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Israel's Wall in the West Bank

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B'tselem map of the Separation Wall as approved by the Israeli Cabinet Feb 2005, colorized to enhance contrast. Click image to view original.
 
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Protest the "Apartheid Wall" - Palestine Monitor Maps and Photos of the Israeli Separation Wall Protest the "Apartheid Wall" - Palestine Monitor Maps and Photos of the Israeli Separation Wall

 

 

 
 
Israel's Apartheid Wall strangles Qalqiliya  

Is it a Fence? Is it a Wall? No, it's a Separation Barrier
Electronic Intifada 8/1/2003
Why we call it a 'wall'
 
 

Most of Israel's barrier is being constructed of fortified fencing. Near populated areas, however, it typically becomes a 26- foot high concrete wall. So most Palestinians know the "fence" as The Wall.

This monument to exclusion and intolerance has been give many names, including security fence, separation fence, security barrier, separation barrier, separation wall, apartheid wall, Sharon's Wall, and annexation wall.

The World Court calls it a gross violation of international law and basic human rights. Yet Israel is continuing to build the wall in several regions of the West Bank. - VTJP, May 2005

 
[Includes photos and graphics] Israel's Separation Barrier, dubbed the "Apartheid Wall" or "Berlin Wall" by Palestinians, has increasingly attracted international media attention, largely due to the hard-to-ignore scale of the project. The most obvious historical parallel to the barrier is the Berlin Wall, which was 96 miles long (155 kilometers). Israel's barrier, still under construction, is expected to reach at least 403 miles in length (650 kilometers). The average height of the Berlin Wall was 11.8 feet (3.6 metres), compared with the maximum* current height of Israel's Wall -- 25 feet (8 metres). [*it is not clear whether the shorter fence sections, about 6 meters in height, are first or final stages in Israel's construction of the barrier.]

Israel's barrier is therefore planned to be four times as long and in places twice as high as the Berlin Wall.

Photographs of the barrier available on the wire services show two main types of section -- a wall made of concrete or concrete/fence combination, and a fence-only version of the barrier. Some references in the media suggest that the two main forms of the barrier correspond to differing levels of implementation of security by Israel, with the wall sections reserved for areas perceived as "especially vulnerable", the fence sections for areas less so.

It is not so simple. In addition to the concrete wall and fencing materials used in the construction of the structure, sections of Israel's Separation Barrier additionally include electrified fencing, two-meter-deep trenches, roads for patrol vehicles, electronic ground/fence sensors, thermal imaging and video cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), sniper towers, and razor wire.

At this point in time it is not known exactly what proportions of the length of the barrier is fence versus wall, or if the fence is merely a temporary state until a wall can be built in all areas but -- nonetheless -- the wall unquestionably represents a considerable portion of the visible manifestation of the barrier. more..
 
 
  A sunset in Qalqiliya. The sun now sets behind the wall. (Photo by S'ra DeSantis)

Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors - Fact Sheet -Apartheid Wall
Health Development Information and Policy Institute (HDIP) 12/1/2002
(Produced by Palestinian Negotiating Team) -- The UN General Assembly DEMANDS that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is in departure of the Armistice Line of 1949 and is in contradiction to relevant provisions of international law. (A/ES-10/L.15; A/RES/ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003)

The construction of the Israeli separation wall began on the 16th June 2002. For the most part the barrier, which could eventually extend over 750km, consists of a series of 25 foot high concrete walls, trenches, barbed wire and electrified fencing with numerous watch towers, electronic sensors, thermal imaging and video cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, sniper towers, and roads for patrol vehicles.

The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign’s most recent map of the Wall’s path, finalized November 2003, reveals that if completed in its entirety, nearly 50% of the West Bank population will be affected by the Wall through loss of land, imprisonment into ghettos, or isolation into Israeli de facto annexed areas1 .

Israel maintains that the Wall is a temporary structure to physically separate the West Bank from Israel and thus to prevent suicide attacks on Israeli citizens. However the wall’s location, (in some places reaching up to 6km inside Palestinian territory), and projected length, (currently 750km, despite a border with Israel of less than 200km), suggest it is more realistically an additional effort to confiscate Palestinian land, facilitate further colony expansion and unilaterally redraw geopolitical borders all the while encouraging an exodus of Palestinians by denying them the ability to earn a living from their land, reach their schools or work places, access adequate water resources, or reach essential health care. Moving the Border Perhaps undue attention has been given to the wall, primarily because it is assumed it follows the Green Line - the internationally recognized border that existed between Israel and the West Bank until the war of 1967. more..
 
 
 
Near Behlehem - Saluman, after loosing all his olive trees to the construction of the fence and the Israeli access road, now has two-year old olive trees. The fence stands right next to house. His view from his roof is no longer a pine forest but the Har Homa settlement. (Photo by S'ra DeSantis)  

Living in the Shadow of the Wall (Bethlehem District)
Electronic Intifada 11/16/2003
Personal testimonies by Palestinians about the impact of the wall in their lives: The Bethlehem district is home to more than 170,000 Palestinians, concentrated mostly in the three towns Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour. The wall surrounding the Bethlehem district is a 15-kilometer shackle that segregates 15,000 dunums of agricultural land, mainly olive trees. The wall around Bethlehem serves to isolate and annex the religious areas. Around Rachel's Tomb and the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque, hundreds will be isolated between two walls, further strengthening Israeli control of historic, religious, and deeply significant places and strangling the city economically.

AZZOUN VILLAGE: The wall separates Azzoun (population 7,000) from its agricultural land, which now lies west of the wall. No gate in the wall allows residents access to their lands. As a result they must travel long distances---approximately 4 kilometers to a gate near Isla to the west, and 9 kilometers to another gate near Nabi Elias, where some land belonging to Azzoun is located. The main roads are often reserved for soldiers and settlers, and so Palestinians are forced to take even longer routes, often on foot, and cannot bring equipment to harvest their crops.

Faisal Hasan Ahmad Adwan: We have 200 dunums of land, on which we planted wheat and barley, vegetables, olive trees. One day, we found a wire fence around our land and a sign that says, it is forbidden to get close to this fence. For as long as they are working on the wall, we have access to the land. But later, they will put 3/4 of our land beyond the wire. And we can't get to it from the other side either. more..
 
 
 
  The 25-foot wall is built down the middle of the main street in Abu Dis, a town adjacent to and now cut off from East Jerusalem. The main street has been divided in half by the wall. After the wall is completed, many students and teachers will not be able to reach their schools, which lie on either side of the wall. Access to private, UN, and PA clinics, hospitals, and doctors will be impeded. (Photo by S'ra DeSantis)

Israel and the Occupied Territories: The fence/wall violates human rights
Amnesty International 2/19/2004
Amnesty International believes that the construction by Israel of the fence/wall inside the Occupied Territories violates international law and is contributing to grave human rights violations.

According to the Israeli authorities the fence/wall is "a defensive measure, designed to block the passage of terrorists, weapons and explosives into the State of Israel...."

However, most of the fence/wall is not being constructed on the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank. Close to 90% of the route of the fence/wall is on Palestinian land inside the West Bank, encircling Palestinian towns and villages and cutting off communities and families from each other, separating farmers from their land and Palestinians from their places of work and education and health care facilities and other essential services.

....The fence/wall encompasses more than 50 Israeli civilian settlements in the Occupied Territories, in which the majority of Israeli settlers live and which are illegal under international law. The security exceptions in international humanitarian law cannot be invoked to justify measures that benefit unlawful civilian Israeli settlements at the expense of the occupied Palestinian population.

The construction of the fence/wall inside the Occupied Territories is such a measure and in its present configuration violates Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law. more..
 

Next: Building the Wall by Demolishing Homes

 
 
Additional Resources..
Interactive Guide: Israel and the Palestinians: Fencing Off the West Bank - The Guardian
Israel's Apartheid Wall - Electronic Intifada
PENGON/Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Stop the Wall
International Womens' Peace Service
International Solidarity Movement
Israel's separation wall - Palestine Report
The "Separation Wall" - separating Palestinians from their land - Gush Shalom
Map of the Separation Barrier - B'tselem
The Separation Barrier: Phase One Completed - Hundreds of Thousands Palestinians Directly Harmed - B'tselem
Documents, Maps, Fact Sheets: PLO Negotiations Affairs Department
Israel's Apartheid Wall - Palestine Chronicle
Apartheid Wall, Revisited- Palestine Chronicle
 

 

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