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
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 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.
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 Ghettos2.
So far the fence construction has already uprooted an estimated
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
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
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 dunums6
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
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 requirements8.
• 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 fence9.
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 200311
• 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 individuals12.
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
“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
- Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, John
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 5413
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
• 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
• 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.
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
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
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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On behalf of the Palestine NGO Network (PNGO)
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Last updated: January 2004