Setting the route of the third stage of the separation barrier so that it passes east of the settlements of Ariel, Qedumim, Immanu’el, and Qarne Shomeron – in accordance with the proposal put forward by the Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister – proves once again that the defense establishment’s decisions regarding the barrier are based on unacceptable political considerations.
In March 2003, B’Tselem warned about the human rights violations that would result if the separation barrier was constructed along the planned route (see B’Tselem’s report Behind the Barrier, PDF). These fears have become reality as the construction of Stage 1 has progressed. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have difficulty reaching their workplaces and farmland, obtaining medical treatment, attending school, and maintaining reasonable living conditions.
According to the current proposal, the third stage of the barrier will be established in the heart of the West Bank – at one point 22 kilometers east of the Green Line (in an area where the entire width of the West Bank is 53 km). Such a route will lead to the violation of the rights of an additional eighty thousand Palestinians.
Israel has the right to take measures necessary to defend its citizens. However, the Minister of Defense and the Prime Minister are manipulating the public’s fear of suicide attacks in order to obtain political objectives under the guise of security and defense arguments.
B’Tselem demands that the Israeli government refrain from building the separation barrier within the territory of the West Bank.