New wall projections: Severe humanitarian consequences for more than 680,000 Palestinians in the West Bank

The Israeli Government approved a new plan revealing new information about the Wall’s planned route in the southern West Bank on 1 October 2003. It released the map of the new Wall’s planned route on 23 October. Currently, the completed wall consists of concrete walls, ditches, trenches, roads, razor wire and electronic fences and stretches for 180 km. The planned new Wall will be 687 km long. The Head of the Knesset Economics Committee estimates that it will cost $ 3.4 billion, that is, US$ 4.7 million per kilometre.

“Seam Zone Project”, map released by the Israeli Ministry of Defense on 8 October 2003. The purple lines show completed parts of the wall, the red lines show the planned parts of the wall and the green lines show existing roads (Map: higher resolution, Israel Ministry of Defense, The Seam Zone, 2003)

West Bank land affected

Approximately 210,000 acres - or 14.5 percent - of West Bank land (excluding East Jerusalem) will lie between the Wall and the Green Line, according to the latest Israeli Government projection of the West Bank Wall.

Palestinian population affected

This land, some of the most fertile in the West Bank, is currently the home for more than 274,000 Palestinians living in 122 villages and towns. These people will either live in closed areas - areas between the Wall and the Green Line - or in enclaves totally surrounded by the Wall.

More than 400,000 other Palestinians living to the east of the Wall will need to cross it to get to their farms, jobs and services. This means that approximately 680,000 - 30 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank - will be directly harmed by the Wall.

Wall length

Stretching a total of 680 kilometres (including Jerusalem), the new Wall will run from Jenin in the northern West Bank to the southern-most tip of Hebron in the south. Because of its meandering path into the West Bank, its length is more than twice the length of the entire Green Line. The finished Wall will be four times longer than what is now completed.

Departure from the Green Line

Only 11% of the Wall’s length runs along the 1949 Armistice Line or Green Line. For the rest, the Wall’s planned path cuts deep into the West Bank - up to 22 km - where it envelopes the Israeli settlement of Ariel.

Enclaves created

The Wall not only runs inside the Green Line but folds in on itself to create 12 separate enclaves - areas where people will be totally surrounded by the Wall.

Access to West Bank jobs and services

People who live in either enclaves or closed areas will have to pass through the Wall to get to markets, schools, hospitals and maintain family connections in the remaining areas of the West Bank. As yet, the Israeli Government plans contain no information on access gates through the Wall.

Israeli settler population affected

Also included in the area between the Wall and the Green Line will be 54 Israeli settlements containing approximately 142,000 Israeli settlers - 36 percent of the West Bank settlement population.

The majority of the Israeli settlers will live within the same zone of the Wall as the Palestinians for whom the Wall was designed to separate. However, unlike the Palestinians living in this ‘closed zone’ between the Wall and the Green Line, the Israelis will be able to legally cross into Israel.

Palestinians require permits to continue residing in the closed area

Given the latest Israeli policy on permits, Palestinians residing in this area face an uncertain future. On 2 October 2003, the Israeli Defence Forces issued a number of military orders requiring approximately 13,545 residents in the currently existing ‘closed zone’ in Jenin, Qalqiliya and Tulkarm districts between the completed Wall and the Green Line to apply for green-coloured permits to remain living in their homes. These permits are valid for up to six months.

These permits have turned a ‘right’ of Palestinians to live in their own homes into a privilege.

The Wall will further restrict farmers living outside this ‘closed zone’ from getting to their land within it. Medical staff, business people and international humanitarian organizations also have to apply for special permits. The military orders exempt Israeli citizens and internationals of Jewish descent from these requirements.

Humanitarian consequences

Little consideration appears to have been given by the Israeli Government to the Wall’s impact on Palestinian lives.

More people, unable to reach their land to harvest crops, graze animals or to reach work to earn the money to buy food, will be hungry. The damage caused by the destruction of land and property for the Wall’s construction is irreversible and undermines Palestinians’ ability to ever recover even if the political situation allows conditions to improve.

Residents risk being cut off from schools, universities and specialized medical care. The Wall fragments communities and isolates residents from vital social support networks.

If the military orders that restrict entry into the closed areas between the Green Line and the Wall are applied to the new parts of the Wall, then many thousands of Palestinians are likely to be forced from their homes and land.

MAP: Humanitarian impact of new wall projections (PDF)

Related Links:

  • Map: Humanitarian impact of new wall projections (PDF)
  • Stop the Wall Campaign
  • Seamzone, Website of Israeli Ministry of Defense explaining the purpose, route and construction of the wall.