Israeli West Bank barrier


Israeli West Bank barrier

The Israeli West-Bank barrier is a barrier being constructed by Israel consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 meters wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 meters high concrete walls (10%).cite web
url = http://www.zionism-israel.com/hdoc/High_Court_Fence.htm
title = Israel High Court Ruling Docket H.C.J. 7957/04: International Legality of the Security Fence and Sections near Alfei Menashe
accessdate = 2007-04-16
date = September 15, 2005
publisher = Supreme Court of Israel
] It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or "Green Line" between Israel and Jordan which now demarcates the West Bank. As of|2006|4, the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometers (436 miles) long. Approximately 58.04% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier.cite web
url = http://www.btselem.org/english/Separation_Barrier/Statistics.asp
title = Separation Barrier: Statistics
accessdate = 2007-04-17
year = 2007
month = January
publisher = B'Tselem
] "The Jerusalem Post" reported in July 2007 that the barrier may not be fully constructed until 2010, seven years after it was originally supposed to be completed.cite web | url = http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1183980036196&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull | title = Fence to be completed only by 2010 | accessdate = 2007-07-10 | date = July 10, 2007 | publisher = The Jerusalem Post | last = Lazaroff | first = Tova]

The barrier is a highly controversial project. Supporters argue that the barrier is a necessary tool protecting Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism, including suicide bombing attacks, that increased significantly during the al-Aqsa Intifada;cite web
url = http://www.securityfence.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/questions.htm
title = Questions and Answers
accessdate = 2007-04-17
date = February 22, 2004
work = Israel’s Security Fence
publisher = The State of Israel
quote = The Security Fence is being built with the sole purpose of saving the lives of the Israeli citizens who continue to be targeted by the terrorist campaign that began in 2000. The fact that over 800 men, women and children have been killed in horrific suicide bombings and other terror attacks clearly justifies the attempt to place a physical barrier in the path of terrorists. It should be noted that terrorism has been defined throughout the international community as a crime against humanity. As such, the State of Israel not only has the right but also the obligation to do everything in its power to lessen the impact and scope of terrorism on the citizens of Israel.
] it has helped to significantly reduce incidents of terrorism from 2002 to 2005;cite web
url = http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16429529.htm
title = Death toll of Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians hit a low in 2006
accessdate = 2007-04-16
last = Nissenbaum
first = Dion
date = January 10, 2007
work = Washington Bureau
publisher = McClatchy Newspapers
quote = Israel's summer war with Hezbollah in the north and small rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip in the south have overshadowed a striking reality: Fewer Israeli civilians died in Palestinian attacks in 2006 than in any year since the Palestinian uprising began in 2000. Palestinian militants killed 23 Israelis and foreign visitors in 2006, down from a high of 289 in 2002 during the height of the uprising. Most significant, successful suicide bombings in Israel nearly came to a halt. Last year, only two Palestinian suicide bombers managed to sneak into Israel for attacks that killed 11 people and wounded 30 others. Israel has gone nearly nine months without a suicide bombing inside its borders, the longest period without such an attack since 2000.…An Israeli military spokeswoman said one major factor in that success had been Israel's controversial separation barrier, a still-growing convert|250|mi|km|sing=on network of concrete walls, high-tech fencing and other obstacles that cuts through parts of the West Bank. ‘The security fence was put up to stop terror, and that's what it's doing,’ said Capt. Noa Meir, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces.…Opponents of the wall grudgingly acknowledge that it's been effective in stopping bombers, though they complain that its route should have followed the border between Israel and the Palestinian territories known as the Green Line.
] its supporters assert that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism.cite web
url = http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=644798
title = Sen. Clinton: I support W. Bank fence, PA must fight terrorism
accessdate = 2007-04-16
last = Galili
first = Lily
coauthors = Roni Singer
date = November 13, 2005
publisher = Haaretz
quote = U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton said Sunday that 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,’ Clinton, a New York Democrat, 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.’ Clinton's comments echoed Israel's position that the Palestinians must crack down on militants or Israel will find ways to prevent attacks on its citizens.
]

Opponents argue that the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security,cite web
url = http://www.btselem.org/english/Publications/summaries/200512_Under_the_Guise_of_Security.asp
title = Under the Guise of Security: Routing the Separation Barrier to Enable Israeli Settlement Expansion in the West Bank
accessdate = 2007-04-16
year = 2005
month = December
work = Publications
publisher = B'Tselem
quote = The fact that the Separation Barrier cuts into the West Bank was and remains the main cause of human rights violations of Palestinians living near the Barrier. Israel contends that the Barrier's route is based solely on security considerations. This report disputes that contention and proves that one of the primary reasons for choosing the route of many sections of the Barrier was to place certain areas intended for settlement expansion on the "Israeli" side of the Barrier. In some of the cases, for all intents and purposes the expansion constituted the establishment of a new settlement.
] violates international law,cite web
url = http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/07/09/israel.barrier/index.html
title = U.N. court rules West Bank barrier illegal
accessdate = 2007-04-16
date = July 9, 2004
publisher = CNN
quote = The International Court of Justice has said the barrier Israel is building to seal off the West Bank violates international law because it infringes on the rights of Palestinians. In an advisory opinion issued Friday in The Hague, the U.N. court urged the Israelis to remove it from occupied land. The nonbinding opinion also found that Israel was obligated to return confiscated land or make reparations for any destruction or damage to homes, businesses and farms caused by the barrier's construction.
] has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations,cite web
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,976105,00.html
title = Set in stone
accessdate = 2007-04-16
last = Bedell
first = Geraldine
date = June 15, 2003
publisher = The Guardian
quote = The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, preoccupied with the road map and its own internal politics, ‘has neglected the wall,’ according to Jamal Juma. Yet the wall is crucial to the road map. At the very least, it is an attempt to preempt negotiations with a land grab that establishes new borders (and what the road map calls ‘facts on the ground’ that must be heeded). Arguably it is more devious: an attempt to undermine negotiations altogether - because what Palestinian Authority could sign up to the fragmented 'state' the wall will create?
] and severely restricts Palestinians who live nearby, particularly their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel.cite web
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,976105,00.html
title = Set in stone
accessdate = 2007-04-16
last = Bedell
first = Geraldine
date = June 15, 2003
publisher = The Guardian
quote = The wall shuts out the world beyond, creating an eerie silence and an absence of landscape. Eventually, it will encircle the town, but already, there is only one gate in and out of Qalquilya. Moving to and from the town is a draining process of waiting in the sunshine while papers are taken away and thought about. You can't take a car from one side to the other. When you finally get through, you have to trudge through a no-man's-land to pick up a bus or taxi.…Until the start of the current round of violence (the second intifada, in September 2000), 85,000 Israelis and Palestinians used to pour into Qalquilya every week to visit the shops and markets. Goods were cheaper than in Israel. No one comes any more, partly out of fear, partly because it's so hard to get in or out. And now the wall threatens to cut the town off from 80 per cent of its agricultural land and 19 of its wells.…Before the construction started, half of Qalquilya's income came from agriculture. Now, 4,000 people - 10 per cent of the population - have left. An additional 2,200 heads of household have gone to find work elsewhere, leaving their families behind.…Unemployment is now 69 per cent. With its bottleneck entrance so often corked, the town is coming close to economic strangulation. More than 600 businesses have closed and many residents have been unable to pay their municipal taxes, with the result that the Qalquilya municipality owes approximately 3.5 m shekels (£490,000) to the Israeli Electric Company, which is threatening to cut off the city's supply.…The story of overcrowding and economic peril will be repeated in other Palestinian cities, according to Jamal Juma, co-ordinator of the Palestinian Environmental Network: ‘In 10 years, there will be no room to expand. Forced off the land, Palestinians will be clustered into already heavily populated urban areas; with no alternative sources of income, they will be a source of cheap labour for Israeli factories.’
] In a 2004 decision, the International Court of Justice declared construction of the wall "contrary to international law."cite web
url = http://www.icj-cij.org/icjwww/idocket/imwp/imwpframe.htm
title = Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Advisory Opinion
accessdate = 2007-04-16
date = July 9, 2004
work = Cases
publisher = International Court of Justice
archiveurl = http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&p1=3&p2=1&case=131&p3=6
archivedate = 2004-07-04
quote =
]

Settler opponents, by contrast, condemn the wall for appearing to renounce the Jewish claim to the whole of "Eretz Israel".cite web
url = http://www.womeningreen.org/sayjune02.htm
title = Building the Ghetto Wall of Auschwitz
accessdate = 2007-04-16
date = June 21, 2002
work = Media Releases - June 2002
publisher = Women In Green
quote = Women In Green will demonstrate at the Rose Garden in Jerusalem during the time the Cabinet is in session on Sunday, June 23, 2002 at 9 A.M. against the building of a ghetto wall in the heartland of historic Israel. The futile act is one that disgraces the dignity and nobility of the Jewish People, and makes a mockery of its basic national aspirations. Such a wall or fence will not provide the security that it is supposed to bring. The Arabs who live in our midst have to make an immediate decision. Either they wish to live in peace amongst us, or they must leave and return to the surrounding Arab countries from which they emigrated to the Promised Land. It is the whole Arab populace that delights in murder and mayhem, and have done so for the years that they have been here. They can no longer extol those who murder and are suicide bombers, and U.S. President Bush, or anyone else should not have double standards, and have Israel tolerate the hostile positions of the Arabs. The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People as the Bible and the God of Israel has indicated. If the Arabs wish to live in a Jewish State under Israel sovereignty, they must do so in a peaceful and tolerant manner.
]

Two similar barriers, the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier and the Israeli-built [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3072620,00.html Army building new Gaza barrier - Israel News, Ynetnews ] ] convert|40|ft|m|sing=on wall separating Gaza from Egypt (temporarily breached on January 23, 2008), have been much less controversial.cite web |date=January 24, 2008|url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3238615.ece|title = Hamas 'spent months cutting through Gaza wall in secret operation'|format = HTML |publisher = pub| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last=(Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty) |quote=]

Overview

Names of the barrier

The naming of the barrier is controversial. Israelis most commonly refer to the barrier as the "separation "(hafrada)" fence" (Audio|He-Gader_Hahafrada.ogg|גדר ההפרדה, "gader ha'hafrada" or "geder ha'hafrada") and "security fence" or "anti-terrorist fence", with "seam zone" referring to the land between the fence and the 1949 armistice lines.

Palestinians most commonly refer to the barrier in Arabic as Audio|ArWestBankBarrier.ogg|"jidar al-fasl al-'unsuri", (racial segregation wall), and some opponents of the barrier refer to it in English as the "Apartheid Wall".

The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion on the barrier, wrote it had chosen to use the term "wall" because "the other expressions sometimes employed are no more accurate if understood in the physical sense."cite web
url = http://www.icj-cij.org/icjwww/idocket/imwp/imwpframe.htm
title = Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Advisory Opinion
accessdate = 2007-04-16
date = July 9, 2004
work = Cases
publisher = International Court of Justice
archiveurl = http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&p1=3&p2=1&case=131&p3=6
archivedate = 2004-07-04
quote =
]

The BBC's style guide for journalists states "The BBC uses the terms "barrier", "separation barrier" or "West Bank barrier" as acceptable generic descriptions to avoid the political connotations of "security fence" (preferred by the Israeli government) or "apartheid wall" (preferred by the Palestinians)."cite web |date= 12 October 2006, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK|url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/newsid_6040000/newsid_6044000/6044090.stm#barrier|title = Israel and the Palestinians: Key terms|format = HTML |publisher = BBC News| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= |quote= BBC journalists should try to avoid using terminology favoured by one side or another in any dispute. The BBC uses the terms "barrier", "separation barrier" or "West Bank barrier" as acceptable generic descriptions to avoid the political connotations of "security fence" (preferred by the Israeli government) or "apartheid wall" (preferred by the Palestinians). ]

History and stated purpose

The idea of creating a physical barrier between the Israeli and Palestinian populations was first proposed by Yitzhak Rabin in 1992, 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.cite journal
last = Makovsky
first = David
year = 2004
month = March/April
title = How to Build a Fence
journal = Foreign Affairs
volume = 83
issue = 2
pages = 50–64
issn = 0015-7120
accessdate = 2007-04-16
url = http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=cache:bmn8VgiU6WoJ:www.amherst.edu/~daschaich/writings/rant/fence.pdf+
] Following an outbreak of violent incidents in Gaza in October 1994, Rabin announced his stance that "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."

To this end, the government of Yitzhak Rabin built the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier in 1994. 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.

In early 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 Israel".

Following a Palestinian violence outbreak in 2002, Israel began construction of a barrier that would separate most of the West Bank from areas inside Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court made reference to the conditions and history that led to the building of the barrier. In the September 2005 decision, it 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)

Grassroots effort

In June 2001, a grass roots organization called "Fence for Life - The Public Movement for The Security Fence" began the grassroots effort for the construction of a continuous security fence. The movement was founded by people from all over Israel following the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing.

The stated goal of the movement is to encourage the government to construct a security fence along Israel's borders. "Fence for Life" urged the government to build a continuous fence as speedily as possible, and without any connection to the political future of the areas it separates, with a goal of hermetically sealing off the Palestinian territories from Israeli population centers to prevent the terrorist acts by Palestinians against the people living in Israel.

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 as well as 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.cite web
url = http://www.7th-day.co.il/hayom-hashvie/fence.htm
title = Gilboa towns build DIY separation fence
accessdate = 2007-04-16
last = Ratner
first = David
date = February 12, 2002
publisher = Haaretz
quote = Residents in the Gilboa region waited two years for a separation fence to be built. Now, after having sent repeated entreaties to the government and having received assorted, unfulfilled promises, they have decided to ‘take the law into their own hands,’ and build the fence themselves.
]

Government action

Although the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was initially hesitant to construct the barrier, he finally embraced the plan. The stated purpose of the barrier is to prevent terrorists from entering Israeli cities, a problem which has plagued Israel since the start of the Second Intifada. A secondary purpose of the barrier is to prevent illegal infiltrations by Palestinians, mainly illegal immigrants and car thieves. The Israeli government says that the high concrete portions are to protect cars and people on the Israeli side from gunfire. Many Israelis note the danger of terrorist incursions from the area, such as waves of suicide bombings in early 2002.

According to Natan Sharansky, Minister of Housing and Construction at the time:

When Israel's free society was defending itself against an unprecedented campaign of terror, most of the international community was calling for an end of the "cycle of violence" and a return to the negotiating table. When the Palestinian terrorists struck... Israel was condemned for imposing "collective punishment" on the Palestinian population. When Israel chose to target individual terrorists with precision air strikes, its actions were condemned as illegal extrajudicial assassinations. It seemed that in eyes of many, the Jews had a right to defend themselves in theory but could not exercise that right in practice... our government understood that there were three options to maintain an acceptable level of security for our citizens. The first was to wage a total war against Palestinian terror using weapons that would claim many innocent Palestinian lives. The second was to keep our reserves constantly mobilized to defend the country. The third option was to build the security fence. Had the Palestinian Authority become a partner in fighting terror, as it was obliged to do under all the agreements that it signed, none of these options would have become necessary. [Natan Sharansky: "The Case for Democracy" p.214]

Route and route timeline

The barrier generally runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice/Green Line, but diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Jewish settlements in the West Bank such as East Jerusalem, Ariel, Gush Etzion, Emmanuel, Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze'ev, Oranit, and Maale Adumim. [cite web
url = http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/11/05/mideast
title = Palestinians: Israel hands out land confiscation notices
accessdate = 2007-04-16
date = November 7, 2003
publisher = CNN
quote = The West Bank barrier generally runs close to the pre-1967 Mideast war border -- the so-called Green Line -- but dips into the West Bank to include some Jewish settlements. Israel says a new section will extend deep into the West Bank, surrounding several West Bank towns.
] Because of the complex path it follows, most of the barrier is actually set in the West Bank. It diverges from the "Green Line" by anywhere from 200 meters to as much as 20 kilometers, with the result that many Israeli settlements in the West Bank remain on the Israeli side of the barrier, and some Palestinian towns are nearly encircled by it. Approximately 20% is actually on the Green Line. [ [http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/659581cf3863644f85256fbf0068c624!OpenDocument February 2005 barrier projections - Preliminary analysis of humanitarian implications- OCHA report, maps (8 March 2005) ] ] The proponents of the barrier claim that its route is not set in stone, as it was challenged in court and changed several times. They note that the cease-fire line of 1949 was negotiated "without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines" (Art. VI.9). [ [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/arm03.htm The Avalon Project : Jordanian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement, April 3, 1949 ] ] Security experts argue 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. [ [http://www.mideastweb.org/thefence.htm Map of the Israeli security Fence - Updated Status and Evolution ] ] The International Court of Justice has countered that in such cases it is only legal to build the barrier inside Israel.As of|2003|11, the barrier extends inside most of the northwestern and western edges of the West Bank, sometimes close to the Green Line, and sometimes running further east. In some places there are also secondary barriers, creating a number of completely enclosed enclaves.

In February 2004, Israel said it would review the route of the barrier in response to U.S. 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 Qalqilyah where the barrier goes very near, and in some cases nearly encircles, populated areas.

On June 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that a portion of the barrier west of Jerusalem violates the rights of Palestinians, and ordered 30 km of existing and planned barrier to be rerouted. However, it did rule that the barrier is legal in essence and accepted the Israeli government's claim that it is a security measure. On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion that it is a violation of international law. At the beginning of September 2004, Israel started the southern part of the barrier.

On February 20, 2005, the Israeli cabinet approved a new route. The new route is 681 kilometers and would leave approximately seven percent of the West Bank and 10,000 Palestinians on the Israeli side. ( [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/images/maps/fence10.jpgMap] ) Before that time, the exact route of the barrier had not been finalized, 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. [ [http://www.arij.org/paleye/Segregation-Wall/7.5%20The%20full%20extent%20of%20the%20segregation%20Zones%20in%20the%20West%20Bank.pdf] ]

Following a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, the route was again revised by a cabinet decision on April 30, 2006. [ [http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2006/04/israel-cabinet-approves-changes-to.php JURIST - Paper Chase: Israel cabinet approves changes to security fence route ] ] The route [ [http://www.seamzone.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/images/Seamzone_map_eng.jpgSeam zone map] ] [ [http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/WB_Barrier_Overview_Changes_July06.pdf Barrier overview July 2006] ] now leaves fewer Palestinians and less West Bank land on the Israeli side of the barrier.Fact|19 July 2008|date=July 2008 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. [ [http://www.seamzone.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/news.htm#news45 Israel Security Fence - Ministry of Defense ] ]

See also 1949 Cease-fire line vs. the permanent border.

Structure

Most of the barrier (over 95% of total length) consists of a "multi-layered fence system"cite web |date= 2007-01-31|url = http://www.securityfence.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/operational.htm|title = OPERATIONAL CONCEPT|format = HTML |publisher = The State of Israel| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= |quote=Solid barrier system ... main purpose is to prevent sniper fire into Israel and on major highways and roads. In this case, a solid concrete wall resembling a highway sound barrier often used in the US and Europe is erected. Once the whole project is completed, the portion of the concrete sections will be 6%, approximately 30 km.] ideally 50 m in width. The IDF's preferred design has three fences, with pyramid-shaped stacks of barbed wire for the two outer fences and a lighter-weight fence with intrusion detection equipment in the middle. Patrol roads are provided on both sides of the middle fence, an anti-vehicle ditch is located on the West Bank side of the fence, and a smooth dirt strip on the Israeli side for "intrusion tracking".

Some sections (less than 5% of total length) are constructed as a wall made up of concrete slabs up to 8 m in height and 3 m in width. Occasionally, due to topographic conditions other sections of the barrier will reach up to 100 m in width.cite web |date=April 2003|url = http://www.nad-plo.org/palisraeli/wall/related/bwall.pdf|title = Behind The Barrier : Human Rights Violations As a Result of Israel's Separation Barrier|format = PDF|publisher = B’Tselem| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= Researched and written by Yehezkel Lein|quote=The average width of the barrier complex is sixty meters. Due to topographic constraints, a narrower barrier will be erected in some areas and will not include all of the elements that support the electronic fence. However, as the state indicated to the High Court of Justice, “in certain cases, the barrier will reach a width of one hundred meters due to the topographic conditions.”] Wall construction (5%) is more common in urban settings, such as areas near Qalqilyah and Jerusalem, because it is narrower, requires less land, and provides more protection against snipers. In all cases there are regular observation posts, automated sensing devices and other apparatus. Gates at various points are controlled by Israeli soldiers.

Effects and consequences

Effects on Israeli security

Israeli statistics indicate that the barrier has drastically reduced the number of Palestinian infiltrations and suicide bombings and other attacks on civilians in Israel and in Israeli settlements, and Israeli officials assert that completion of the barrier will make it even more effective in stopping these attacks [ [http://securityfence.mfa.gov.il/mfm/Data/48152.doc Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs] ] since "An absolute halt in terrorist activities has been noticed in the West Bank areas where the fence has been constructed". [ [http://www.nclci.org/news/terrorism_news.htm] Dead link|date=March 2008]

Israeli officers (including the head of the Shin Bet) quoted in the newspaper "Maariv" have claimed 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 Tulkarem and Qalqilyah in June 2003, there have been no successful attacks from those areas. All attacks were intercepted or the suicide bombers detonated prematurely. In a March 23, 2008 interview, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah 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. [ [http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ct_250308e.htm Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)] ]

There is general agreement that effects to date have coincided with improved Israeli security.cite web
url = http://www.securityfence.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/questions.htm#q26
title = Is the fence effective?
accessdate = 2007-04-20
date = February 22, 2004
work = Israel’s Security Fence: Questions and Answers
publisher = The State of Israel
quote = Members of Palestinian terror infrastructure caught and questioned disclosed the fact that the existence of the Security Fence in the Samaria area forces them to find of other means to perform terror attacks since their previous entry to Israel is blocked.
]

However, there is debate over how effective the barrier has been in preventing terrorist attacks. A report by the Shin Beit, published in early 2006 notes that terror attacks in 2005 have significantly 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. According to "Haaretz" the report also mentions that "The security fence is no longer mentioned as the major factor in preventing suicide bombings, mainly because the terrorists have found ways to bypass it."Cite web|url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=664916|title=Shin Bet: Palestinian truce main cause for reduced terror|accessdate=2007-08-11|publisher=Haaretz|year=2006|author=Amos Hrel]

Effects on demography and asset values

According to a 2005 report published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the barrier being built around Jerusalem may have unintended effects on the city. According to the study, many Jerusalem Palestinians who were living in areas outside the barrier are now moving back into the city, creating housing shortages, increased real estate prices, and the phenomena of Palestinians moving into traditionally Jewish neighborhoods of the city. [ [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=632264 Your Financial News Source ] ]

Effects on Palestinians

The barrier has many effects on Palestinians including reduced freedoms, reduction of Israeli checkpoint and closures, loss of land, increased difficulty in accessing medical services in Israel, restricted access to water sources, change in political tactics and strategy, and economic effects.

In an interview with "Al-Sharq", Ramadan Abdallah Shalah, leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, mentioned that the Second Intifada was currently characterized by rocket fire , which had replaced the previous stage of suicide bombing attacks. That, he said, was because Israel had found ways and means to protect itself from such attacks: "For example, they built a separation fence in the West Bank. We do not deny that it limits the ability of the militants to arrive deep within Israeli territory to carry out suicide bombing attacks." [http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ct_250308e.htm Palestinian Islamic Jihad ] ]

Reduced freedoms

In a 2005 report, the UN stated that:

An often-quoted example of the effects of the barrier is the Palestinian town of Qalqilyah, a city of around 45,000, where an 8 meter-high concrete section is built on the Green Line between the city and the nearby Trans-Israel Highway. The wall in this section, referred to as an "anti-sniper wall," has been claimed to prevent gun attacks against Israeli motorists on the nearby Trans-Israel Highway.cite web |date= 15 September 2005, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK |url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3111159.stm|title = Q&A: What is the West Bank barrier?|format = HTML |publisher = BBC News| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= |quote=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.] The city is accessible through a 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 5 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 4th Geneva Convention as reasons for this rejection.

In early October 2003, the IDF OC Central Command declared the area between the separation barrier in the northern section of the West Bank (Stage 1) and the Green Line a closed military area for an indefinite period of time. New directives stated that every Palestinian over the age of twelve living in the enclaves created in the closed area have to obtain a “permanent resident permit” from the Civil Administration to enable them to continue to live in their homes. Other residents of the West Bank have to obtain special permits to enter the area.

Decreased checkpoints and closures

In June 2004, the Washington Times [ [http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20040624-112922-9037r.htm Washington Times - Mideast security barrier working ] ] reported that the reduced need for 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 [ [http://www.israel-un.org/committees/duggardrprt.htm The Israeli Government's Official Website, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ] ] 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 the barrier, 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". [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer&cid=1087441302553 Variables.theArticle:headline | Jerusalem Post ] ]

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 Jerusalem governorates where the Barrier is under construction." The report notes that more freedom of movement in rural areas may ease Palestinian access to hospitals and schools, but also notes that restrictions on movement between urban population centers have not significantly changed. [http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/opt/docs/UN/OCHA/ochaHU0805_En.pdf]

Loss of land

Parts of the barrier are built on land confiscated from Palestinians.cite web |date= November 7, 2003 Posted: 0332 GMT (11:32 AM HKT)|url = http |title = Palestinians: Israel hands out land confiscation notices|format = HTML |publisher = CNN News| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= |quote=] In a recent report, the UN noted 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.

As of|2004|5, the fence construction had already uprooted an estimated 102,320 Palestinian olive and citrus trees, demolished 75 acres (0.3 km²) of greenhouses and 23 miles (37 km) of irrigation pipes. At that point, it rested on 15,000 dunums (3,705 acres or 15 km²) of confiscated land, only meters away from a number of small villages, or hamlets. In early 2003, in order to move a section of the barrier to the Green Line, a ramshackle mall of 63 shops straddling that line into Israel was demolished by the IDF in the village of Nazlat Issa after giving their owners 30 minutes notice.cite web |date=March 2004|url = http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/opt/docs/UN/OCHA/Barrierupdate7mar04.pdf|title = The Impact of Israel’s Separation Barrier on Affected West Bank Communities|format = HTML |publisher = Humanitarian Emergency Policy Group (HEPG)| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last=HEPG |quote=In preparation of the new route of the Barrier in Nazlat Isa, the IDF demolished more than 120 shops during August 2003. A second demolition of 82 shops was completed by the IDF in January 2003. Storeowners were given as little as 30 minutes to evacuate their premises before the demolitions started. Apart from Tulkarm town, Nazlat Isa was the main commercial centre for the Tulkarm area and was heavily dependent on commerce with Israel.] cite web |date= 2003-01-22|url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E1DF1030F931A15752C0A9659C8B63|title = Israel Destroys Arabs´ Shops in West Bank (NY TIMES)JERUSALEM, ISRAEL) |format = HTML |publisher = NYTimes| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= JAMES BENNET|quote=Jan. 21 — The Israeli Army used bulldozers to flatten dozens of shops today in one of the only thriving Palestinian commercial centers near the West Bank boundary, saying that the store owners lacked permits.] 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. [ [http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=2401&CategoryId=4 MIFTAH-Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors – Part V: Focus on Zayta ] ] [http://www.palestinemonitor.org/factsheet/wall_fact_sheet.htm] The Israeli government has promised that trees affected by the construction will be replanted. [ [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Saving%20Lives-%20Israel-s%20anti-terrorist%20fence%20-%20Answ Saving Lives- Israel's anti-terrorist fence - FAQ ] ]

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 notes 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) agreement".

Health and medical services

Médecins du Monde, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel have stated that the barrier "harms West Bank health".cite web |date= 15 February, 2005, 17:26 GMT |url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4268079.stm|title = Barrier 'harms West Bank health'|format = HTML |publisher = BBC News| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= |quote=] 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.cite web |date=2005;330:381 (19 February)|url = http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/330/7488/381|title = Barrier in West Bank threatens residents' health care, says report|format = HTML |publisher = BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last=Deborah Cohen |quote=In Abu Dis and Aizaria, two Palestinian towns where the barrier has already been completed, the average time for an ambulance to travel to the nearest hospitals in Jerusalem has increased from about 10 minutes to over one hour and 50 minutes, according to the report. Mr Garrigue says that once the barrier is completed this problem will affect many more villages.] A report from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel states that the barrier imposes "almost-total separation" on the hospitals from the population they are supposed to serve.cite web |date= October 20, 2005 10:02:00 AM|url = http://www.phr.org.il/phr/files/articlefile_1134502825051.doc|title = A Wall in the Heart - The Separation Barrier and its Impact on the Right to Health and on Palestinian Hospitals in East Jerusalem |format = Word DOC|publisher = Physicians for Human Rights-Israel| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last=Ibrahim Habib |quote=] The report also noted that patients from the West Bank visiting Jerusalem's Palestinian clinics declined by half from 2002 to 2003.

Change in tactics and strategy

Members of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been less able to conduct attacks in Israel, the numbers of which have decreased in areas where the barrier has been completed. [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/fence.html Israel’s Security Fence] (Jewish Virtual Library)] 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. [ [http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20030825-090132-1658r.htm Israel's ambassador defends security fence] by Daniel Ayalon ("The Washington Times") August 26, 2003]

In his November 2006 interview with Al-Manar TV, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Salah claimed that the barrier is an important obstacle, and that "if it weren’t there, the situation would be entirely different." [ [http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/eng_n/html/pij151106e.htm Bulletin on November 11, PIJ leader Abdallah Ramadan Shalah interview to Al-Manar TV] (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S)). November 15, 2006] In a March 23, 2008 interview, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah complained to the Qatari newspaper "Al-Sharq" that his organization had been forced to switch from martyrdom missions to rocket attacks because 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.

Economic changes

Real GDP growth in the West Bank increased modestly in 2003, 2004, and 2005 after declining in 2000, 2001, and 2002 (see Figure 1). However, these drops in economic productivity came before the construction of the barrier began. In 2005, the PNA Ministry of Finance cited the 2003 "construction of the separation wall" as one reason for the depressed Palestinian economic activity.Dead link|date=June 2008

According to the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) and other sources, much of Qalqilyah's farmlandcite web |date=January 31, 2003|url = http://www.miftah.org/display.cfm?DocId=1754&CategoryId=4|title = The so-called ‘Security Wall’|format = HTML |publisher = pub| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last=MIFTAH |quote=] cite web |date=July 9, 2005|url = http://www.nad-plo.org/facts/wall/WallMagazine%207-2005.pdf|title = Israel's Wall|format = PDF|publisher = Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD)- PLO| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= |quote=] now lie outside the barrier, and farmers require permits from Israeli authorities to access their lands that are on the opposite side. In the town of Jayyus, in the district of Qalqilya there are three gates in the barrier for the purpose of admitting farmers with permits to their fields that are open 3 times a day for a total of 50 minutes,cite web |date=7 - 13 July 2005|url = http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/750/focus.htm|title = We are no longer able to see the sun set|format = HTML |publisher = pub| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= |quote=In the town of Jayyus, in the Qalqilya Governorate, the Israeli military opens the check-point briefly. An Israeli military sign in Arabic announces the check-point is open from 7:40 to 8:00, 14:00 to 14:15, and 18:45-19:00, only 50 minutes a day.] although according to the NAD they have often been arbitrarily closed for extended periods leading to loss of crops, and one of these gates has been closed since August 2004 due to a suicide attack that took place near the gate. The Israeli Human Rights center B'Tselem notes 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".cite web |date=2007 |url = http://www.btselem.org/English/Separation_Barrier/index.asp|title = Separation Barrier|format = HTML |publisher = B'Tselem| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last=B'Tselem |quote=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.] cite web |date= 21 March 2006, 19:03 GMT|url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4830654.stm|title = Israel barrier 'hurting farmers'|format = HTML |publisher = BBC News| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= |quote=A UN report into the humanitarian impact of Israel's West Bank barrier says it has caused widespread losses to Palestinian farmers.]

Legal status

Israeli Supreme Court rulings

On two occasions the Israeli government has been instructed by the Supreme Court of Israel to alter the route of the barrier to ensure that negative impacts on Palestinians would be minimized and proportional. [ [http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files_eng/04/560/020/a28/04020560.a28.pdf Microsoft Word - 04020560.A28 ] ] [ [http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files_eng/04/570/079/a14/04079570.a14.pdf Microsoft Word - 04079570.A14 ] ]

United Nations and International Court of Justice

In 2004, the United Nations passed a number of resolutions and the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion calling for the barrier to be removed, and the Arab residents to be compensated for any damage done: "The Court finds that the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law". [ [http://domino.un.org/UNISPAl.NSF/85255e950050831085255e95004fa9c3/3740e39487a5428a85256ecc005e157a!OpenDocument ICJ advisory opinion summary/ Separation barrier - Summary - Press release (9 July 2004) ] ] Israel submitted a 246 page written statement containing the views of the Government of Israel on Jurisdiction and Propriety to the Court, but chose not make any oral statements. [ [http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1579.pdf Written Statement of the Government of Israel on Jurisdiction and Propriety] ]

Opinions on the barrier

Israeli opinions

Israeli public opinion has been very strongly in favor of the barrier, partly in the hope that it will improve security and partly in the belief that the barrier marks the eventual border of a Palestinian state. Due to the latter possibility, the settler movement opposes the barrier, although this opposition has waned since it became clear the barrier would be diverted to the east of major Israeli settlements such as Ariel. According to Haaretz, a survey conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, Tel Aviv University, there is an overwhelming support for the barrier among the Jewish population of Israel: 84% on March 2004 and 78% on June 2004. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=402996&contrassID=1 Peace Index / Most Israelis support the fence, despite Palestinian suffering - Haaretz - Israel News ] ]

Most Israelis believe the barrier and intensive activity by the Israel Defense Forces to be the main factors in the decrease in successful suicide attack from the West Bank. The proponents of the barrier insist that reversible inconveniences to Palestinians should be balanced with the threats to lives of Israeli civilians and believe that the barrier is a non-violent way to stop terrorism and save innocent lives.

However, there are some Israelis who 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 split on both sides and continue the sacrificing of Israeli and Palestinian lives for the settlements." [ [http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=69&docid=1237&pos=2 Peace Now : Opinions > Peace Now Positions ] ]

Additionally, many Israelis living in settlements, such as the Gush Etzion area, oppose the fence because it separates them from the rest of Israel. They argue that building the fence defines a border, and that they are being left out. According to most settlers, all of the West Bank belongs to Israel, and separating any of it with a fence is the first step in giving the land away.

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. [ [http://www.awalls.org/ AATW - Anarchists against the wall ] ] [ [http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/video/bilin-2006-01-20/ Gush Shalom - Israeli Peace Bloc ] ]

Palestinian opinions

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. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/03/09/MNGIP5H0IL1.DTL Israeli fence puts 'cage' on villagers / More Palestinians scrambling to keep barrier from going up ] ] [ [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=248438 Your Financial News Source ] ] 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. [ [http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde150162004 Israel and the Occupied Territories: The place of the fence/wall in international law | Amnesty International ] ]

More broadly, Palestinian spokespersons, supported by many in the Israeli left wing and other organizations, claim 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.

On April 14, 2004, American President 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.” [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040414-4.html President Bush Commends Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's Plan ] ] In direct reaction to Bush's comments, the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority accused the U.S. of rewarding construction of the barrier and replied, " [t] he US 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." [ [http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000244.htm Bush and Sharon: Much ado about more than nothing - a commented celebrity scrapbook ] ]

International opinions

The United Nations

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. [cite web|title=U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution on Israeli wall|publisher=St. Petersburg Times|date=October 15, 2003|accessdate=2007-05-21|url=http://www.sptimes.com/2003/10/15/Worldandnation/US_vetoes_UN_resoluti.shtml] In December 2003, it was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly (with four votes against).cite web|title=Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wallin the Occupied Palestinian Territory|author=International Court of Justice|publisher=UNISPAL|date=December 19, 2003|accessdate=2007-05-21|url=http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/2ee9468747556b2d85256cf60060d2a6/7112c39bf71fe0c485256e010075307d!OpenDocument] Consequently, the International Court of Justice was asked for an advisory opinion. It concluded that the barrier violated international law. [ [http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory] , International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion, July 9, 2004.] On 20 July 2004, the UN General Assembly accepted another resolution condemning the barrier with 150 countries voting for the resolution.cite web|title=UN Assembly votes overwhelmingly to demand Israel comply with ICJ ruling|publisher=United Nations News Centre|date=July 20, 2004|accessdate=2007-05-21|url=http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=11418&Cr=middle&Cr1=east] Only 6 countries voted against: Israel, the US, Australia, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. The US and Israel rejected both the verdict and the resolution. 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. [cite web|title=UN demands Israel scrap barrier|publisher=BBC|date=July 21, 2004|accessdate=2007-05-21|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3911785.stm]

The Red Cross

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".cite web |date= 18 February, 2004, 10:12 GMT|url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3498795.stm|title = Red Cross slams Israel barrier|format = HTML |publisher = BBC News| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= |quote=]

Human rights organizations

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. [ [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/03/10/isrlpa10290.htm] Human Rights Watch] In a 2004 report Amnesty International wrote that "The fence/wall, in its present configuration, violates Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law." [http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde150332004] Amnesty International]

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 fence/wall.

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.

The World Council of Churches

On February 20, 2004 the World Council of Churches adopted a statement demanding that Israel halt and reverse construction on the barrier and strongly condemning what they believe to be violations of human rights and humanitarian consequences that have resulted due to 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 rejected what it saw as the creation of a new political boundary that confiscates Palestinian land. [http://www.eappi.org/pressreleasesen.nsf/index/pu-04-11.html]

American opinion

On July 25, 2003, President 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."cite web |date=12:05 P.M. EDT July 25, 2003|url = http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/07/20030725-6.html|title = President Bush Welcomes Prime Minister Abbas to White House Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Abbas|format = HTML |publisher = US White House| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= George Bush|quote=] 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." President Bush reiterated this position during a May 26, 2005 joint press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Rose Garden.cite web |date=11:31 A.M. EDT May 26, 2005
url = http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/05/20050526.html|title = President Welcomes Palestinian President Abbas to the White House|format = HTML |publisher = US White House| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last=George Bush |quote=
]

Canadian opinion

Canada opposes the barrier's incursion into and the disruption of occupied territories. Regarding the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as "occupied territory", Canada considers the barrier as contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Canada opposes the barrier and the expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure preceding its construction.Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade: cite web |date=2007-07-04|url = http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/middle_east/can_policy-en.asp#08|title = Canadian policy on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict|format = HTML |publisher = Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade - Canadian Government| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= |quote=]

Artists

Graffiti on the Palestinian side of walled sections of the barrier has consistently been one of many forms of protest against its existence. Large areas of the walls feature messages relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, demanding an end to the barrier, or criticizing its builders and its existence ('Welcome to the Ghetto-Abu Dis'). In August 2005, the U.K. graffiti artist Banksy painted nine images on the Palestinian side of the barrier. [ [http://www.banksy.co.uk/outdoors/horizontal_1.htm Banksy - Outdoors ] ] 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.cite web |date= 3 December 2007, 17:45 GMT |url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/7125611.stm|title = In pictures: Banksy returns to Bethlehem|format = HTML |publisher = BBC News| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= |quote=] "The Times" headlined the graffiti project "Let Us Spray". On June 21, 2006, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters wrote "Tear down the wall" on the wall, a phrase from the Pink Floyd album "The Wall".cite web |date= 22 June 2006, 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK |url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5104930.stm|title = Waters writes on West Bank wall|format = HTML |publisher = BBC News| accessdate = 2008-03-15 | last= |quote=]

Borders opinions

Some speculate that because sections of the barrier are built not along the Green Line but in the West Bank, the real purpose is to acquire territory. 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". [cite web |url=http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1220-09.htm |title=US Peace Activists Denounce Sharon's Speech |accessdate=2008-03-18 |last=Lobe |first=Jim |date=2003-12-20 |publisher=Inter Press Service ] 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 ..." Chris McGreal in "The Guardian" writes that the barrier is, "evidently intended to redraw Israel's borders".cite web
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,16518,1594808,00.html
title = Israel redraws the roadmap, building quietly and quickly
accessdate = 2007-04-16
last = McGreal
first = Chris
authorlink = Chris McGreal
date = October 18, 2005
publisher = The Guardian
] Some have speculated that the barrier will prejudice the outcome of border negotiations in favor of the Israelis.cite web |date=July 22, 2005|url = http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=8002&CategoryId=3|title = Realities on the Ground|format = HTML |publisher = miftah| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= |quote=] 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 compromise—whether in 1937, 1947, or 2000—the 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."cite web |date= 2003-10-30|url = http://www.travelbrochuregraphics.com/extra/fenced_in.htm|title = Fenced In|format = HTML |publisher = The New Republic| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last=Yossi Klein Halevi |quote=]

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.cite web |date=March 9, 2006|url = http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/09/international/middleeast/09cnd-mideast.html?ex=1299560400&en=f7a513d8dac15769&ei=5088&partner|title = Olmert Wants to Set Israeli-Palestinian Border by 2010|format = HTML |publisher = New York Times| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last= GREG MYRE|quote=Ehud Olmert, said that if his Kadima Party wins national elections this month, he would seek to set Israel's permanent borders by 2010, and that the boundary would run along or close to Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank.]

"Apartheid" opinions

Some opponents of the barrier claim that building and maintaining the wall is a crime of apartheid,cite web |date=2003-10-14|url = http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sc7895.doc.htm|title = Press Release SC/7895 Security Council 4841st Meeting (AM) |format = HTML |publisher = United Nations| accessdate = 2008-03-17 | last=AHMAD HAJIHOSSEINI |quote=AHMAD HAJIHOSSEINI, Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the form of apartheid Israel practised against Palestinians fulfilled all elements of the crime as defined under the 1976 apartheid Convention. ] isolating Palestinian communities in the West Bank and consolidating the annexation of Palestinian land by Israeli settlements. However, this is disputed by others.Rufin, Jean-Christophe. [http://lesrapports.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr/BRP/044000500/0000.pdf "Chantier sur la lutte contre le racisme et l'antisémitisme"] ", presented on October 19, 2004. Cited in Matas, David. "Aftershock: Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism". Dundurn, 2005, p. 54 and p. 243, footnotes 59 and 60.] Matas, David. "Aftershock: Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism". Dundurn, 2005, pp. 53-55.]

ee also

* Berlin Wall
* Berm (Western Sahara)
* Bremer wall
* Hafrada
* International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
* List of walls
* United States–Mexico barrier
* Wall of Shame

References

External links

General news resources

* [http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/BarrierRouteProjections_July_2008.pdf Barrier route July 2008]
* [http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1049446/an/0/page/0#1049446 The Barrier on a KML google-earth file]
*, by Betselem
*.
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=326397 Compilation of articles about the fence] from "Ha'aretz"
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3111159.stm "Q&A: What is the West Bank barrier?"] BBC News special feature
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456944/html/nn1page1.stm "Guide to the West Bank barrier"] BBC News
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3654720.stm "Israeli city says barrier is 'working"'] BBC News
* [http://www.bitterlemons.org/previous/bl120307ed10.html "Bitter Lemons Edition with Israeli and Palestinian views on the Separation Barrier"]
* [http://www.mideastweb.org/thefence.htm Israel annexes land from West Bank using the 'Separation Wall'] further impedes peace process.

Israeli government and courts

* [http://securityfence.mfa.gov.il/ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs "Anti-Terrorist Fence" Homepage]
* [http://www.seamzone.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/default.htm Israel Ministry of Defense "Security Fence" Homepage]
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasite/images/iht_daily/D010704/hcfen0604.rtf 2004 Israeli Supreme Court ruling] (RTF format)
* [http://www.zionism-israel.com/hdoc/High_Court_Fence.htm 2005 Israeli Supreme Court ruling]
*
* [http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/about%20the%20ministry/mfa%20spokesman/2004/Statement%20on%20ICJ%20Advisory%20Opinion%209-July-2004 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Statement on ICJ Advisory Opinion]
* [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Law/Legal+Issues+and+Rulings/Summary+of+Israels+Response+regarding+the+Security+Fence+28-Feb-2005.htm Unofficial Summary of State of Israel's Response regarding the Security Fence]

United Nations and International Court of Justice rulings

* [http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&k=5a&case=131&code=mwp&p3=4 ICJ Advisory Opinion] , as well as separate opinions of some judges.
* [http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/Special%20focus%5CSeparation%20barrier!OpenView Compilation of UN documents relating to the barrier] .
* [http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/dbc.nsf/doc104?OpenForm&rc=3&cc=pse UN OCHA Humanitarian Information Centre in the occupied Palestinian territory] reports, analysis, detailed maps.
*.

Links to articles opposing the Barrier

* [http://www.gush-shalom.org/thewall/ Gush Shalom site about the Separation Wall]
* [http://www.btselem.org/english/Separation_Barrier/index.asp B'Tselem (Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) page about the Separation Barrier]
* Machsom Watch [http://www.machsomwatch.org/eng/homePageEng.asp?link=homePage&lang=eng daily reports on checkpoints in the barrier]
* [http://www.awalls.org/ Anarchists against the Wall]
* International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement [http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/iwpList4/F06BB484D900B227C1256E3E00324D96 statement on the West Bank barrier]
* [http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0223-02.htm "A Wall as a Weapon"] OpEd by Noam Chomsky, originally published in "The New York Times"
* [http://electronicintifada.net/bytopic/apartheidwall.shtml Electronic Intifada]
* [http://www.stopthewall.org " Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign "]
* [http://imeu.net/news/article0013888.shtml The separation wall and the village of Ni'lin at IMEU.net]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3981406756866553772&hl=en "Video of Wall and Fence, and walking through a checkpoint at the Qalandiya Checkpoint Nov 2004 produced by filmmaker and journalist Ray Hanania"]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3322403523120637763&hl=en "A Public Service announcement (60 seconds) on the Wall produced by filmmaker and journalists Ray Hanania "]

Links to articles in favor of the barrier

* [http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/critiques/Not_an_-Apartheid_Wall-.asp "Not an "Apartheid Wall"] on HonestReporting.com
* [http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=21411 "Background Info: The Security Fence"] on imra.org.il
* [http://www.meforum.org/article/652 Is Israel's Security Barrier Unique?] article by Ben Thein in "Middle East Quarterly"
* [http://www.defenddemocracy.org/research_topics/research_topics_list.htm?topic=8745 Research articles on the ICJ decision]
*, detailed 193 page book supporting a position in favor of the barrier.
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/18/opinion/18manji.html?ex=1300338000&en=5bcee9d86aa4e6c5&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss "How I Learned to Love the Wall"] Irshad Manji, "The New York Times" March 18, 2006
* [http://securityfence.mfa.gov.il/mfm/web/main/document.asp?DocumentID=49517&MissionID=45187 You Are Judging and I Am Burying My Husband] by Fanny Haim ("Yediot Ahronot"), February 23, 2004
* [http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Peace/fence.html "Israel's Security Fence"] on Jewish Virtual Library
* StandWithUs PDFlink| [http://www.standwithus.com/flyers/IsraelFenceBro.pdf In-depth brochure with pictures, polls, reports, stats] |2.83 MB
* [http://www.hagader.com/English/main.asp Fence for Life Public Movement for The Security Fence]
* [http://www.isracast.com/Transcripts/270204a_trans.htm IsraCast: THE HAGUE HEARING -Exclusive Interview --Legal Advisor Daniel Taub: 'The International Court Is Trying Victims Of Terror And Not Terrorists']
* [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Speeches+by+Israeli+leaders/2004/Statement+by+Daniel+Taub+at+Israeli+Press+Conference-+The+Hague+-+23+Feb+2004.htm Statement by Daniel Taub, Director, General Law Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Press Conference of Israeli Delegation] 23 February 2004, Israeli demonstrators at The Hague carry pictures of victims of Palestinian terror
* [http://www.omedia.org/Show_Article.asp?DynamicContentID=2210&MenuID=726&ThreadID=1014017 The Controversial Fence]


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