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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
8 March 2005

occupied Palestinian territory

Preliminary Analysis of the Humanitarian Implications of February 2005
Barrier Projections1

On 20 February 2005, the Israeli cabinet approved a revised route of the West Bank Barrier and published a map on the Ministry of Defense’s website, ( The previous map was released on 30 June 2004.

In June 2002, the Government of Israel began construction of the Barrier following several suicide bombings and attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli citizens. It maintains that the Barrier is a temporary structure to physically separate the West Bank from Israel to prevent such attacks on Israeli citizens.

An analysis of the map of the new route includes six categories: completed, under construction, planned, special security area, route pending completion of detailed staff work and road protection.

Once completed, the total length of the new Barrier route will be 670 km long compared to 622 km of the previous route. This includes the sections around the Ma’ale Adumim settlement and Ari’el/Emmanuel settlement ‘fingers’ which are marked on the Ministry’s map as, “pending completion of detailed staff work”. Together these two areas total 108 km or 16% of the

As of February 2005, approximately 209 km of the Barrier has been completed. This section consists of a combination of ditches, trenches, roads, razor wire, electronic fences and concrete walls. The Head of the Knesset Economics
Committee estimated that the Barrier will cost $3.4 billion.

This report preliminarily analyzes the revised route and its humanitarian impact in these areas. A more extensive technical analysis is forthcoming towards the end of March 2005.

Analysis of Humanitarian Impact

West Bank land affected
1. If two of the sections “pending completion of detailed staff work”, Ma’ale Adumim and Ari’el/Emmanuel fingers are included, then approximately 142,640 acres2 or about 10.1% of West Bank land will lie between the Barrier and the Green Line, including East Jerusalem.

2. The previous route incorporated 174,360 acres or 12.7% of the West Bank including East Jerusalem. The 2.5% decrease in the new route in West Bank area located between the Green Line and the Barrier, is largely due to the shift of the Barrier back to lie on the Green Line in the South Hebron area.

3. A larger decrease in affected West Bank land would occur, if the sections pending completion of detailed staff work, Ma’ale Adumim and Ari’el/Emmanuel fingers were excluded. Then only 6.8% of West Bank land would be incorporated by the Barrier.

Palestinian population affected
4. The land between the Barrier and the Green Line constitutes some of the most fertile in the West Bank. It is currently the home for 49,400 Palestinians living in 38 villages and towns, excluding the communities in east Jerusalem.3

5. The previous route had approximately 93,200 Palestinians living between the Green Line and Barrier. The reduction in population is due to an easing of the closures in Qalqiliya (population 45,800). While the city remains encircled by the Barrier, the checkpoint at the entrance of Qalqiliya is not manned.

6. The Barrier will also affect those people living east of it who may need to cross it to get to their farms, jobs and services. More than 500,000 Palestinians, for example, live within a one kilometre strip of the Barrier including East Jerusalem.

Affect of the Planned Ma’ale Adumim Section
7. Cutting 14 km east across the most narrow section of the West Bank, the planned Ma’ale Adumim section will impede movement between the northern and southern areas of the West Bank, blocking the current roads used by Palestinians to travel between these areas.

8. For Palestinians residing in and around East Jerusalem, the addition of the Ma’ale Adumim section will increase existing movement restrictions created by the constructed parts of the Barrier. Approximately 230,000 Palestinians hold East Jerusalem residency permits. About one-quarter of these people are located on the West Bank side of the Barrier and will need to cross the Barrier to access services which they are entitled to inside Jerusalem.

Barrier length
9. Stretching a total of 670 kilometres (including East Jerusalem), the new Barrier route will run from the northern Jordan River in Eastern Tubas to the southern-most tip of the West Bank in the Hebron Governorate. Because of its meandering path into the West Bank, the Barrier’s length is approximately twice the length of the 1949 West Bank Armistice Line adjacent to Israel, known as the Green Line – 315 km. The length of the Barrier will be 129 kms less if the sections labeled “pending completion of detailed staff work” are removed.

Departure from the Green Line
10. 20% of the Barrier’s length runs along the Green Line. More of the Barrier is now planned to be on the Green Line primarily as a result of the shift of the southern route in Hebron towards the Green Line.

11. The Barrier’s planned path cuts into West Bank land in many places. In the planned Ari’el/Emmanuel finger, the Barrier cuts 22 km or 42% across the width of the West Bank. In the planned Ma’ale Adumim section, the Barrier route cuts into the West Bank 14 km or 45% of its width.

New Buffer Zone
12. In areas where the Barrier has been constructed, the IDF issued military orders in September 2004, creating “no-construction” zones, averaging up to 200 metres on the West Bank sides of the Barrier.

13. Other Changes to the New Route:
Access to West Bank jobs and services
14. Palestinians who live in “closed areas” are required to pass through gates in the Barrier to reach markets, schools, hospitals and maintain family connections in the remaining areas of the West Bank. Although Israel introduced some changes to the operation of the gates, access for Palestinians in these areas is restricted.

15. In February 2005, UN staff has observed 63 gates in the constructed Barrier. Of these 25 are accessible to Palestinians with the correct permit. The Israeli Government has not released information on which access gates will be opened through the planned routes of the Barrier. This is particularly significant in the Jerusalem area, where tens of thousands of Palestinians will be affected.

Israeli settler population affected
16. Also included in the area between the Barrier and the Green Line, will be 56 Israeli settlements containing approximately 170,123 Israeli settlers – an estimated 76% percent of the West Bank settlement population. This figure does not include the Israeli settler population in East Jerusalem.3

Palestinians require permits to continue residing in “closed areas”
17. Palestinians residing in “closed areas” between the Barrier and the Green Line face an uncertain future in terms of their personal and lands’ status. On 7 October 2003, the Israeli Defence Forces issued a number of military orders restricting access to land areas located between the Barrier and the Green Line in the Jenin, Qalqiliya and Tulkarm districts. Those orders require approximately 5,000 residents living in these “closed areas” to apply for permits to remain living in their homes. The permits are valid for up to a year for residents and are valid for only one gate. Use of other gates is also militarily regulated and allowed only in emergency cases.

18. The Barrier will further restrict farmers living outside this ‘closed area’ from reaching their land. Medical staff, business people and international humanitarian organizations also have to apply for special permits. According to the military orders, Israeli citizens, Israeli permanent residents and those eligible to immigrate to Israel in accordance with the Law of Return, are exempted from these requirements.

19. If the military orders that restrict entry into the “closed areas” between the Green Line and the Barrier are applied to the new parts of the Barrier, then many more thousands of Palestinians are likely to face difficulty continuing to live in their homes or access land.

Humanitarian consequences
20. As yet no publicly available studies have been conducted by the Israeli Government to measure the Barrier’s impact on Palestinian lives. However, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled on 30 June 2004 in the “Beit Surik” case, that the “rights, needs, and interests of the local population” must be considered in designing the route.

21. Where the Barrier has been constructed, Palestinians face economic hardship from being restricted from or not being able to reach their land to harvest crops, graze animals or earn a living. Residents have also been cut off from schools, universities and specialized medical care by the constructed Barrier.

22. The damage caused by the destruction of land and property for the Barrier’s construction will take many years to recover and hinder Palestinian development should a political situation allow this.

23. The Barrier also fragments communities and isolates residents from social support networks. Even where the Barrier route does not encircle an area as an enclave, its presence may still impact a community. For example, the Barrier route surrounds on three sides approximately 43,900 Palestinians residing in communities between At-Tira and Beit Sira northwest of Jerusalem.

1 All effort has been made to ensure that the figures are as accurate as possible. They are taken from an analysis of the map published on the IDF website. Minor changes may occur once a higher resolution image is obtained.
2 1 acre = 4 dunums = 0.4 hectares.
3 Palestinian community population figures based on the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) 1997 census, 2005 estimates, and the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, 2002.
4 The Israeli settlement population of East Jerusalem is 178,454. Israeli settlement population figures taken from the Research Department of the Knesset, 2003, and “Jerusalem on the Map”, International Peace and Cooperation Centre, Jerusalem 2003.

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