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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 September 2003



Update Number 2, September 30, 2003

In accordance with a decision of the HEPG, an update of the original study of April 30, 2003 will be released every two months. This update is the second in that series. The next update will be released by November 30, 2003.



SEPTEMBER 30, 2003


1. Motivated by concerns that Palestinian livelihoods and the viability of local economies could be harmed by the construction of a separation barrier and that the barrier might negatively impact the delivery of humanitarian aid and damage assistance projects,the international donor community through the Local Aid Coordination Committee (LACC) commissioned a study2 and series of follow-up reports3 of the possible socioeconomic impact of the barrier on affected Palestinian communities.

2. This report examines the impact of construction surrounding Jerusalem – the so-called “Jerusalem Envelope”.4 Residents of eight Jerusalem Governorate communities located north and west of Jerusalem’s municipal boundary5 (with a combined mid-2003 population of more than 56,400) have already lost land to the construction of the barrier. Likewise, south of Jerusalem, eight Bethlehem Governorate communities (combined population of over 63,800) are being impacted (see tables 1 and 2). Within Jerusalem’s municipal borders, the communities in the southeast of the city – Sur Bahir, Umm Tuba, Jabal al Mukabbir, As Sawahira al Gharbiya, Ras al ‘Amud, Ash Shayyah, and At Tur will be affected; some are losing land to the barrier, and all could find access to Palestinian neighborhoods in the West Bank immediately adjacent to the municipal border further restricted.

3. The Government of Israel has not yet begun the process of land requisition for the north-eastern section of the Jerusalem Envelope, nor decided on the final trajectory linking Phase I construction in the north-west West Bank with the separation barrier around Jerusalem. Should such construction be undertaken, the number of affected communities and individuals in Jerusalem Governorate will grow.6

4. In focusing on the barrier’s Phase I alignment in the north-west West Bank7, the initial study emphasized the potential impact of physical separation and isolation on residents who might be cut off from their agricultural lands, irrigation networks and water resources, as well as from West Bank workplaces, schools, health clinics and other social services. The extent and impact of such isolation will depend to a significant extent upon the number and operating hours of access points and crossings, and the degree to which unimpeded movement of persons and goods is permitted.8

5. The first update report, reviewing the impact of Phase II of the separation barrier in northern Jenin Governorate, identified the intensification of external closure that the barrier represents as its primary economic impact in that area. Unless mitigated by significant well-managed access passages, the virtual elimination of employment prospects for West Bank Palestinians from this area in Israel will persist, and losses of income by Palestinian commercial establishments resulting from restrictions on the ability of Israeli Arab customers to frequent Palestinian shops will continue (particularly in the border community of Al Jalama, but also in other communities further inside such as Jenin city). Because Phase II’s alignment more closely adheres to the Green Line (although still built within the West Bank), much less agricultural land has been affected than in areas near Tulkarm and Qalqiliya under Phase I. This is not to minimize the economic loss to individual landowners who have seen their lands requisitioned for the barrier’s alignment.


6. In many respects, the likely impact of the Jerusalem Area barrier combines the worst effects of the barrier in the Tulkarm-Qalqiliya and Jenin areas. West Bank identity card (ID) holders living on both sides of the barrier are likely to find their ability to access employment in East Jerusalem seriously limited, while Jerusalem ID holders will face difficulty in reaching jobs and services outside the city in West Bank neighborhoods (e.g. Ramallah to the north, and Bethlehem to the south). Commercial establishments in Palestinian communities outside Jerusalem may face further reductions in their customer base (a loss of clientele from Jerusalem in the markets and repair shops of Abu Dis has already occurred as a result of the provisional barrier obstructing access from Ras al ‘Amud). In Bethlehem, the tightened closure effected by the barrier could inhibit any robust recovery of the tourism industry.

7. Access to specialized medical services and educational facilities located west of the barrier in East Jerusalem will likely become problematic for Palestinians residing outside the barrier.9 Similarly, Jerusalem students attending school or university outside the city could face further difficulties in reaching them.10

8. Existing sections of the Jerusalem area separation barrier and the land that has been requisitioned for its construction are located across the Green Line, and in some places, outside Israel’s Jerusalem municipal boundary. As a consequence, Palestinian families and communities will be separated from each other – at times affecting members of the same village and/or family. The barrier will separate children from their schools, women from modern obstetric facilities, workers from their places of employment and communities from their cemeteries.11 A degree of population displacement appears to have occurred already as a result of barrier construction.

9. In many Palestinian families in the Jerusalem area, some members have Jerusalem residency permits12 and others, West Bank IDs. To the extent that movement restrictions increase as a result of the barrier, hard decisions will have to be made – either to maintain separate residences; or to live on the eastern side of the barrier, exposing Jerusalem ID holders to the risk of no longer satisfying Israel’s requirement that Jerusalem is the ID holder’s place of residence (which could lead to a forfeit of the right to work in Jerusalem, to educational and health facilities, to insurance, and to social welfare benefits) – or to relocate to the western side of the barrier in order to maximize employment prospects (although for a West Bank ID holder, such relocation without a Jerusalem residency permit is a violation of Israeli law).

10. If passage for West Bank Palestinians through the Jerusalem barrier is limited and, as a consequence, livelihoods and access to services is affected, donors are likely to be sympathetic to a call for measures of economic mitigation. In August, UNDP launched an US$18 million emergency aid appeal for assistance to West Bank communities affected by the separation barrier, with particular emphasis on the northern West Bank. At the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Dubai on September 21, 2003, the Islamic Development Bank launched a US$20 million initiative to provide assistance to those affected by the barrier.


11. Two sections of the Jerusalem Envelope were completed as part of the Phase I construction that began last year. Already finished are an (approximately) eight kilometer stretch north of the city, running from Ofer military camp to Qalandiya checkpoint, and an (approximately) 14.5 kilometer section south of Jerusalem, running
from Beit Jala through Bethlehem and east to Beit Sahur. In both of these sections, the barrier ranges between 40 and 100 meters in width and consists of an electrified fence, electronic sensors, trenches, military roads, barbed wire, buffer zones and watchtowers.

Table 1: Phase I Construction of the “Jerusalem Envelope”
West Bank Communities Impacted by the Completed Sections

12. Beginning on July 27, 2003 and continuing through August 24, military orders were issued requisitioning land on which upwards of 18 kilometers of barrier will be built to the east and southeast of Jerusalem.13 This stretch of barrier begins in the West Bank villages of Al Khas (Al Hujeila) and Khallet an Nu’man (approximately one kilometer north of where the constructed barrier now ends, in Beit Sahur) -- and proceeds north to Abu Dis and Al ‘Eizariya, from where it turns east to approach the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. These particular requisition orders will lead to the sealing of much of the space between the parts of the barrier already in place in Jerusalem’s northern, eastern and southern sectors. The existing barrier and the requisition orders are all situated well beyond the Green Line, and in some places also beyond Israel’s Jerusalem municipal boundary of June 1967. Requisition orders in Al ‘Elzariya, for example, extend the alignment of the barrier three kilometers beyond the municipal boundary (and 5.5 km beyond the Green Line).

Table 2: Ongoing Construction of the “Jerusalem Envelope”
West Bank Communities Impacted by Recent Land Requisition Orders

13. Collectively these three sections encompass three-fourths of West Bank-facing Jerusalem. The trajectory of the remaining north-east quadrant has yet to be specified. Depending on the barrier’s ultimate alignment between Qalandiya checkpoint and Ma’ale Adumim, four West Bank communities adjacent to Jerusalem’s northern municipal boundary (with an estimated mid-2003 population of 41,250) could find themselves located inside the barrier and thereby separated from the West Bank.14

14. The trajectory of the barrier between the Jerusalem Envelope’s current northwest terminus at Ofer Military Base and the southern end of Phase I construction at Elkana has not been finalized, though the Cabinet is expected to decide on October 1 to include the Ariel salient in the barrier’s future trajectory.15


15. Prior to the Intifada, the communities located in Jerusalem Governorate enjoyed the highest standards of living and the lowest poverty rates in the West Bank. Workers (be they Jerusalem ID holders or West Bank ID holders) living outside the municipality’s boundaries enjoyed easy access to employment in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel, as well as to jobs in Ramallah (to the north) and Bethlehem (to the south). With external closure, movement restrictions as well as penalties levied against Israeli employers hiring non-permitted (illegal) Palestinian workers drastically reduced the number of Bethlehem and Jerusalem Governorate workers employed on the Israeli side of the Green Line. At the same time, internal closures – checkpoints, barriers – disrupted Palestinians’ ability to reach job sites in Ramallah and Bethlehem. The economy of Jerusalem and Bethlehem further suffered from a sharp decline in tourism due to the deteriorating security situation.

16. The relative prosperity of the Jerusalem Governorate was described in a 2001 World Bank study of poverty in the West Bank and Gaza.16 The estimated poverty rate for the West Bank was 18.0 percent; for Bethlehem Governorate 13.7 percent and for the Jerusalem Governorate excluding municipal Jerusalem, only 2.5 percent.17 The analysis showed that living in a village, and even more so, in a refugee camp, increased the probability of being poor. It also showed that household earnings were in general higher if a member worked in Israel rather than the West Bank, or in the West Bank private sector rather than in the PA – and that household consumption was positively correlated with educational levels.

17. Within the affected areas, some of the lowest poverty rates were found in the five urban communities of Al ‘ Eisariya and Abu Dis in Jerusalem Governorate, and in Beit Jala, Bethlehem, and Beit Sahur (the three urban communities in Bethlehem Governorate). The highest rates were in the rural communities of Bethlehem Governorate furthest away from Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries – Umm al Qasseis, Khallet an Nu’man, and Al Khas, the three communities with the smallest populations.

18. Since late-2000, the economic advantages of this region have been steadily eroded. Progressively stricter mobility restrictions for people and vehicles have reduced to a trickle the numbers of Israeli shoppers in local markets, aggravating the decline in income resulting from lost construction and agricultural employment across the Green Line in Israel. This has translated into reductions in the number of commercial establishments still in operation, lower profitability, and increased unemployment in the service sectors.

Table 3: Estimated 1997 Number of Poor, Poverty Rates, and Population
for Communities Currently Affected by the Jerusalem Envelope

19. Annual labor surveys clearly show the decline in employment associated with the Intifada and the imposition of tighter internal and external closure (Tables 4a and 4b). Of the 11,400 jobs lost from 2000 to 2002 in the Jerusalem Governorate, 4,000 were in construction – mostly across the Green Line. Hotels, restaurants and commerce saw a decline of 2,600 jobs. Service sector jobs dropped by 2,000 in two years, many related to losses of tourism-related income (see Table 5 for indicators of decline in the hotel sector in Jerusalem Governorate).

Table 4a: Employment by Sector and Residence of Worker, 1998-2001
Jerusalem Governorate

Table 4b: Employment by Industry and Residence of Worker, 1998-2001
Bethlehem and Jericho Governorates

Table 5: Indicators of Hotel Activity, 1998-2001
Jerusalem Governorate

20. The decline in employment in Bethlehem and Jericho Governorates shows similar patterns (Table 4b).18 In the period 2000-2002, a total of approximately 6,400 jobs disappeared, with the number lost in the construction sector (6,500) exceeding this total as laborers from Bethlehem Governorate are no longer able to access jobs across the Green Line.19

21. On the eve of the Intifada, Jerusalem and Bethlehem/Jericho Governorates had unemployment rates slightly below the overall rate for the West Bank. In 2001, employment in the environs of Jerusalem was less affected than employment in the West Bank as a whole, due primarily to continued access to the Jerusalem labor market (on both sides of the Green Line) to West Bank ID holders. In 2002, however, the pattern changes – a sharp rise in unemployment is discernible that year, by 80 percent in the Jerusalem Governorate and by 53 percent in Bethlehem, as compared to 28 percent for the West Bank as a whole. This is largely accounted for by greater restrictions on movement, including from the construction of the barrier, with West Bank ID holders facing increasing difficulty in accessing jobs within the municipal boundary. No disaggregated poverty data for the area is currently available, but it can be confidently predicted that poverty has increased significantly in the past year. Poverty in the West Bank and Gaza is closely related to unemployment: over the first 27 months of the Intifada, unemployment increased from 10 percent to 27 percent of the workforce (a factor of 2.7), and poverty from 21 percent to 60 percent of the population (a factor of 2.8).20

Table 6: Unemployment 2000-2002
Jerusalem and Bethlehem & Jericho Governorates

22. The agricultural sector has not been a major employer in Jerusalem Governorate or in the larger communities in Bethlehem Governorate immediately to the south of municipal Jerusalem (Beit Jala, Bethlehem, Beit Sahur), because of relative land scarcity, lack of sufficient water resources for intensive cultivation, and the availability of other, more lucrative forms of employment. Nevertheless many families receive supplemental income from agriculture, primarily from olives. With general increases in closure during the course of the Intifada, the importance of this income supplement has grown. The construction of the barrier will reduce available land as well as access to land close to the barrier. Evidence of this was found by mission field visits (Box 1).

23. Many interviewees directly affected by the barrier’s construction reported that they had recently further reduced household expenditure on food, in particular on the more expensive items like meat and vegetables, and were eating less in general than a few months ago.21 Several families reported that this year they have foregone sending their children to kindergarten for lack of money. Credit from local shops continues to play an important role as a “shock absorber”, and has remained available to most due to strong social bonds, but the precarious financial situation faced by many stores has led to the closure of a number of these establishments in the visited communities in recent months.


24. The Jerusalem barrier will intensify the access difficulties faced by West Bank ID holders living within and outside the municipal boundary. Those inside municipal Jerusalem already find it problematic to travel to and from areas beyond the emergent barrier for employment, health and education purposes. This difficulty will increase if their status comes under greater scrutiny when they attempt to transit through the barrier. For West Bank ID holders residing outside municipal Jerusalem, questions arise over continued access to services (schools, hospitals) in East Jerusalem, as well as the ability to visit family members living in villages inside the municipal boundary. Many Palestinians who are Jerusalem ID holders will also be affected. Palestinian Jerusalem residents living outside the barrier will be separated from the city where they have a legal right to work and to use public services.

25. Of concern is the potential interruption of family relationships as a result of the barrier bisecting particular communities. The barrier/marked trajectory cuts through municipal Jerusalem in some places, and through a number of West Bank villages. In addition, a number of population enclaves have been created in the barrier’s southern Jerusalem sector as a result of the interaction of the barrier and IDF restrictions in the area of Rachel’s Tomb.

26. Access points that permit a predictable flow of goods and people through the structure will be essential if the negative socio-economic potential of the barrier is to be minimized. Contacts between two villages and the IDF have yielded promises of gates in two locations, Sur Bahir and Abu Dis. Nevertheless, based on what inhabitants have heard about the operation of such gates in the north of the West Bank (short and unpredictable opening times, reports of IDF harassment), considerable apprehension was expressed to the mission about the future access regime. Gates, however liberallymanaged, will not solve all access problem in the Jerusalem Envelope area. The barrier will solidify and institutionalize the differences between those holding West Bank and Jerusalem IDs. West Bank ID holders who have hitherto accessed Jerusalem “illegally” will, it is presumed, no longer be able to do so.

27. The following section gives details of how the barrier is impacting on communities to the north, east and south of Jerusalem (see also Maps 1 and 2).

The Northern Section of the Jerusalem Barrier

28. In this area, the barrier does not adhere to the Jerusalem municipal boundary but cuts across it, leaving the Qalandiya Camp and Kfar ‘Aqab municipal communities north of the barrier. The barrier also runs west of the municipal boundary and deep into the West Bank.

29. Villages North of the Barrier. Access to schools and health facilities for residents of Rafat and Kfar ‘Aqab has been largely unaffected, since West Bank ID holders go to schools and hospitals in Ramallah, while Jerusalem ID holders are able to pass south through the barrier to attend schools and hospitals in Jerusalem.22 Employment also conforms to this pattern, with Jerusalem ID holders passing through Qalandiya checkpoint to Jerusalem, and those possessing West Bank IDs traveling north to Ramallah or El Bireh.

30. However, there is concern among Jerusalem ID holders that the completion of the barrier could lead to their exclusion from Jerusalem unless they establish residency south of the barrier. Village representatives for Rafat claimed that no pre-emptive migration had occurred, though.23 Kfar ‘Aqab representatives, on the other hand, spoke of a general displacement trend that began in early 2002 after the Qalandiya checkpoint became a fully-developed terminal. The treasurer of the village council claimed that the barrier has reinforced this: “those who are able to work in Jerusalem have the most opportunity to leave Kfar ‘Aqab.”24 This notion was reinforced by Jerusalem advocate Daniel Seidemann who asserts that a number of Kfar ‘Aqab residents with Jerusalem IDs have begun to rent properties in the Shufat refugee camp, inside the Jerusalem municipal boundary, as a direct consequence of the barrier.25

31. The barrier’s impact on social relations between villages to its north and south is already proving problematic, though only a relatively short stretch has been completed. In Kfar ‘Aquab, council representatives informed the mission that the barrier is blocking almost all direct access between their village and the network of villages to the south which are intimately connected to them by marriage and by long-standing commercial ties.26

32. Villages South of the Barrier. South of the barrier, many West Bank ID holders now find themselves living between the barrier (to the north), the Green Line (south) and the Jerusalem municipal boundary (east). Four villages south of the barrier were researched,27 and in all the great majority of residents have West Bank IDs.28 While access to schooling is not a problem, owing to the availability of local schools, access to health,29 jobs and family networks has become very problematic. Those who do not possess Jerusalem IDs face an uncertain future – one analogous to those living between Phase I of the barrier and the Green Line in the north-western West Bank. Should the barrier’s construction be accompanied by greater efforts by the Israeli authorities to prevent “illegals” from entering or residing within the municipal boundaries, some residents may feel obliged to relocate north of the barrier. Thus far there is no evidence that this has occurred.

33. Traditionally, these villagers relied heavily on work in Jerusalem/Israel. Since the beginning of the Intifada it has been very hard to obtain permits to work or trade, and clandestine access has also become more difficult. As a result, increasing numbers have sought work in Ramallah. Now, though, the barrier is making it difficult to access towns to the north. Transporting agricultural produce to Ramallah is virtually impossible, and daily access to Ramallah’s job markets and health facilities seems to many villagers to be in jeopardy. Although technically eligible for permits to travel to other parts of the West Bank, the Al Jib village council head reported that such permits are in practice very hard to obtain for a non-resident of Ramallah.30 These villagers can pass north through Qalandiya (at times when the checkpoint is not restricted for security reasons),31 but they cannot return though it, and this obliges them to take long roundabout routes home. While this is costly and inconvenient, respondents feared that the completed barrier would seal off such access entirely.

The Eastern Section of the Jerusalem Barrier

34. In this area the alignment of the barrier tracks north-south on or relatively close to the municipal boundary – with the major exception of the spur running in an easterly direction away from Al ‘Eizariya down to the edge of Ma’ale Adumim.

35. From Abu Dis North. In August 2002, a previous checkpoint was replaced by today’s row of six-foot concrete blocks, perhaps 150-200 meters in length, running along Jerusalem’s municipal boundary between Ras al ‘Amud (East Jerusalem) and Abu Dis (West Bank). These blocks are temporary and will be replaced by an eight-meter wall equipped with sensory devices.32 Movement through the barrier is now possible, as the blocks have gaps between them large enough to allow people to squeeze by, while the more agile can also climb over them. Construction to the north and south of this stretch is currently underway.33

36. A permanent barrier in this area will affect Abu Dis residents’ access to health services.34 The Abu Dis clinic only provides basic care; women giving birth need to go to hospitals in Jerusalem. When movement restrictions have been imposed and entry to Jerusalem prohibited, women have been using hospitals in either Ramallah or Jericho. Plans to extend the barrier approximately 14 km east to the Ma’ale Adumim junction may make such movement impossible, unless a reliable crossing point is established in this section of the barrier.35 The barrier will also affect access to Abu Dis’ five schools, which offer education from the first to the twelfth grades for both boys and girls. Many people living to the west of the barrier’s trajectory within the Jerusalem municipal boundary send their children to these schools – while some parents in Abu Dis, especially those holding Jerusalem IDs, send their children west to schools inside the municipal boundary. Al Quds University in Abu Dis straddles the barrier’s trajectory and is subject to current GoI requisition orders and will lose the use of one-third of its property.

37. Employment in Abu Dis has already been affected by the temporary barrier. Once dependent on agriculture, Abu Dis adapted to the requisitioning of much of its agricultural land after 1967 by developing strong links with Jerusalem and establishing a vibrant market to which Jerusalem residents came to purchase competitively-priced goods and services (meat, car repairs, etc.). Rents and tax rates are also lower than in the Jerusalem municipality. Traders interviewed by the mission reported that the barrier has already interfered with trade; they fear that a permanent barrier will prevent most of their customers from accessing their shops.36

38. The built-up nature of the area and the natural volume of traffic between Ras al ‘Amud and Abu Dis (even with the obstacles currently in place) means the completed barrier will grossly impede movement, even if a liberal access regime is put in place. As in the northern section of the Jerusalem Envelope described above, families and communities will be divided, leaving Jerusalem ID holders outside the barrier and West Bank ID holders inside, prompting a multitude of painful calculations about the feasibility and wisdom of relocating. Some population migration was reported to the mission in this area. The representative of Abu Dis and Al ‘Eizariya stated that a “small number” of Jerusalem ID holders had left both villages for Ras al ‘Amud, out of fear of losing their Jerusalem IDs if left on the eastern side of the barrier.37 However, no movement to the eastern side of the barrier by Ras al ‘Amud residents with West Bank IDs was reported. In Al ‘Eizariya, 84 residents (all of whom hold West Bank IDs) will be situated north of where the barrier angles down to Ma’ale Adumim – that is, between the municipal boundary (west), Ma’ale Adumim (east) and the barrier (south). The rest of the community, including members of many of the same families, will be south of and outside the barrier.

39. South of Abu Dis. Again, Jerusalem ID holders contacted in Ash Sheikh Sa’d, and As Sawahira ash Sharqiya believed they could soon find it difficult to access education, health and workplaces within the Jerusalem municipality. In As Sawahira ash Sharqiya, approximately 100 families (with a combined population of c.1000 persons, some 300 of whom are school children), who hold Jerusalem IDs and pay Jerusalem property taxes, will be wedged between the barrier to their west and the municipal boundary to their east.38 In Sur Bahir, a village within the municipal boundary, approximately 600 residents holding Jerusalem IDs will find themselves east of the barrier.39 In As Sawahira ash Sharqiya, an indeterminate (but small) number of Jerusalem ID holders are said to have left the village for areas within the municipal boundary, for fear of losing their IDs.40 Some Ash Sheikh Sa’d residents have left for the neighboring village of Jabal al Mukabbir (within the Jerusalem municipal borders) for similar reasons (see also box 4).

40. Various West Bank ID holders interviewed in the villages south of Abu Dis freely admitted to relying on “illegal” access to the Jerusalem municipality (i.e. entry without permits) in order to work, visit hospitals in East Jerusalem, and see family and friends. When completed, the barrier may well prevent this. Conversely, Palestinians with West Bank ID currently living within the Jerusalem municipal boundary in this area fear that the barrier may result in stricter enforcement of Israeli ID policies.

41. Villages on the eastern and southern flanks of Jerusalem are socially and economically integrated into Jerusalem. To this point they have been dependent to a large degree on access to the municipality, and this has cushioned them from the economic shock of the Intifada period much better than most other Palestinians. The barrier threatens to bring about a sharp deterioration in the standard of living of those villagers who will no longer be able to access work with any ease or regularity. In summary, the Jerusalem barrier will solidify a municipal boundary which has remained porous throughout the troubles, and will measurably increase the level of hardship on Jerusalem’s doorstep.

42. Although population displacement as a consequence of the barrier is still modest and appears limited to those holding Jerusalem IDs, the potential exists for significant population flows in and out of Jerusalem. Further monitoring of this should be undertaken over the coming months.

The Southern Section of the Jerusalem Border

43. In this area the alignment of the barrier tracks roughly east-west on or relatively close to the municipal boundary – and has the effect of separating the municipalities of Bethlehem (Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Bethlehem itself) from the settlements of Gilo and Har Homa. This is the longest stretch of completed barrier so far in the Jerusalem area, and features six small actual or potential population enclaves, five of them created by the security measures enacted around Rachel’s Tomb.

44. Access to schools and hospitals for the populations of the Bethlehem municipalities has not been affected by the barrier, as these services are provided within greater Bethlehem. Since the area is populated predominantly by West Bank ID holders and because employment was abundant in Bethlehem prior to the Intifada (from tourism trade and services), relatively few families depended on employment in Jerusalem. Nor will the barrier interpose itself significantly between Palestinian communities, or break established family and social ties.

45. Nevertheless, the barrier will create six enclaves (Map 2). Three hundred and twenty people, all with West Bank IDs, will need to adapt to demanding new realities.

46. In the enclave areas east and west of Gilo checkpoint, identified as Areas 5 and 6 respectively on Map 2, residents currently enter and exit through gaps in the barrier, timing their movements to avoid IDF patrols.41 For those living in Area 6, however, this entails walking east to the end of the barrier, which takes at least one hour.42 Residents of both areas can still reach their places of employment as well as schools and health facilities in the Bethlehem area and south of the barrier. With the completion of construction near Area 5 and the issuance of additional requisition orders north to Khallet an Nu’man near Area 6, these routes will be blocked unless permits are issued to these residents.

47. Access to Areas 1 and 2, close to Rachel’s Tomb, is currently limited to residents and shopkeepers from the area, and movement is subject to the permission of IDF soldiers stationed at entrance points to each zone; permission for outside guests to visit residents must be sought from the IDF in advance. Permission must also be sought by potential customers of the businesses in these areas. The significant military presence, difficulties of access and history of tension in this area are conducive neither to commerce nor to normal social life.43

48. Rachel’s Tomb Areas 3 and 4 are relatively unaffected at present. Although surrounded on three sides by land subject to requisition for further barrier construction, access to and from each is still freely permitted. As and when construction proceeds, residents of both areas could find themselves facing restrictions similar to those in Areas 1 and 2, given their proximity to a heavily guarded religious site and a major IDF encampment.

49. There is already evidence of population displacement from the enclaves. Displacement from Area 6 was reported to the mission; 22 children now live with relatives in Beit Sahur during the school week, and return home for the weekends.44 Should construction proceed in the area of Rachel’s Tomb, it is likely that further displacement will take place.


50. The mission reviewed the processes used to requisition land for the Jerusalem area barrier, and the progress of the requisitioning exercise to date. Lawyers actively involved in the legalities of barrier-related land acquisition were interviewed and extensive site visits were made.45

51. The process of land requisition applicable to the Separation Barrier was described at length in the report of May 30, 2003. For convenience, the relevant section of that report is attached as Annex 1.

52. Land requisitions are made pursuant to orders issued by either the IDF for property in the West Bank46 or the Ministry of Defense (MoD) for property within the municipal boundary of Jerusalem.

53. Most orders became effective the day they were issued, or within 1-2 days thereafter (table 7). The methods of serving land requisition orders on landowners or holders in the Jerusalem area were similar to those used in Phase I and II of the barrier in the northern West Bank. Residents’ accounts of how they first came to learn about the barrier describe an absence of consistent, clear communication by the Israeli authorities. Several reported never receiving the requisition order at all. Some orders were left weighted under a stone near or on the subject land. In Rafat, respondents discovered the land requisitions from orders attached to trees. In Al Judeira, residents first learned that the barrier would be built in their neighborhood from the television.47 Sur Bahir residents learned about the barrier when the IDF entered the village in Ramadan 2002 and dug a trench along the planned alignment.48 The orders issued by the MoD specifically provide that failure to deliver the order to the landowner does not prevent its implementation.49

54. The orders identify the land to be requisitioned with different colored markings on an attached map – however, the maps provided were normally photocopies of the original, in black and white, and several respondents said they were unable to tell which land was subject to requisition. The maps provided to residents list land by parcel number, as opposed to identifying features and names familiar to the landowner – once again creating confusion as to whether a particular order applied to a particular piece of land. Parcel numbers, moreover, sometimes differ between the text of the order and the map. These map-related problems applied to entries 2, 6 and 14 in table 7.

55. At least fourteen orders requisitioning land in the Jerusalem area have been issued since. The exact number of landowners these orders affect is unknown as the orders refer only to parcels of land and not the land owners themselves.

56. IDF orders contain no mechanism for appeal or objection.50 However, pursuant to an undertaking given by the IDF to the Supreme Court in another case51, the IDF is to verbally inform the landowner that he or she has seven days to appeal the order.

57. The orders issued by the Ministry of Defense contain two options: i) to appeal to the Committee of Appeal of the MoD within 14 days of date of delivery or of when the landowner was notified52 – in accordance with the Law on Seizure of Lands Under Martial Law (1949); or ii) without prejudice to an appeal, to object to the Ministry of Defense itself by a specified date (usually seven days from the date of the order). Orders from either the IDF or the MOD can be appealed to the High Court of Justice, but only after exhausting all administrative remedies provided under Israeli law.

58. At least two appeals of IDF orders have been filed for property in Abu Dis and Rachel’s Tomb, and at the time of writing were pending. At least three appeals of MOD orders have been filed for property in Kfar ‘Aqab, As Sawahira, and Sur Bahir. An injunction was originally issued halting construction on the property in Kfar ‘Aqab, but the appeal was not pursued and was therefore dismissed. The appeals in As Sawahira and Sur Bahir remained pending at the time of writing.

59. The mission was told by a many interviewees that land owners have little faith in the legal system; nor can they always bear the cost of a lawyer called to the Israeli Bar to carry an appeal to hearing. It was thought by the lawyers interviewed that those who lodge appeals do so in order to buy time -- in the hope that they can negotiate a realignment of the route of the fence, rather than halt its construction. Residents in a number of communities, upon learning of plans for the barrier’s trajectory (or witnessing its initial construction) established committees to negotiate alterations in the barrier’s planned route; no successes have been reported. Likewise, demonstrations were staged in several communities (Kafr ‘Aqab, Al Judeira, Abu Dis) and protests lodged with nearby Israeli police stations (Sur Bahir), again without success. Throughout the course of field research, respondents often cited the closure of Orient House as a key reason for the lack of any concerted effort to protest the land requisitioning or to organize coherent civil action against the barrier. Qalandiya’s village mukhtar described Orient House as “a place to go for protection.”53

60. Table 7 details military orders requisitioning property for the Jerusalem barrier. The orders are arranged by area, running clockwise from Rafat.


61. Israeli public support for the separation fence is very high. A Tel Aviv ‘Peace Index’ survey conducted on July 28-30 reported that 80 percent of Israeli-Jewish respondents supported the construction of a fence “separating Israel from the Palestinians”58, with 71 percent believing that construction should continue despite the objections of the Bush Administration (an increase from 64 percent one month previously). The poll indicated a clear majority in favor of the fence among supporters of each of the six major political parties in the Knesset (Likud, Labour, Shinui, Shas, NRP, National Union).

62. The collapse of the unilateral Palestinian cease-fire (hudna) in early September accelerated demands for the fence’s rapid completion. Following the two suicide attacks on September 9, 2003, Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for the fence to be erected as soon as possible, declaring that his ministry would not stint on the allocation of funds for the fence, despite this year’s very difficult budget situation. The Mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupoliansky, at the same time decried the slow pace of construction around Jerusalem as an “abandonment” of the city to terror.59 On September 11, the Security Cabinet decided to “accelerate the construction of the security fence.”60 The State Comptroller’s Report released on September 30 is sharp in its criticism of the slow pace of fence construction, the Government’s failure to gain approval for the whole length of the fence and the delays in budgetary approval for it.

63. For most Israelis, the fence is necessitated by security considerations. As negative opinions on the fence have multiplied in Palestinian and international circles during the past nine months, frustration that Israel’s position is either misunderstood or is being distorted can be discerned. Moshe Arens, writing in Ha’aretz, offers the following observations: “After the government has repeated for the nth time that the fence was for security, pure and simple, and that no other significance should be ascribed to it, the Palestinians, and with them most of the rest of the world, insist that that is not the way they see it. The location of the fence separating Israel from the Palestinians has become a cause celebre…. Beyond the considerable inconvenience caused to Palestinians living in the fence’s vicinity, the assumption by almost everybody is that territory to the west of the fence will remain under Israeli control for the foreseeable future, eventually lying within the borders of the state of Israel…. The Palestinians have only themselves to blame…. The Sharon government has been most unenthusiastic about the fence. It was going to cost a fortune, the settlers hated it, and despite government statements to the contrary, almost everybody sensed that it had significance beyond security. Prodded by the opposition on the left and a growing wave of public opinion, as the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian suicide bombers rose from week to week, it finally gave in….. It may very well be that the fence’s location will affect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, when and if they take place. But the protection of Israel’s citizens must take priority over such considerations. Even Condoleezza Rice will understand that.”61

64. In recent weeks, Israeli media attention has focused more on the proposed Ariel salient of the fence than on the Jerusalem Envelope, with the US expressing disquiet at the route favored by the Government of Israel, and from concern that this might strain the bilateral relationship and lead to deductions from US loan guarantees to Israel. In mid-September, Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Prime Minister and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz held that the settlements of Ariel, Emmanuel and Kedumim would remain to the east of the fence.62 Prior to an expected October 1 Cabinet decision to begin construction of the salient east of Ariel, the Prime Minister told the Likud faction of the Knesset that “the separation fence will be built east of Ariel and east of Kedumim…. If we reach a point where the matter once again creates a dispute, we will sit with the Americans again.”63 To this point, little controversy has surfaced in Israeli public discourse over the Jerusalem Envelope.

65. Some Israelis object to the fence. Jeff Halper of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions writes that one of the fence’s objectives is “unilaterally determining borders: to erect massive physical barriers to “protect” those parts of the West Bank Israel “wants and needs to defend” while confining Palestinians to pockets of “self-rule” – all of which would become permanent if the Palestinians were not more “forthcoming” in negotiations.”64 On September 30, B’Tselem protested the proposed Ariel salient on grounds of human rights infringement and the use of security arguments to pursue political objectives.65


66. To many Palestinians, the barrier’s main function is to annex Palestinian land: “Israel is building the new Berlin Wall in order to partition the Palestinian territories.”67 Palestinian politicians have repeatedly declared their opposition to a barrier on West Bank territory, in contrast to construction on or behind the Green Line. At the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee Meeting in London in February 2003, this position was articulated by Minister of National Economy Maher El-Masri. More recently, Nidal Jaloud, spokesman for Qalqiliya municipality, said “If the Israelis want to build the wall on the 1967 Green Line – no problem, they could build it 100 meters high. But it is not being built on the Green Line – it is built on our lands.”68

67. Land confiscations for the wall are seen by many as the latest in a continuing series of requisitions that reinforce occupation and settlement.69 Land previously owned by residents of Sur Bahir, for example, now lies beneath East Talpiot and Har Homa, an experience common to the communities around the Jerusalem municipal perimeter.70 The processes used to requisition land for the wall are akin to those used in requisitioning land for settlements and bypass roads. The construction of the wall in the Jerusalem area has greater political significance to Palestinians than in other sectors, though, because a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem is seen as an integral part of any final settlement, and because the construction process is perceived by many as an attempt to forestall this. Hafez al Barghouti, editor-in-chief of the Palestinian Authority’s official daily newspaper, Al Hayyat al Jadida, declared in an editorial that “The map of the fence cancels out the road map.”71 According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, “creating facts on the ground or unilateralism drastically changes the parameters of a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”72 To Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al-Quds University and former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs for the Palestinian Authority, the Wall is “saying to Palestinians: no peace. There’s a wall between us.”73

68. The PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Unit has articulated the fear that the Jerusalem wall, by expanding “Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries deeper into Occupied Palestinian Territory” and by sealing what is still a permeable boundary, may lead to disenchantment with the peace process and with Palestinian aspirations for statehood – should that state not satisfy certain minimum requirements, a key one being East Jerusalem as its capital.74 The ultimate consequences, it has been argued, may be the opposite of separation. Thomas Friedman recently cited attorney Muhammad Dahleh on this issue: “If Palestinians lose their dream to have an independent state, then the only thing that might guarantee for them a dignified life will be asking for the right to live in one state with the Israelis.”75


69. The donor community is beginning to mobilize to provide financial assistance to those families and communities affected by the barrier. On August 8, UNDP launched an appeal for US$18 million in emergency assistance to address employment and income needs and to provide for “vital social, municipal and agricultural infrastructure requirements.”76 UNDP aims to generate over 200,000 job opportunities and to undertake land reclamation projects, build new agricultural roads and improve water infrastructure. It also aims to revamp health care and education, and to strengthen administrative/management capacity in affected municipalities and village councils. A “comprehensive emergency action plan” has been created in consultation with community leaders and farmers in the Phase I barrier area in Jenin, Tulkarm, and Qalqiliya Governorates.

70. A US$20 million initiative was launched by the Islamic Development Bank on September 21 at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Dubai. IDB will contribute US$10 million, and has asked other donors to contribute the remainder. The facility is under design, and would provide “urgent humanitarian assistance” to those populations affected by the barrier throughout the West Bank, including health and school services and water infrastructure where such facilities have been compromised or damaged by the barrier’s construction.77

71. Donor interventions might take three main forms – i) grants or loans to individuals/families that have suffered damage or loss to property and livelihoods; ii) the construction of facilties to replace those that no longer function, cannot be accessed or have been damaged/destroyed (schools, medical facilities, water systems); and iii) employment generation programs. Such programs could be implemented by a variety of actors, including PA agencies, municipalities, NGOs and the UNDP. It will be important that a coordinated program be drawn up to ensure transparent and equitable levels of assistance to the needy, and to avoid duplication – and it is also important that the program be designed with the intensive involvement of the affected communities. Update Number 3 will report on progress.


From “The Impact of Israel’s Separation Barrier on Affected West Bank Communities”, Report of the Mission to the Humanitarian and Emergency Policy Group (HEPG) of the Local Aid Coordination Committee (LACC), April 30, 2003. (paragraphs numbered as in original)

The Process of Requisitioning Land for the Wall78

34. In order to obtain the land on which the Wall is being constructed in the West Bank,79 private property is requisitioned pursuant to military orders that are signed by the Military Commander of the West Bank based on military and security needs. These orders provide that the property will be requisitioned through December 31, 2005; however, the orders are renewable without limitation. During this period of time, the owners of the property remain the legal owners of the property and are entitled to request rental fees or compensation. The Interim Agreement signed in 1995 forbids either side from changing the status of land in the West Bank and Gaza until there is a final settlement. The Government of Israel does not consider the construction of settlements, roads, or the Wall as an infringement of the Interim Agreement.

35. Military orders are not issued pursuant to any current Israeli legislation – the orders themselves serve as the legal basis for the requisition. The orders become effective on the date signed and are valid even if they are not delivered to the property owners. In cases of urgent military operations, the IDF retains the right to requisition land prior to the issuance of a military order, which is then applied retroactively.80

36. Property owners have one week in which to file an objection to the requisition with the Legal Advisor of the Military Commander, for review by an IDF Appeals Committee. The documentation necessary to substantiate an objection depends on the type of property affected. Owners of “settled land” – property which has been registered and the boundaries demarcated – need merely to submit a copy of the deed to the property. Owners of property which is not “settled” must also include proof of ownership and a map demarcating the boundaries of the property. (Such owners are still legal owners of the property, and often are registered as owners for tax purposes. They only lack deeds, since in these cases the property has never been officially surveyed.)81

37. If an objection is filed within the one week deadline, construction will be halted until a decision on the objection is issued. If the objection is filed after the one week deadline, it will still be reviewed, but construction will not be halted in the meantime. Once an Appeals Committee’s recommendation is reviewed by the Military Commander, decisions on the objections are issued and signed by his Legal Advisor. If an objection is denied, the property owner can then appeal to the High Court. In cases where an objection has been denied but construction has not yet begun, the property owner can request the High Court for an injunction to halt construction until a final Court ruling is issued. The request for an injunction needs to be made on the grounds that the Wall’s construction will cause irreparable harm to the owner’s property.

38. These procedures are problematic in a number of ways. The manner of notifying land owners of a requisition appears arbitrary in practice, despite the requirement that the District Coordination Office (DCO) deliver the requisition order to the land owner whenever feasible. Orders are sometimes left on the property or given to village representatives (muhktars), and according to owners and human rights organizations are rarely delivered directly to property owners.82 The mission was informed that many land owners become aware of requisition orders only after construction has begun, at which point the deadline for filing an objection may have passed. Cases involving land requisitioned prior to issuance of retroactive military orders are particularly troublesome, as the property might become irreparably damaged before the owner is given a hearing. Filing appeals may also prove expensive, requiring the hiring of lawyers and in some cases land surveyors to draft a map to attach to the appeal. In addition, lawyers and surveyors are hampered by restrictions on freedom of movement within the West Bank, making it difficult to meet the one week deadline, especially since most lawyers and licensed surveyors are located within cities.

39. Under international law, a body responsible for reviewing an appeal should generally be independent and impartial. The military Appeals Committee, though, is a part of the entity (the IDF) issuing the orders to requisition the property,83 making the army both the issuing and the reviewing body. Rules of procedure and evidence have also been developed by the IDF, and the Appeals Committee is exempt from applying the rules of evidence applicable under Israeli law. On top of this, moreover, the Military Commander has the authority to reverse a recommendation by the Appeals Committee.

40. For a legal remedy to be credible, it needs to be effective in practice. In every case so far in which a land owner has filed an appeal against the requisitioning of land for the Wall, the appeal has been rejected by the military Appeals Committee, according to information from the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW).84 LAW estimates the number of rejected appeals to be in the hundreds. The only relief provided to date has been a reduction in some cases of the amount of land requisitioned. Interviews with land owners revealed that the IDF at times negotiates with owners who have filed appeals, and reduces the requisition.

41. According to LAW, the very few cases submitted to the Israeli High Court on appeal have all been rejected. The High Court has also rejected the vast majority of requests for injunctions against construction pending the Court’s final decision on an appeal – arguing that if the land owner’s appeal is entertained, construction will be stopped then and any structures removed.

42. In the cases submitted to the High Court land owners have asked for several kinds of relief. In most cases, the land owners have requested cancellation of the military orders, or a change in the location of the Wall/that it be constructed on property west of the Green Line. All requests for the cancellation of the military orders have been rejected. As for requests for changing the Wall’s location, the High Court has ruled that the Wall’s alignment is an issue best left to the judgment of the IDF.

43. Land owners have also asked the High Court for other kinds of relief should the military order be upheld. They have asked that the period of the requisition be shortened, that the amount of property to be requisitioned be reduced, that they be provided guarantees of free access to property not requisitioned but separated from their residence by the Wall, and/or that they be allowed time to remove certain objects, such as trees and greenhouses.

44. On every issue the High Court has ruled against the land owner. The High Court has found that the period of requisition is proportionate and reasonable given the situation, especially since the status of the property will be reviewed at the end of the initial three year period. The Court has deferred to the IDF regarding the amount of land to be requisitioned. Regarding access to separated property, representatives of the state have indicated that free access will be guaranteed via gates situated every fifteen kilometers along the security barrier. The High Court has accepted this response as a commitment on the part of the IDF, and has not indicated concern at the lack as yet of any mechanism to guarantee free passage through such gates. The High Court also ruled that requests for free access guarantees were premature since the Wall had not yet been built. The Court indicated that land owners can file a complaint if, after construction is complete, access to their property is impeded. The Court has also accepted an IDF commitment to allow land owners to remove valuable objects from requisitioned property. According to the IDF, construction companies have been asked to assist owners to remove and replant trees, with this obligation included in the tender process. Anecdotal evidence presented to the mission suggests that the implementation of this policy appears erratic and largely depends on the individual contractor.

45. The High Court’s acceptance of the IDF’s commitment to ensure access notwithstanding, property owners remain concerned over the status of property bordering the Wall. Many people complained to the mission of restricted access to their property, often as a result of intimidation by contractors undertaking the Wall’s construction. Since this adjacent property has not been requisitioned, however, it is not clear that any remedies are available. According to the IDF, land bordering the security barrier should remain fully accessible to property owners – although the army reserves the right to restrict access for military or security reasons. Landowners fear that denying them access to such lands might in time lead to a situation whereby said land could be expropriated through legislation that allows the confiscation of unused agricultural property”.85


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