rodrick Beiler. Lots of people do that without

ever talking to someone who lives with it every day The harder thing is to show the
wall in a new way, or a way that shows its direct impact on people.
Muhammad Amira overlooking his agricultural lands, Nilin, Oct. 21, 2013. By Keren
barrier wall
In this photograph, Muhammad Amira is trying to get a good look at his olive trees and
grazing lands just beyond the barrier, with the sprawling settlement of Hashmonaim in
the background. Nilin residents have been cut off from about 7.5 acres of their
agricultural lands by the wall built there in 2007.
Amira is a farmer and science teacher who frequently attends protests against the
separation barrier. The village has lost five residents to IDF fire during protests over
the years, including a 10-year-old child.
Hole in the wall, Al Khader, West Bank. Nov. 22, 2013
barrier wall
Activestills will not divulge the identity of the photographer responsible for this
exclusive image, for fear of incriminating the Palestinians who broke the wall.
Lights from the Israeli settlement of Har Gilo are visible in the distance, and a beam of
light from Highway 60, the main north-south road traversing the West Bank
shines through the hole, as if a glowing buried treasure were discovered. In this case,
the army did not show up.