The separation barrier has not been moved in any of the sections that were built and later nullified by the Israeli high court. The human rights organization B’Tselem published this finding today, 9 July 2008, marking the fourth anniversary of the advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, which held that building the barrier in the West Bank breached international law.
The high court nullified three sections, on grounds that the harm to Palestinians was disproportionate, and ordered the state to move the fence. The state has not yet moved the barrier in any of these sections. The sections that were nullified are as follows: the barrier around the settlement Alfe Menashe, which the High Court nullified almost three years ago, on 15 September 2005; the section running on the land of the villages of ‘Azzun and Nebi Alias, nullified over two years ago, on 15 June 2006; and the section by Bil’in, nullified 10 months ago, on 6 September 2007 (the residents of Bil’in only recently received the army’s proposed changed route).
As of May 2008, 409 kilometers of the fence, 57 percent of the planned route, have been built, 66 kilometers (nine percent) are under construction, and construction on 248 kilometers (34 percent) has not yet begun. Upon completion of the barrier, 11.9 percent of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), will lie west of the barrier or be surrounded completely or partially by it. These areas are home to 498,000 Palestinians (222,500 in East Jerusalem) living in 92 towns and villages.
The barrier de facto annexes 60 settlements (including 12 in East Jerusalem), in which 381,000 Israelis live.
The State of Israel has the right and duty to protect its citizens and residents from terrorist attacks. However, if it wants to build a physical barrier between it and the West Bank, it must be built along the Green Line or inside its territory. The current route was not based on security considerations, but to perpetuate and expand the settlements. B’Tselem calls on the government to dismantle every section of the barrier that penetrates the West Bank, cancel the permits regime that is part of the barrier project, and compensate the Palestinians who were harmed as a result of the barrier’s construction.