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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
9 July 2013





THE HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF THE BARRIER
JULY 2013
KEY FACTS
KEY FACTS
􀀕 The Barrier consists of concrete walls, fences, ditches, razor wire, groomed sand paths, an electronic monitoring system, patrol roads, and a buffer zone.

􀀕 The Barrier’s total length (constructed and projected) is approximately 712 km, more than twice the length of the 1949 Armistice (“Green”) Line.

􀀕 Approximately 62% of the Barrier’s approved route is complete, a further 10% is under construction and 28% is planned but not yet constructed.

􀀕 Some 85% of the Barrier’s route runs inside the West Bank, rather than along the Green Line; if completed as planned, the Barrier will isolate 9.4% of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

􀀕 Nearly half of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank (71 out of 150) and over 85% of the settler population are located in the area between the Green Line and the Barrier’s route.

􀀕 Around 11,000 Palestinians living in 32 communities located between the Barrier and the Green Line (hereafter: behind the Barrier), depend on the granting of permits or special arrangements to live in their own homes.

􀀕 In 2013, a rerouting of a section the Barrier near Tulkarm was completed, allowing 350 people in the Khirbet Jubara community free access to the rest of the West Bank.

􀀕 Palestinians with West Bank ID cards who are granted special permits can enter East Jerusalem through four of the 14 Barrier checkpoints around the city.

􀀕 Approximately 150 Palestinian communities have land located behind the Barrier, forcing residents to seek special permits or ‘prior coordination’ to access it.

􀀕 Access to agricultural land through the Barrier is channelled through 74 gates, the majority of which (52) only open during the olive harvest (October-December).

􀀕 Despite the presence of the Barrier, between January and March 2013 at least 14,000 Palestinians without the required permits smuggled themselves every day into Israel to look for employment (PCBS).


1. In 2002, the Government of Israel decided to build a Barrier with the stated aim of preventing violent attacks by Palestinians inside Israel. However, the vast majority of the Barrier’s route is located within the West Bank, separating Palestinian communities and farming land from the rest of the West Bank and contributing to the fragmentation of the oPt. The inclusion of Israeli settlements behind the Barrier is the single most important factor behind the deviation of the route from the Green Line.

2. The Barrier has reduced the access 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 with the rest of the West Bank they must obtain permits or “prior coordination” and pass through Barrier checkpoints. Access of service providers to these communities, including ambulances and fire brigades, has been impaired.

3. Agriculture-based livelihoods of thousands of families have been undermined due to the permit and gate regime, which restrict access to farmland behind the Barrier. Permit applications are regularly rejected on grounds that farmers failed to prove their “connection to the land” to the satisfaction of the Israeli authorities, as well as on security grounds. The limited opening of the agricultural gates has forced permit-holders to stop cultivation or to shift from labour-intensive to rain-fed 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 from the urban centre, and rural communities separated from their land in the Jerusalem periphery.

5. In its 2004 Advisory Opinion, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) established that the sections of the Barrier which run 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, dismantle the sections already completed, and repeal all legislative measures related to that the Barrier.





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