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United Nations - West Bank Barrier
A UN report regarding the Separation Wall...

FIVE YEARS ON:  A Summary of the Humanitarian Impact of the Barrier since the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion, July 2009

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Download this report as a pdf file (2.5 MB) with additional information and excellent illustrative maps

The Barrier in Jerusalem

Access to East Jerusalem is of critical importance for the entire West Bank population, for specialized medical care, university education, work, social and family relationships and worship. For most Palestinians this access has been forbidden since 1993, unless they possess a difficult-to-obtain entry permit issued by the Israeli authorities. Since the Barrier was completed in the area, permit holders are allowed to enter East Jerusalem only through four of the 16 existing checkpoints to the city along the Barrier, and only by foot. Permits become invalid whenever a general closure is declared, usually during Jewish holidays and
times of security alert.

Humanitarian Impact:
• The Barrier in Jerusalem weaves around and between East Jerusalem and nearby West Bank towns and villages, dividing communities and neighbourhoods from each other.

• Villages that were once closely connected to Jerusalem now lie on the West Bank side of the Barrier, physically separated from the city.

• The Barrier surrounds entire communities, such as the Bir Nabala enclave, with an inner barrier, with access channelled through ‘Fabric of Life’ roads.

• The Barrier cuts off  West Bank Palestinians and care providers from specialist and tertiary health care in the six specialist hospitals in East Jerusalem.

• The Barrier divides entire families: husbands and wives are separated from each other, children and relatives.

• The Barrier delays school and university students and teachers from accessing educational services in Jerusalem.

• The Barrier cuts off Muslims and Christians from religious sites in Jerusalem.

The Barrier in Bethlehem

The Bethlehem central-urban core is constricted by a combination of Israeli infrastructure, including the Barrier, settlements and settlement outposts. In the eastern governorate, administrative restrictions (Area C, closed military areas and nature reserves) also limit the potential for urban expansion, grazing and for planning and development at the governorate level. If Barrier construction goes ahead as planned in the western part of the governorate,  the rural hinterland will be cut off, reducing access to land and water resources.

Humanitarian Impact:

• The Bethlehem governorate is 660 km.  Only 13 percent of Bethlehem’s land is available for Palestinian use, much of this fragmented.

• The completed section of the Barrier in the north seals the separation of Bethlehem city from East Jerusalem, blocking its potential for residential and industrial expansion.

• Completion of the Barrier around the Gush Etzion settlement bloc will isolate approx. 64 km
including some of the most fertile land in the governorate.

• Nine Palestinian communities with approx. 21,000 residents, will face reduced access to Bethlehem City, the major centre for health, education, markets and trade.

• Bethlehem farmers who reside on the ‘Palestinian side’ of the Barrier will also face reduced access  to their land behind the Barrier.

• Access to Road 60, the main route south to Hebron, will be blocked.

Area Affected:

The Barrier's total length is 709 km, more than twice the length of the 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line) between the West Bank and Israel.

The total area located between the Barrier and the Green Line is 9.5% of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and No Man's Land.

When completed, approximately 15% of the Barrier will be constructed on the Green Line or in Israel, with 85% inside the West Bank.

Populations Affected:

If the Barrier is completed based on the current route:

Approximately 35,000 Palestinians holding West Bank ID cards in 34 communities will be located between the Barrier and the Green Line.

The majority of Palestinians with East Jerusalem ID cards will reside between the Barrier and the Green Line. However, Palestinian communities insdie the current municipal boundary, Kafr Aqab and Shu'fat Camp, are separated from East Jerusalem by the Barrier.

Approximately 125,000 Palestinians will be surrounded by the Barrier on three sides.  These comprise 28 communities; the Biddya and Biddu areas, and teh city of Qalqilya.

Approximately 26,000 Palestinians in 8 communities in the Az Zawiya and Bir Nabala Enclaves will be surrounded on four sides by the Barrier, with a tunnel or road connection to the rest of the West Bank.

Whilst the Court notes the assurance given by Israel that the construction of the wall does not amount to annexation and that the wall is of a temporary nature, it nevertheless cannot remain indifferent to certain fears expressed to it that the route of the wall will prejudge the future frontier between Israel and Palestine, and the fear that Israel may integrate the settlements and their means of access. The Court considers that the construction of the wall and its associated régime create a “fait accompli” on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, and notwithstanding the formal characterization of the wall by Israel, it would be tantamount to de facto annexation.

International Court of Justice (ICJ), Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,  Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004, para. 121