Facts about the wall

Facts about the wall

By PENGON Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Frequently Asked Questions about the Apartheid Wall

1 - The Wall will run over 650 km (400 miles) inside the West Bank.

2 - The Wall is being built deep within the West Bank as it zigzags throughout 10 out of the 11 West Bank districts. The Wall, on this path, de facto annexes nearly 50% of the West Bank and completely destroys all continuity of life in the region.

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, a second wall begins again in the northern West Bank and, running somewhat parallel to the first wall de facto annexes the Jordan Valley, extends south to Jerusalem where it connects with the first Wall, and thereafter stretches through the southern West Bank.

3 - 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 and 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.

4 - The Israeli government began building the Wall in June 2002 in the northern West Bank districts of Jenin, Tulkarem, and Qalqiliya; 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). However, the Israeli government continues to raze land, destroy shops, homes, and infrastructure in these areas as well as pave way for the “buffer zone”. Simultaneously, destruction for and building of the Wall has been taking place in northern Jerusalem by Qalandiya and Kafr Aqab, in the neighborhood Abu Dis in eastern Jerusalem, and around Bethlehem, Beit Sahur, and Beit Jala. The latest announcements of the Israeli government predict the completion of the Wall by 2005.

5 - 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 of Palestinian resources. The Wall, through its path which is marked by land annexation and destruction, is clearly a “tool” for the Israeli government in maximizing 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 - 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. For instance, in the 18 communities surrounded into an enclave in the Tulkarem district the inability to travel due to the Wall and Israeli military “closures” has brought the unemployment rate up from 18% in 2000 to an estimated 78% in the spring of 2003. In Qalqiliya, where the Wall hermitically seals the city with one Israeli military controlled checkpoint, nearly 10% of the 42,000 residents have been forced to leave their homes due to the city’s imprisonment, closure of the market, and inability to find work.

7 - The notion of “access” gates where the Israeli military will “permit” Palestinians to travel to their land demonstrates the Wall’s institutionalization and follows the Israeli “permit” system which began during the 1993 Oslo Process whereby the Israeli government has been consolidating absolute control over every aspect of life in Palestine through dictating all aspects of movement.

8 - The Wall is the continuation of the Zionist/Israeli expansionist agenda of stealing Palestinian land and forcibly expelling residents—the Wall’s path equates to the de facto annexation of nearly 50% of the West Bank and almost all of the Israeli settlements.

Around Jerusalem the Wall is completing the Zionist/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. The Wall closes Jerusalem off to the north and south of the West Bank, but remains “open” to the east for the still expanding settlement Ma’ale Adumim. Upon the Wall’s completion, this will amount to the confiscation of 90% of the land in the Jerusalem district.

The path of the Wall has been openly dictated by intentions to include settlements within the Israeli government and society. In March 2003, the Yesha Council of settlers worked with the Israeli government to extend the Wall’s path further into the West Bank south of Qalqiliya in order to bring the settlements of Ariel, Immanuel, and Qedumim into the Israeli “controlled area”. One week later, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced the building of the Wall in the Jordan Valley in order to “separate” the string of settlements in this region from the rest of the West Bank. Thus, the Wall will de facto annex 98% of the settler population.

9 - It is entirely unacceptable to build the Wall on the 1967 Green Line—there is a fundamental injustice in caging in an entire population. While the 1967 Green Line is advocated by the UN and many others to be the “international border” between Israel and the West Bank, the fact is that, following the 1948 war and the Zionist proclamation of the State of Israel, communities were forcibly and artificially divided into east/west by this “border”. However, the residents continue to share social services, markets, and familiar ties. To advocate that the Wall could be built on the 1967 Green Line is to legitimize the forcible separation of these communities.

10 - The Wall, as well as the Occupation itself, comprises a wide range of violations to 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”.

These are only a few of the articles in international conventions and declarations which the Wall infringes upon. The chapter The Wall Under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law in The Wall in Palestine: Facts, Testimonies, Analysis, and Call to Action provides more analysis and examples of the Wall under international law

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