Israel’s Confiscation Barrier through the Palestinian West Bank

Photos of the Separation Barrier.

Israel is currently in the process of building what it calls a ‘security fence’ through the Palestinian West Bank. In reality, it is a combination of concrete walls—twice the height of the Berlin Wall—and razor wire, surrounded by buffer zones up to 100 meters wide.

Image of barrier and surrounding ‘buffer zones.’
View the UK Guardian’s
Interactive barrier graphic.

While Israel claims that the wall is meant to make it more secure by keeping Palestinians out, it actually is serving to confiscate up to 50% of the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians in control of only 12% of historic Palestine. Moreover, the fact that the barrier leaves nearly 16% of West Bank Palestinians between the barrier and the Israel-West Bank border (‘the Green Line’), demonstrates that the result of this barrier will not be to keep Palestinians and Israelis apart, but rather to increase the already major humanitarian crisis faced by the Palestinians. In addition, the fact that the Israeli military has no plan to end its occupation of the fence-in portions suggests that this wall will in no way improve the security of the Palestinian people, who are more than 75% of the victims of violence.

map of separation barrier.
Map of the separation barrier as initially projected by Israel. (Click the image to enlarge.) Source: Stop the Wall

Palestinians caught in between the Green Line and Israel will not be incorporated into Israel or granted citizenship, giving rise to fears that the real purpose of this barrier is to annex Palestinian land to Israel, while making life for Palestinians so hard that they will be forced to flee. The trapped Palestinians will live in isolated communities or bantustans, at times walled off on all sides. (See The one-family Bantustan in Mas’ha one year into its residents’ demise.) This isolation from the consumers of their products and from their means of survival and sustenance—their agricultural land—is speeding the collapse of these already toppling economies.

Besides the many families and communities trapped in the ‘no-man’s land’ between the barrier and Israel, the barrier will also isolate the walled-in Palestinian communities from each other. At times the barrier will cut so deep into the West Bank that whole sections will be cut off from each other, creating cantons or enclaves, and, Palestinians fear, destroying any hope of a contiguous Palestinian state.

This barrier is a combination of a concrete wall in parts and layers of razor wire in others (source: PENGON and Stop the Wall):

  • The concrete wall, now present in Qalqiliya, parts of Tulkarem and East Jerusalem is 8 meters high—twice the height of the Berlin Wall—with armed watchtowers and a “buffer zone” 30-100 meters wide for electric fences, trenches, cameras, sensors, and military patrol.
  • In other places, the Wall consists of layers of razor wire, military patrol roads, sand paths to trace footprints, ditches, surveillance cameras and in the middle a three meter electric fence.
  • The Wall’s “buffer zone” paves the way for large-scale demolitions and the expulsion of nearby residents as in many places the Wall is located just meters away from homes, shops, and schools.
  • In addition to being located by the Wall, some communities in the “first phase” are further closed-off by an “Isolation Barrier”, ensuring they are surrounded on all sides.
  • The Israeli military has created “gates” in the Wall; however these do not provide any guarantee for farmers to access their land but instead strengthen Israel’s strangling system of permits and checkpoints where Palestinians are beaten, detained, shot at and humiliated.
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History of the Israel Lobby

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Information largely missing from U.S. news reports. Read the Blog

Videos & Multimedia

Amnesty International Video:
Dina Goor, Yesh Din

3/20/2004 demonstration in Karbatha, Palestine – activists shot

Watch International Court of Justice’s Hearings on Barrier

UK Guardian Interactive Graphic on Wall

View footage from 2/6/2004 demonstration at Georgetown University, USA

View footage from 12/26/2003 demonstration in Mas’ha, West Bank—Israeli activist, Gil Ne’amati, is shot

View footage from 11/9/2003 demonstration in Ramallah, West Bank

View footage from 11/9/2003 demonstration in Zbuba, West Bank

MORE footage from 11/9/2003 demonstration in Zbuba, West Bank

News Without Borders 8/24/2003 Presentation on Israel’s Wall

Related Articles

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Israel redraws the roadmap, building quietly and quickly

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Israeli government decision aims to strip Palestinians of their properties in East Jerusalem

Imprisoned in Israel

More Articles on the Wall

Additional Resources

Booklet – The Wall Must Fall

Documentary – The Israeli Wall in Palestinian Lands


International Court of Justice Ruling

Electronic Intifada on the Wall

Palestine Monitor on the Wall


Stop the Wall

International Humanitarian Groups Condemn the Barrier

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

World Council of Churches


International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative

Oxford Public Interest Lawyers

The National Lawyers Guild

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