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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
9 July 2012



THE HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF THE BARRIER
JULY 2012


1. Construction of the Barrier began in 2002, following a wave of suicide bombings inside Israel by West Bank Palestinians. However, the vast majority of the Barrier’s route is located within the West Bank, isolating Palestinian communities and farming land, and contributing to the fragmentation of the oPt. The inclusion of Israeli settlements, including areas planned for their future expansion, on the ‘Israeli side’ of the Barrier is the single most important factor determining the route of the Barrier and its deviation from the Green Line.

2. The Barrier has reduced the access of thousands of Palestinians living in communities located behind the Barrier to workplaces and essential services. To continue living in their own homes and to maintain family and social relations in the rest of the West Bank they must obtain permits and pass through Barrier checkpoints. The access of service providers to these communities, including ambulances and fire brigades, has been also impaired.

3. The agricultural livelihoods of approximately 150 communities have been severely undermined due to the permit and gate regime, which restrict their access to farmland behind the Barrier. The majority of permit applications are regularly rejected on grounds that the farmer failed to prove his ‘connection to the land’ to the satisfaction of the Israeli authorities. The limited opening of the ‘agricultural gates’ has forced permit-holders to stop cultivation or to shift from labour-intensive to rainfed and low-value crops.

4. The Barrier has transformed the geography, economy and social life of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, as well as the life of those residing in the wider metropolitan area. Neighbourhoods, suburbs and families have been divided from each other and walled out from the urban centre, and rural communities separated from their land in the Jerusalem hinterland.

5. In its 2004 Advisory Opinion, the International Court of Justice established that the sections of the Barrier which runs inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, together with the associated gate and permit regime, violate Israel’s obligations under international law. The ICJ called on Israel to cease construction of the Barrier inside the West Bank; dismantle the sections already completed; and repeal all legislative measures related to that.




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