Listen to the children on Israel’s Wall

Palestinian children playing near the Israeli separation wall at the West Bank village of Hizma on the edge of Jerusalem May 28, 2006. (MaanImages/Moamar Awad)


Two years after the International Court of Justice advised that Israel’s separation Wall should be taken down, two members of the international Save the Children alliance, UK and Sweden, working in the occupied Palestinian territory report that Palestinian children still fear the Wall and talk forcefully about its negative impacts on their lives.

The Israeli government began construction of the Wall five years ago. Built almost entirely on West Bank lands, the Wall is over twice as long as the 1967 border with Israel. Snaking around populated areas along the border, in two places the Wall encroaches nearly 22 kilometers into Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The Wall is in parts an eight-meter-high cement structure twice the height of the Berlin Wall: in other areas it is an electrified metal fence with trenches, patrol roads, razor wire and motion sensors on each side.

Palestinian children report to Save the Children that the Wall prevents them from going to school, from seeing family and friends, and from getting health care. They say they feel insecure and afraid of the Wall, and that their families are poorer and have lost their lands because of it.

In Nazlet Issa, a village in the northern part of the West Bank, children have been living with the effects of the Wall since 2002. The Wall was constructed in the middle of the village, separating families and neighbors, people from their work, and children from their schools.

14-year-old Basma says: “This Wall takes [away] our simple rights. There are many children who have these rights, but we don’t have the right to visit family or people outside the village, or go to parks or the zoo or to the pool. Our life starts to look like wishes…”.

Palestinian children call on the world to “remove this wall because it steals our freedom”. On the two-year-anniversary of the ICJ ruling, members of the Save the Children Alliance urge the Israeli government to heed the experience of Palestinian children, and to act on the advice of the ICJ to immediately stop construction of the Wall and dismantle the sections of the Wall already in existence.

Notes

[1] The International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion, published on 7 July 2004 stated that the Wall does violate International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: “The Barrier in its present route and projection and with the set of rules and regulations that govern its construction and operation, constitutes a severe violation of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Israel is therefore under an obligation to cease the construction of the Barrier in the Occupied Territories and to restitute property requisitioned for its construction (ICJ opinion p.3/59, 9 July 2004)”.

Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Israel’s Apartheid Wall
  • Save the Children