Basics about the Wall

1) How long is the Wall?

In total the Wall will run over 800 km in the West Bank.

2) Where is the Wall being built?

The Wall is being built deep within the West Bank as it zigzags throughout 10 out of the 11 West Bank districts. In total, 85% of the Wall is located in the West Bank. When completed, the Wall and its associated regime will de facto annex some 46% of the West Bank, isolating communities into Bantustans, ghettos and “military zones”.

The Wall begins at the northern most point in the West Bank and runs through the western districts of the West Bank to the north of Jerusalem; the Wall is not being built on or near the 1967 Green Line and at points reaches 16 km (some 10 miles) deep right into the heart of the West Bank in order to annex major Israeli Jewish-only settlements. After cutting through neighborhoods and villages in East Jerusalem, the Wall picks up by Bethlehem and continues south to Hebron. In eastern West Bank, Israel is implementing a number of infrastructural and administrative measures to de facto isolate the Jordan Valley.

The Wall is not a new “idea” – since 1994 the Gaza Strip has been surrounded by a barrier that cuts off Palestinians there from the rest of the world.

3) What does the Wall look like?

The Wall takes on a variety of forms; around Qalqiliya the Wall is pure concrete, eight meters (25 feet) high and fortified with armed watchtowers, In other areas it may be part concrete/part fence or a series of razor wire and/or electric fencing, all of which includes a 70-100 meter (approximately 230-330 feet) “buffer zone” with trenches, roads, razor wire, cameras, and trace paths for footprints. In Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the Wall is made up of a combination of these edifices.

Regardless of the Wall’s structural differences, the implications are the same for Palestinians– the inability to travel for employment, medical care, and education atop of the theft of land and resources by and for Israel and in many cases it results in forced displacement.

4) How much of the Wall has been completed and when is it scheduled to be completed?

The Israeli government began building the Wall in June 2002 in the northern West Bank districts of Jenin, Tulkarem, and Qalqiliya and aimed for its completion in 2005. At the end of July 2003, Israel announced the “completion” of this section, the so-called “first phase”, which stretches some 145 km (90 miles). Today some 70 percent of the Wall has been built.

Popular resistance had a primary role in delaying the completion. Construction was halted in some areas because of resistance by affected communities. Court cases were initiated, which took six or seven months, during which time all construction was put on hold. So the deadline was pushed back from 2005 to 2008. In 2008 Israel moved completion to 2011. Currently, the new deadline set is 2020.

5) Is the Wall temporary?

At the cost of 12 million NIS or 2.8 million USD per km, the Wall is not a “temporary” measure but the continuation of Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and iron grip on Palestinian resources. The Wall, through its land annexation and destruction, is clearly a “tool” for the Israeli government to maximize the confiscation of Palestinian land for future settlement expansion. The devastating reality which the Wall imposes is meant to ensure that Palestinians will be forcibly expelled from areas Israel looks to annex and “demographically contained” in other areas by creating permanent “facts on the ground” for the continued colonization of Palestine.

6) How is the Wall affecting Palestinian communities?

The Wall is devastating every aspect of Palestinian life — already tens of communities have experienced the loss of land, water, and resources which provide their sustenance, as well as the destruction of community and personal property. Palestinian villages and towns near the Wall have become isolated ghettos where movement in and out is limited, if not impossible, thus severing travel for work, health, education, and visits to friends and family.

The Wall is intended to deny any prospects for survival in communities, and therefore is not only the negation of Palestinian national aspirations and right to self-determination, but also a tool in the creeping displacement of the population and the realization of Israeli expansionist plans.

7) How is the Wall related to the Israeli settlement policy?

The Wall is the continuation of Israel’s expansionist agenda of stealing Palestinian land and forcibly expelling residents. The Wall’s path amounts to the de facto annexation of nearly 50% of the West Bank and almost all Israeli settlements. The Wall will de facto annex 98% of the settler population.

In and around Jerusalem, the Wall is completing the Israeli project of “Greater Jerusalem”, formally endorsed by the Knesset in 1997, which aims at “Judaizing” and annexing East Jerusalem into a Jewish metropolitan area.

8) Who is building the Wall?

While the overall responsibility over the construction of the Wall is with the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Israeli state, the Wall could not be built without the active involvement of dozens of Israeli and international companies. These companies are knowingly and directly complicit with the grave breach of international humanitarian law (a war crime) and violations of Palestinian rights caused by the construction of the Wall.

The most important companies are: Elbit Systems, Magal Security Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Controp Precision Technologies, Cement Roadstone Holdings, Cape Gate, Ashtrom Group, Tyco Electronics.

9) What is the Wall’s status under international law?

The Wall has been confirmed illegal by the International Court of Justice in its 2004 Advisory Opinion on the legal consequences of Israeli construction of the Wall. The ICJ has mandated Israel to stop its construction, dismantle existing parts of the Wall, repeal the associated regime and to give reparations for the damages created. The ICJ further reminded the international community of its duty not to recognize, aid or abet grave violations of international law by third states.

Neither Israel nor the international community have to day complied with their obligations under international law.

The Wall, as well as the Occupation itself, comprises a wide range of violations of international law. A major violation of the Apartheid Wall is the unilateral demarcation of a new border in the West Bank that amounts to effective annexation of occupied land (United Nations Charter, art. 2.4).

Furthermore, destruction for and building of the Wall has amounted to numerous more violations of the IV Geneva Convention (IV GC) including the destruction of land and/or property (art. 53) and collective punishment (art. 33).

The Wall also breaches the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) and the International Covenant on Economical, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966), both of which Israel has signed. The rights violated include: freedom of movement (ICCPR, art. 12), property (ICCPR, art. 1,), health (ICESCR, art.12 and IV GC, art. 32), education (ICESCR, art.13, and IV GC, art. 50), work (ICESCR, art. 6), and food (ICESCR, art. 11).

Under Article 1 of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1979) the Wall constitutes a “Crime against Humanity”. It divides populations on the basis of race and ethnicity and discrimination against residents in the West Bank to benefit illegal Israeli settlers and thus complies with the definition of “apartheid”.

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