Palestine Fact Sheets

Whether a student, community activist, politician or an average citizen, these fact sheets will provide you with concise information on the different issues related to the current Intifada and Palestine. Feel free to print and distribute them as long as they are accredited to the Palestine Monitor.

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)

Fact Sheet -  Apartheid Wall

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 areas
1 .

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.

In fact the wall does not coincide with the Green line but cuts deep into the West Bank – in some areas it is located as much as six kilometres from the green line.

According to a December report by the Palestinian Monitoring Group only 9% of the total wall length calculated to date (752km) will follow the Green Line.

Sharon is using the project to unilaterally redraw the political boundary between Israel and the West Bank, further diminishing the land of Palestine and rendering unfeasible any future Palestinian state.


On 31 July, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced the completion of the first phase of the security barrier, officially launched on 16 June 2002. The first stage comprises a 145 kilometer long section extending from Salem checkpoint in the northwest Jenin district, through the Tulkarm and Qalqilya governorates, to Masha village in the Salfit area. Though this section is officially complete destruction has continued in the area, as further extensions of the Wall are taking place to enable Israel’s annexation of land occupied by settlements.

• Land Confiscation and destruction

The path that the wall is taking through the West Bank is resulting in massive land confiscation, de facto annexation, and destruction of cultivated lands. So far the completed section has appropriated 107 square kilometers of Palestinian land constituting 1.9% of the West Bank. If the entire wall is completed it is projected that more than 43% of the West Bank will be taken by Israel and will be located outside the wall which will serve to enclose the remaining 57% in Ghettos

So far the fence construction has already uprooted an estimated 102,320
3 Palestinian olive and citrus trees, demolished 75 acres of greenhouses and 23 miles of irrigation pipes4 . It now rests on 15,000 dunums of confiscated land, and its projection guarantees the confiscation of a further 120-150,000 dunums.

The Wall is only meters away from a number of small villages, or hamlets, which have been told by the military that proximity to the Wall, will render most of their community to be demolished. To date some 218 buildings have been demolished in the village of Nazlat 'Isa, the majority of which have been stores, an important source of income and survival for a number of communities; 5 homes have also been demolished for the Wall. At least an additional 75 stores, 20 factories, 20 homes, and 1 primary school have demolition orders which are expected to take place in the very near future

The damage caused by the destruction of land and property for the Wall's construction is irreversible and undermines Palestinians' ability to ever recover.

• Palestinians trapped between wall and green line

Currently the wall carves off about 123,000 dunums
6 of land from the Palestinian side of the Green Line. This land amounts to about 2% of the West Bank, and contains at least 16 Palestinian villages and 12,000 residents, according to Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups and the World Bank. This number will rise to 395,000 if all sections of the wall are completed – 17.8% of the Palestinian population 7.

As of the 2 October the area between the wall and the Green Line has been declared a "closed military zone” and a haphazard permit system introduced. The orders require approximately 7,000 residents in these closed areas to apply for permits to remain living in their homes. These permits are valid for up to six months and have turned a right of Palestinians to live in their own homes into a privilege. The Wall will further restrict farmers living outside this 'closed zone' from getting to their land within it. Medical staff and international humanitarian organizations also have to apply for special permits. The military orders exempt Israeli citizens and internationals of Jewish descent from these requirements

• Palestinians separated from land, resources and family

The fence has relocated a great deal of rich farmland and water wells to the Israeli side of the wall. At least 115 Palestinian towns and villages have so far been directly affected by the wall which cuts them off from their land and resources. Of the 47 Palestinian towns and villages along phase one of the wall's route 21 are separated from more than half of their land by the fence
9. 36 groundwater wells and over 200 cisterns are isolated from their communities by the Wall with an additional 14 wells threatened for demolition in the Wall's "buffer zone"10.

The land confiscation, destruction, and severe restriction of movement will mean the loss of at least 6,500 jobs. Israeli closures and the Wall around the communities in the Tulkarem district prevent residents from traveling for employment, which has caused the unemployment rate to swell from 18% in 2000 to 78% in the spring of 2003
11 .

• Implications for health and education

The wall will significantly impair access of Palestinians in isolated villages to hospitals, particularly in Tulkarem, Qalqiliya, and East Jerusalem. 71 primary health clinics will be isolated from the rest of the West Bank between the wall and the green line or in areas enclaved by the depth barrier. These clinics whilst essential providers of primary health care are not fully equipped to serve the surrounding communities. For instance they do not have delivery rooms, or specialized doctors. For more information on the Wall’s impact on health please see: Health and Segregation: The impact of the Israeli Separation Wall on access to health care services (Report issued by The Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP)).

The constricted movement and isolation caused by the barrier has also affected the educational system in the West Bank. A recent report released by the Ministry of Education asserted that 2,898 students from the governorates of Jenin, Tulkarem and Qalqilya, were not able to continue their education, as a direct result of the Apartheid Wall.

• The depth Barriers

The wall is not a simple construction, nor is it a single entity. Around communities close to the green line, an additional barrier is being constructed, referred to as the “depth barrier”; this trench, which is intended to further lock down Palestinian movement, will be approximately 25m wide and full of barb wire. According to UNWRA 15 communities will be affected, numbering approximately 138,593 Palestinians, including 13,450 refugee families, or 67,250 individuals

According to Stop The Wall Campaign such a ‘depth barrier’ in the Ramallah district will see a second wall built in conjunction with one already running deep into the West Bank. The two walls will thereby enclose and isolate 25 villages, over 67,000 Palestinian residents, thus imprisoning and restricting communities with high urban growth, severely limiting expansion and development.


The mid-section of the wall approved by the Israeli cabinet at the beginning of October 2003 will stretch 230km, from Biddya to Beituniya. The construction of this section alone will isolate 350 square kilometers of Palestinian land, placing 58 communities, between the wall and the Green Line. The walls path will further impact upon 108 other communities who will lose land and access to essential resources.

• Settlements

“The Wall has all the features of a permanent structure. The fact that it will incorporate half of the settler population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem suggests that it is designed to further entrench the position of the settlers. The evidence strongly suggests that Israel is determined to create facts on the ground amounting to de facto annexation”.

- Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, John Dugard

As the fence began reaching into the West Bank, settlers and religious groups sought to have the route drawn so that as many settlements as possible would be on the Israeli side.

The complete construction of the wall will see 54
13 illegal Israeli settlements, built on Palestinian West Bank land, and 142,000 settlers incorporated into Israel.

Ariel Sharon's cabinet looks set to insist this phase of construction be routed 13 miles into the West Bank to put Ariel, a settlement with about 20,000 residents, on the Israeli side of the fence.

• The Jerusalem Envelope

This section of the wall has received its name because of the divisions it is creating. When complete the wall will be approximately 70 kilometers long and will cut off an estimated 249,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. The route of the wall is linked with bypass roads and settlements, together forming an efficient barrier from Ramallah to Bethlehem through the neighborhood of Abu Dis, de facto annexing 5.6% of the West Bank.

Approximately 33 kilometers of the "Jerusalem envelope" have been constructed: in the north four kilometers from Kalandia checkpoint to Opher military camp in the Ramallah area, and the rest from Gilo settlement to Beit Sahur in the Bethlehem area. According to PENGON, "the northern Jerusalem Wall is isolating 15,000 Jerusalem ID holders, living in Kufr Aqab and Qalandiya Refugee Camp from the city, their familial and social ties, and public services.

To facilitate easy access for the illegal settler communities of East Jerusalem a ring road is now being built, connecting the various settlements to one another and to Jerusalem whilst encircling the Palestinian neighborhoods. More than 658 dunnums of land will be confiscated for the purpose alone, and approximately 40 Palestinian homes will be demolished, leaving the remaining residents trapped between roads and walls.

Plans for the eastern section of the Wall to run through the Jordan Valley will isolate over 20 villages while additional barriers will encircle Jericho into an isolated prison. Thirty kilometers of the 45 km stretch from Salem to Taysir are currently under construction. The Ministry of Defense states that this section will be completed by the end of this year.

The eastern wall will lead to a complete encirclement of Palestinian land – and the effective creation of three Bantustan areas.


• Imprisoned Towns and Cities

Not only does the wall not follow the 1967 Green Line, in places it folds in on itself creating some 22 separate enclaves – areas where people will be totally surrounded by wall. The northern West Bank city of Qalqilya is a major Palestinian municipality. With a population of more than 42,000 it is also the hub for 32 nearby villages comprising a further 90,000 people who rely on the city for health and education services.

The city has been completely surrounded by 8.7 miles of fences and high walls with guard towers. There is now one main entrance for people and goods and two agricultural gates. Only 13 permits have been issued for farmers to visit the 938 acres of Palestinian owned land and the 19 wells situated outside the fence, (according to Zahran)

• The Gaza Wall

The Gaza strip has more or les been surrounded by a fence since parts of the territory was given over to Palestinian control in 1994. The IDF has since then controlled all access to and from the area through the 6 Checkpoints or gates in the fence. Now a new 55km long, 8 meter high, electrified, barrier is also planned for Gaza. To date 7 kilometers have been completed (Al-Ahram).

• Gates and Checkpoints

The villagers that are isolated by the construction of the wall are completely dependent upon soldier’s willingness to let them pass through a limited number of gates. Israeli officials said 41 agricultural gates have been installed in the completed 145km of phase one to allow Palestinian farmers access to their lands. In fact only 23 gates have been constructed so far and the free access through those is already limited and sporadic.

These gates are yet another aspect of the Israeli apparatus of closure, sieges, curfews and 73414 checkpoints that have been a long time in use to curtail freedom of movement, depriving whole communities access to health, education and work. The wall is institutionalizing the stranglehold on these communities and solidifying the denial of basic human rights.

Legalities under international law

Israel’s construction of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank constitutes a grave violation of human rights and international law. The construction of the wall within the West Bank, and the annexation of occupied land is prohibited under the laws governing actions of occupying powers; the wall’s construction further violates a basic principal of the laws of occupation that legal rights to land cannot be acquired by way of military occupation. International law also states that private property cannot be confiscated or destroyed. This applies without exception, not even for
security needs15.

The wall has become yet another instrument used to impose collective punishment upon the civilian population and directly violates the rights of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians including their rights to freedom of movement, right to property, right to health, education, work and their basic rights to food and water. The Israeli construction of the apartheid wall and its implications for the Palestinian people is in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of which Israel is a contracting party.

8 December – The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel's construction of the barrier. The case will now be heard at the International Court of Justice on Monday February 23rd in The Hague.


(1) Updated Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Poster Map Map, PALDIS for the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, November 21st, 2003
(2) Palestine Monitoring Group Trend Analysis, Israeli Separation Wall
Activity Update December 10, 2003
(3) Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Fact Sheet The Wall's "First Phase"
(4) The Wall In Palestine: Facts, Testimonies, Analysis and Call to Action PENGON June 2003
(5) Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Fact Sheet The Wall's "First Phase"
(6) One dunum = 1,000 square meters = ¼ acre
(7) Palestine Monitoring Group Trend Analysis, Israeli Separation Wall Activity Update December 10, 2003
(8) Severe humanitarian consequences of new Wall - OCHA report (15 December 2003)
(9) The impact of the first phase of security barrier on Palestinian refugees Report, UNRWA, 2 October 2003
(10) Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Fact Sheet The Wall's "First Phase"
(11) Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Fact Sheet The Wall's "First Phase"
(12) The impact of the first phase of security barrier on Palestinian refugees Report, UNRWA, 2 October 2003
(13) OCHA report December 2003
(14) OCHA report December 2003
(15) Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Fact Sheet The Wall and International Law

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Last updated: January 2004


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