Israeli West Bank barrier

Israeli West Bank barrier

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Israeli West Bank barrier'
Start a new discussion about 'Israeli West Bank barrier'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier
Separation barrier
A separation barrier is a wall or fence constructed to limit the movement of people across a certain line or border, or to separate two populations. These structures vary in placement with regard to international borders and topography...

 (see "Names of the barrier") being constructed by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

. Upon completion, the barrier’s total length will be approximately 760 kilometres (472.2 mi) (twice the length of the 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line) between the West Bank and Israel). The barrier is a fence with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 metres (196.9 ft) wide exclusion area (90% of its length), and an 8 metres (26.2 ft) tall concrete wall (10% of its length). The barrier is built mainly in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and partly along the 1949 Armistice line
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

, or "Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

" between Israel and Palestinian West Bank. 12% of the West Bank area is on the Israel side of the barrier.

Supporters argue that the barrier is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism
Palestinian political violence
Palestinian political violence refers to acts of violence undertaken to further the Palestinian cause. These political objectives include self-determination in and sovereignty over Palestine, the liberation of Palestine and establishment of a Palestinian state, either in place of both Israel and...

, including the suicide bombing attacks that increased significantly during the Second Intifada. There has been a reduced number of incidents of suicide bombings since the construction of the barrier. According to statistics published by the Israeli government, between 2000 and July 2003, when the "first continuous segment" of the barrier was built, 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis and injuring over 1,900. However, from August 2003 and the end of 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445. Supporters argue that this is indicative of the barrier being effective in preventing such attacks.

Opponents of the barrier object that the route substantially deviates from the Green Line into the occupied territories captured by Israel in the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 of 1967. They argue that the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, violates international law, has the effect of undermining negotiations (by establishing new borders), and severely restricts Palestinians who live nearby, particularly their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel. In a 2004 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 considered that "Israel cannot rely on a
right of self-defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall". The Court found that "the construction of the wall, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law".

Some Jewish settlers condemn the barrier for appearing to renounce the Jewish claim to the whole of the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

.

Two similar barriers, the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier
Israeli Gaza Strip barrier
The Israel and Egypt − Gaza Strip barrier is a separation barrier first constructed by Israel in 1994 between the Gaza Strip and Israel. An addition to the barrier was finished in 2005 to separate the Gaza Strip and Egypt....

 and the Israeli-built 7-9 meter (23 – 30 ft) wall separating Gaza from Egypt
Egypt–Gaza barrier
The Egypt-Gaza barrier refers to the Philadelphi Route along Egypt's 12 km border with the Gaza Strip, and now also to an underground metal barrier Egypt is building, in an attempt to curb the use of smuggling tunnels. It will extend 35 metres below the surface...

 (temporarily breached
Breach of the Gaza-Egypt border (2008)
The breach of the Gaza-Egypt border began on January 23, 2008, after Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip set off an explosion near the Rafah Border Crossing, destroying part of the Israel and Egypt – Gaza Strip barrier. The United Nations estimates that as many as half the 1.5 million population of...

 on January 23, 2008), which is currently under Egyptian control, are also controversial.

Following Israel's success to suppress terrorist attacks inside Israel, and following the agreement (July through November 2007) between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 (PNA) in which more than 200 Palestinian militants wanted by Israel laid their arms and joined the PNA forces, the actual construction of the barrier has almost ceased.

Names of the barrier


Israelis most commonly refer to the barrier as the "separation (hafrada) fence" and "security fence" or "anti-terrorist fence", with "seam zone
Seam Zone
Seam Zone is a term used to refer to a land area in the West Bank located east of the Green Line and west of Israel's separation barrier, populated largely by Israelis in settlements such as Alfei Menashe, Ariel, Beit Arye, Modi'in Illit, Giv'at Ze'ev, Ma'ale Adumim, Beitar Illit and Efrat.As of...

" (קו התפר, Kav HaTefer) referring to the land between the fence and the 1949 armistice lines.

Palestinians most commonly refer to the barrier in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as , (racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 wall), and some opponents of the barrier refer to it in English as the "Apartheid Wall."

The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion on the barrier, wrote it had chosen to use the term "wall" "the other expressions sometimes employed are no more accurate if understood in the physical sense."

The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's style guide for journalists states "The BBC uses the terms barrier, separation barrier or West Bank barrier as acceptable generic descriptions to avoid the political connotations of "security fence" (preferred by the Israeli government) or "apartheid wall" (preferred by the Palestinians)."

History and stated purpose


The idea of creating a physical barrier between the Israeli and Palestinian populations was first proposed in 1992 by then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, following the murder of an Israeli teenage girl in Jerusalem. Rabin said that Israel must "take Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 out of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

", in order to minimize friction between the peoples. Following an outbreak of violent incidents in Gaza in October 1994, Rabin announced his stance that "we have to decide on separation as a philosophy. There has to be a clear border. Without demarcating the lines, whoever wants to swallow 1.8 million Arabs will just bring greater support for Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

."

The first section of the wall (as slabs of concrete contiguous for miles) that stood as a barrier was constructed during the Oslo accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 negotiations in 1994. The section follows the border
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 between Bat Hefer
Bat Hefer
Bat Hefer is an Israeli communal settlement in the Sharon plain, east of Netanya and adjacent to two kibbutzim; Bahan and Yad Hana. The Palestinian city of Tulkarm lies to the southeast. It is named after "Hefer", an administrative district in this area with a district chief in the time of King...

 and Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

 communities. Following an attack on HaSharon Junction
HaSharon Junction
The HaSharon Junction , commonly known as Beit Lid Junction , is an important road junction in the Sharon region of Israel. It intersects Highway 4 and Highway 57...

, near the city of Netanya
Netanya
Netanya is a city in the Northern Centre District of Israel, and is the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain. It is located north of Tel Aviv, and south of Haifa between the 'Poleg' stream and Wingate Institute in the south and the 'Avichail' stream in the north.Its of beaches have made the...

, Rabin made his goals more specific:

This path must lead to a separation, though not according to the borders prior to 1967. We want to reach a separation between us and them. We do not want a majority of the Jewish residents of the state of Israel, 98% of whom live within the borders of sovereign Israel, including a united Jerusalem, to be subject to terrorism.


In early 1995, the Shahal commission was established by Yitzhak Rabin to discuss how to implement a barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

, prior to the Camp David 2000 Summit
Camp David 2000 Summit
The Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David of July 2000 took place between United States President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat...

 with Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

, vowed to build a separation barrier, stating that it is "essential to the Palestinian nation in order to foster its national identity and independence without being dependent on the State of Israel".

Following a Palestinian violence outbreak in 2002, Israel began construction of a barrier that would separate most of the West Bank from areas inside Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court made reference to the conditions and history that led to the building of the barrier. In the September 2005 decision, it described the history of violence against Israeli citizens since the breakout of the Second Intifada and the loss of life that ensued on the Israeli side. The court ruling also cited the attempts Israel had made to defend its citizens, including "military operations" carried out against "terrorist acts", and stated that these actions...



...did not provide a sufficient answer to the immediate need to stop the severe acts of terrorism. . . . Despite all these measures, the terror did not come to an end. The attacks did not cease. Innocent people paid with both life and limb. This is the background behind the decision to construct the separation fence (Id., at p. 815)

Grassroots effort


In June 2001, a grass roots organization
Grassroots democracy
Grassroots democracy is a tendency towards designing political processes where as much decision-making authority as practical is shifted to the organization's lowest geographic level of organization: principle of subsidiarity....

 called "Fence for Life
Fence for Life
In June 2001 a non-partisan public and civilian Israeli movement called Fence for life began a struggle for the construction of a continuous security fence between the Palestinian population centers and the Israeli population...

 - The Public Movement for The Security Fence" began the grassroots effort for the construction of a continuous security fence. The movement was founded by people from all over Israel following the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing.

The stated goal of the movement is to encourage the government to construct a security fence along Israel's borders. "Fence for Life" urged the government to build a contiguous fence as speedily as possible, and without any connection to the political future of the areas it separates, with a goal of hermetically sealing off the Palestinian territories from Israeli population centers to prevent the terrorist acts by Palestinians against the people living in Israel.

The "Fence for Life" campaign emphasized that any security fence has no connection whatsoever to the political future of the settlements. The Movement for the Security Fence for Israel included protests, demonstrations, conferences with public figures, media blitzes, lobbying in the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 as well as legal battles in the High Court of Justice, both with demands to quickly build the security fence as well as appeals not to cause further delay in construction. The movement does not support any specific path for the barrier, as this is subject to a government decision. "Fence for Life" was of the opinion that "politicization" of the fence by various groups was delaying the completion of the security barrier and is likely to block its construction. At the end of 2002, due to government inaction, several localities who suffered the most from lack of a border barrier had started to build the barrier using their own funds directly on the green-line.

Government action


Although the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 was initially hesitant to construct the barrier, he finally embraced the plan. The stated purpose of the barrier is to prevent terrorists
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 from entering Israeli cities, a problem which has plagued Israel since the start of the Second Intifada. A secondary stated purpose of the barrier is to prevent infiltration by Palestinians for economic reasons. The Israeli government says that the high concrete portions are to protect cars and people on the Israeli side from gunfire.

According to Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

, Minister of Housing and Construction at the time:

When Israel's free society was defending itself against an unprecedented campaign of terror, most of the international community was calling for an end of the "cycle of violence" and a return to the negotiating table. When the Palestinian terrorists struck... Israel was condemned for imposing "collective punishment" on the Palestinian population. When Israel chose to target individual terrorists with precision air strikes, its actions were condemned as illegal extrajudicial assassinations. It seemed that in eyes of many, the Jews had a right to defend themselves in theory but could not exercise that right in practice... our government understood that there were three options to maintain an acceptable level of security for our citizens. The first was to wage a total war against Palestinian terror using weapons that would claim many innocent Palestinian lives. The second was to keep our reserves constantly mobilized to defend the country. The third option was to build the security fence. Had the Palestinian Authority become a partner in fighting terror, as it was obliged to do under all the agreements that it signed
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, none of these options would have become necessary.

Route and route timeline


The barrier sometimes runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

/Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

, but it diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 such as East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, Ariel
Ariel (city)
Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

, Gush Etzion
Gush Etzion
Gush Etzion is a cluster of Israeli settlements located in the Judaean Mountains directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, Palestinian territories. The core group includes four agricultural villages that were founded in 1940-1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, and ...

, Emmanuel
Immanuel (town)
Immanuel is an Israeli settlement and a town with local council status in the West Bank. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics ,...

, Karnei Shomron
Karnei Shomron
Karnei Shomron is an Israeli settlement and local council established in 1977 in the northwestern West Bank, east of Kfar Sava. It is north-east of Tel Aviv and north of Jerusalem. In 2006, the population of Karnei Shomron was 6,300...

, Givat Ze'ev, Oranit
Oranit
Oranit is an Israeli settlement and local council located off Highway 5 adjacent to Kafr Qasim, north of Rosh HaAyin on the western edge of the West Bank. On the Seam Zone, a sizable amount of the town's land is located within the Green Line...

, and Maale Adumim. Most of the barrier is actually set in the West Bank. It diverges from the "Green Line" by anywhere from 200 meters to as much as 20 kilometers, with the result that many Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s in the West Bank remain on the Israeli side of the barrier, and some Palestinian towns are nearly encircled by it. Approximately 20% is actually on the Green Line. The proponents of the barrier claim that its route is not set in stone, as it was challenged in court and changed several times. They note that the cease-fire line of 1949 was negotiated "without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines" (Art. VI.9). Security experts argue that the topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 does not permit putting the barrier along the Green Line in some places, because hills or tall buildings on the Palestinian side would make the barrier ineffective against terrorism. The International Court of Justice has countered that in such cases it is only legal to build the barrier inside Israel.

In November 2003, the barrier extended inside most of the northwestern and western edges of the West Bank, sometimes close to the Green Line, and sometimes running further east. In some places there are also secondary barriers, creating a number of completely enclosed enclaves.

In February 2004, the Israeli government said it would review the route of the barrier in response to US and Palestinian concerns. In particular, Israeli cabinet members said modifications would be made to reduce the number of checkpoints Palestinians had to cross, and especially to reduce Palestinian hardship in areas such as the city of Qalqilyah
Qalqilyah
-Bibliography: p. -External links:**...

 which the barrier completely surrounds.

On June 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 ruled that a portion of the barrier west of Jerusalem violated the rights of Palestinians, and ordered 30 km of existing and planned barrier to be rerouted. However, it did rule that the barrier is legal in essence and accepted the Israeli government's claim that it is a security measure. On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion that it is a violation of international law. At the beginning of September 2004, Israel started the southern part of the barrier.

On February 20, 2005, the Israeli cabinet approved a new route. The new route was 681 kilometers and would leave approximately seven percent of the West Bank and 10,000 Palestinians on the Israeli side. (Map) Before that time, the exact route of the barrier had not been finalized, and it had been alleged by opponents that the barrier route would encircle the Samarian highlands
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

 of the West Bank, separating them from the Jordan valley
Jordan Valley (Middle East)
The Jordan Valley forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to northern Dead Sea in the south. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, an area also known as Wadi...

.

Following a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

, the route was again revised by a cabinet decision on April 30, 2006. In the Ariel
Ariel (city)
Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

 area, the new route corrects an anomaly of the previous route that would have left thousands of Palestinians on the Israeli side. The Alfei Menashe
Alfei Menashe
Alfei Menashe is a Jewish Israeli settlement located in the seam zone on the western edge of the central West Bank. It was granted local council status in 1987. As of 2007, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics counts 6,200 residents...

 settlement bloc was reduced in size, and the new plan leaves three groups of Palestinian houses on the Palestinian side of the fence. The barrier's route in the Jerusalem area will leave Beit Iksa
Beit Iksa
Beit Iksa is a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem Governorate, located 6 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Beit Iksa, a village of 1,600 inhabitants, was classified as "Area B" as a result of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1995...

 on the Palestinian side; and Jaba
Jaba
Jaba may refer to:* "Jaba", Silvino João de Carvalho, Brazilian footballer* Jaba River* Jaba', former Palestinian village in the Karmel area* Jaba * Jaba', Town in the Jenin Governorate of the West Bank....

 on the Israeli side, but with a crossing to the Palestinian side at Tzurif. Further changes were made to the route around Eshkolot
Eshkolot
Eshkolot is a secular Israeli communal settlement in the southern Hebron Hills of the West Bank. It is located about five kilometers from Lahav, and falls within the jurisdiction of the Har Hebron Regional Council. In 2006, it had a population of 225...

 and Metzadot Yehuda, and the route from Metzadot to Har Choled was approved.

According to the current route, 8.5 percent of the West Bank territory and 27,520 Palestinians are on the "Israeli" side of the barrier. Another 3.4 percent of the area (with 247,800 inhabitants) is completely or partially surrounded by the barrier.

See also 1949 Cease-fire line vs. the permanent border.

Structure



Most of the barrier (over 95% of total length) consists of a "multi-layered fence system". The IDF's preferred design has three fences, with pyramid-shaped stacks of barbed wire for the two outer fences and a lighter-weight fence with intrusion detection equipment in the middle. Patrol roads are provided on both sides of the middle fence, an anti-vehicle ditch is located on the West Bank side of the fence, and a smooth dirt strip on the Israeli side for "intrusion tracking".

Some sections (less than 5% of total length) are constructed as a wall made up of concrete slabs up to 8 m in height and 3 m in width. Occasionally, due to topographic conditions other sections of the barrier will reach up to 100 m in width. Wall construction (5%) is more common in urban settings, such as areas near Qalqilyah
Qalqilyah
-Bibliography: p. -External links:**...

 and Jerusalem, because it is narrower, requires less land, and provides more protection against snipers. In all cases there are regular observation posts, automated sensing devices and other apparatuses. Gates at various points are controlled by Israeli soldiers.

Effects on Israeli security


Israeli statistics indicate that since the construction of the barrier the number of Palestinian infiltrations and suicide bombings and other attacks on civilians in Israel and in Israeli settlements has substantially reduced, and Israeli officials assert that completion of the barrier will make it even more effective in stopping these attacks since "An absolute halt in terrorist activities has been noticed in the West Bank areas where the fence has been constructed". Israel's state comptroller, however, notes that most of the suicide bombers crossed into Israel through existing checkpoints.

Israeli officers (including the head of the Shin Bet) quoted in the newspaper Maariv
Maariv
Maariv is a Hebrew language daily newspaper published in Israel. It is second in sales after Yedioth Ahronoth and third in readership after Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel HaYom. In a TGI survey comparing the last half of 2009 with the same period in 2008, Maariv saw its market share fall slightly...

 have said that in the areas where the barrier was complete, the number of hostile infiltrations has decreased to almost zero. Maariv also stated that Palestinian militants, including a senior member of Islamic Jihad
Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

, had confirmed that the barrier made it much harder to conduct attacks inside Israel. Since the completion of the fence in the area of Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

 and Qalqilyah
Qalqilyah
-Bibliography: p. -External links:**...

 in June 2003, there have been no successful attacks from those areas. All attacks were intercepted or the suicide bombers detonated prematurely. In a March 23, 2008 interview, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah complained to the Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

i newspaper Al-Sharq that the separation barrier "limits the ability of the resistance to arrive deep within [Israeli territory] to carry out suicide bombing attacks, but the resistance has not surrendered or become helpless, and is looking for other ways to cope with the requirements of every stage" of the intifada.

There is general agreement that since the barrier has been built, Israeli security has improved with regard to suicide bombings. According to statistics published by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel)
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the most important ministries in the Israeli government. The ministry's role is to implement Israel's foreign policy, and promote economic, cultural, and scientific relations with other countries....

 and the Israel Security Agency, from the beginning of the Second Intifada until the construction of the "first continuous segment" of the barrier in July 2003, 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis and injuring over 1,900. However, between August 2003 and the end of 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out based in the West Bank, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445. The trend continued into 2007, and 2008 as well. The number of fatalities due to terror attacks have continued to exhibit a steady decline since 2002, from 452 in 2002 to 9 in 2010.

However, there is debate over how effective the barrier has been in preventing other attacks. A report by the Shin Beit, published in early 2006 notes that attacks in 2005 have significantly decreased due to increased pursuing of Palestinian militants by the Israeli army and intelligence organizations, Hamas's increased political activity, and a truce among Palestinian militant groups in the Palestinian Territories. According to Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 the report also mentions that "The security fence is no longer mentioned as the major factor in preventing suicide bombings, mainly because the terrorists have found ways to bypass it." Former Israeli Secretary of Defence Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens
Moshe Arens is an Israeli aeronautical engineer, researcher and former diplomat and politician. A member of the Knesset between 1973 and 1992 and again from 1999 until 2003, he served as Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Arens has also served as the Israeli...

 claims that the reduction in Palestinian violence is largely due to the IDF's entry into the West Bank in 2002.

Effects on demography and asset values


According to a 2005 report published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the barrier being built around Jerusalem may have unintended effects on the city. According to the study, many Jerusalem Palestinians who were living in areas outside the barrier are now moving back into the city, creating housing shortages, increased real estate prices, and the phenomena of Palestinians moving into traditionally Jewish neighborhoods of the city.

Arguments from right wing Israeli circles that the fence will reduce the Jewish population behind it have been countered from the same circles, arguing that attempts to keep Jews out of the land they believe is theirs are no more likely to succeed today than they were in Mandate Palestine, when the British blockaded the shores and issued the White Paper of 1939
White Paper of 1939
The White Paper of 1939, also known as the MacDonald White Paper after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Colonial Secretary who presided over it, was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in which the idea of partitioning the Mandate for Palestine, as recommended in...

 to prevent Jews from purchasing land in the Mandate.

Effects on Palestinians



The barrier has many effects on Palestinians including reduced freedoms, reduction of the amount of Israel Defense Forces checkpoint
Israel Defense Forces checkpoint
A Israel Defense Forces checkpoint, usually called an Israeli checkpoint , is a barrier erected by the Israel Defense Forces with the stated aim of enhancing the security of Israel and Israeli settlements and preventing those who wish to do harm from crossing...

s, road closures, loss of land, increased difficulty in accessing medical and educational services in Israel, restricted access to water sources, and economic effects.

Reduced freedoms


In a 2005 report, the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 stated that:
An often-quoted example of the effects of the barrier is the Palestinian town of Qalqilyah, a city of around 45,000, which is surrounded on all sides by the barrier. One 8 meter-high concrete section of this wall follows the Green Line between the city and the nearby Trans-Israel Highway. This section, referred to as an "anti-sniper wall," has been claimed to prevent gun attacks against Israeli motorists on the Trans-Israel Highway. The city is accessible through a military checkpoint on the main road from the east, and an underground tunnel built in September 2004 on the south side connects Qalqilyah with the adjacent village of Habla. Recently, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government to change the route of the barrier in this area to ease movement of Palestinians between Qalqilyah and five surrounding villages. In the same ruling, the court rejected the arguments that the fence must be built only on the Green Line. The ruling cited the topography of the terrain, security considerations, and sections 43 and 52 of The Hague Regulations 1907 and Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

 as reasons for this rejection.

In early October 2003, the IDF OC Central Command
Israeli Central Command
The Israeli Central Command , often abbreviated to Pakmaz , is a regional command of the Israel Defense Forces. It is responsible for the units and brigades located in the West Bank , Jerusalem, the Sharon, Gush Dan, and the Shephelah.The commander of the central command is the one who is...

 declared the area between the separation barrier in the northern section of the West Bank (Stage 1) and the Green Line a closed military area for an indefinite period of time. New directives stated that every Palestinian over the age of twelve living in the enclaves created in the closed area have to obtain a “permanent resident permit” from the Civil Administration to enable them to continue to live in their homes. Other residents of the West Bank have to obtain special permits to enter the area.

Fewer checkpoints and roadblocks


In June 2004, The Washington Times
The Washington Times
The Washington Times is a daily broadsheet newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. It was founded in 1982 by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, and until 2010 was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with the...

 reported that the reduced Israeli military incursions in Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

 have prompted efforts to rebuild damaged streets and buildings and a gradual return to a semblance of normality, and in a letter dated October 25, 2004, from the Israeli mission to Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

, Israel's government pointed out that a number of restrictions east of the barrier have been lifted as a result of it, including a reduction in checkpoints from 71 to 47 and roadblocks from 197 to 111. The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post is an Israeli daily English-language broadsheet newspaper, founded on December 1, 1932 by Gershon Agron as The Palestine Post. The daily readership numbers do not approach those of the major Hebrew newspapers....

 reports that, for some Palestinians who are Israeli citizens living in the Israeli Arab town of Umm el-Fahm (population 42,000) near Jenin, the barrier has "significantly improved their lives" because, on one hand, it prevents would-be thieves or terrorists from coming to their town and, on the other hand, has increased the flow of customers from other parts of Israel who would normally have patronised Palestinian business in the West Bank, resulting in an economic boom. The report states that the downsides are that the barrier has divided families in half and "damaged Israeli Arabs' solidarity with the Palestinians living on the other side of the Green Line".

A UN report released in August 2005 observed that the existence of the barrier "replaced the need for closures: movement within the northern West Bank, for example, is less restrictive where the Barrier has been constructed. Physical obstacles have also been removed in Ramallah and Jerusalem governorates where the Barrier is under construction." The report notes that more freedom of movement in rural areas may ease Palestinian access to hospitals and schools, but also notes that restrictions on movement between urban population centers have not significantly changed.

Loss of land


Parts of the barrier are built on land seized from Palestinians. In a 2009 report, the UN noted that the most recent barrier route allocates more segments to be built on the Green Line itself compared to previous draft routes of the barrier. However, in its current route the barrier is annexing 9.5% of the total area of the West Bank to the Israeli side of the barrier.

In early 2003, 63 shops straddling the Green Line
Green Line
- Geographic demarcations :* Green Line, a name for the Gothic Line or "Linea Gotica", a German defensive line in Italy during World War II, renamed the "Green Line" in June 1944...

 were demolished by the IDF during construction of the wall in the village of Nazlat Issa. In August 2003, an additional 115 shops and stalls (an important source of income for several communities) and five to seven homes there were also demolished.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), 15 communities were to be directly affected, numbering approximately 138,593 Palestinians, including 13,450 refugee families, or 67,250 individuals. In addition to loss of land, in the city of Qalqilyah one-third of the city's water wells lie on the other side of the barrier. The Israeli Supreme Court notes the Israeli government's rejection of accusations of a de facto annexation of these wells, stating that "the construction of the fence does not affect the implementation of the water agreements determined in the (interim) agreement".

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia , headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, is one of the five regional commissions under the administrative direction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. UN-ESCWA promotes economic and social development of Western Asia...

 (ESCWA) estimates that in the north of the West Bank approximately 80 per cent of Palestinians who own land on the other side of the barrier have not received permits from the Israeli authorities, and hence cannot cultivate their fields.

Health and medical services


Médecins du Monde
Médecins du Monde
Médecins du Monde or Doctors of the World, is a non-governmental humanitarian aid organisation created in March 1980 by 15 French doctors, including Bernard Kouchner after he had left Médecins Sans Frontières , the aid society which he had co-founded earlier in 1971...

, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human...

 and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights was founded in 1986 by a small group of doctors who believed the unique scientific expertise and authority of health professionals could bring human rights violations to light and provide justice for victims...

 have stated that the barrier "harms West Bank health". Upon completion of the construction, the organizations predict, the barrier would prevent over 130,000 Palestinian children from being immunised, and deny more than 100,000 pregnant women (out of which 17,640 are high risk pregnancies) access to healthcare in Israel. In addition, almost a third of West Bank villages will suffer from lack of access to healthcare. After completion, many residents may lose complete access to emergency care at night. In towns near Jerusalem (Abu Dis
Abu Dis
Abu Dis is a Palestinian town in the Jerusalem Governorate, bordering Jerusalem. Abu Dis is due east of the Jerusalem municipal border. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics , the town had a population of approximately 12,100 in mid-year 2006.-Ottoman era:Abu Dis was one of the...

 and al-Eizariya
Al-Eizariya
Al-Eizariya or al-Izzariya , sometimes referred to by its medieval name of Bethany, is a city in the West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, it is the second largest Palestinian city in the Jerusalem Governorate , with a population of 17,606 inhabitants.Located on the...

), for example, average time for an ambulance to travel to the nearest hospital has increased from 10 minutes to over 110 minutes. A report from Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights was founded in 1986 by a small group of doctors who believed the unique scientific expertise and authority of health professionals could bring human rights violations to light and provide justice for victims...

-Israel states that the barrier imposes "almost-total separation" on the hospitals from the population they are supposed to serve. The report also noted that patients from the West Bank visiting Jerusalem's Palestinian clinics declined by half from 2002 to 2003.

Change in tactics and strategy


Members of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is a coalition of Palestinian nationalist militias in the West Bank. The group's name refers to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem...

, Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

 have been less able to conduct attacks in Israel, the numbers of which have decreased in areas where the barrier has been completed. Daniel Ayalon
Daniel Ayalon
Daniel "Danny" Ayalon is an Israeli politician who currently serves as Deputy Foreign Minister and as a member of the Knesset for Yisrael Beiteinu...

, Israel's ambassador to the United States, suggested that reduced ability to conduct attacks would "save the political process" because the barrier would neutralize the ability of militant groups "to hold that process hostage" by conducting these acts.

In his November 2006 interview with Al-Manar TV, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Salah
Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah
Ramadan Shallah is a Palestinian academic and one of the founders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad . He became the Secretary-General of PIJ when Fathi Shaqaqi was killed in 1995...

 said that the barrier is an important obstacle, and that "if it weren’t there, the situation would be entirely different."


Economic changes



Real GDP
Real GDP
Real Gross Domestic Product is a macroeconomic measure of the value of output economy adjusted for price changes . The adjustment transforms the money-value measure, called nominal GDP, into an index for quantity of total output...

 growth in the West Bank increased modestly in 2003, 2004, and 2005 after declining in 2000, 2001, and 2002 (see Figure 1).

According to the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) and other sources, much of Qalqilyah's farmland now lie outside the barrier, and farmers require permits from Israeli authorities to access their lands that are on the opposite side. In the town of Jayyus, in the district of Qalqilya there are three gates in the barrier for the purpose of admitting farmers with permits to their fields that are open three times a day for a total of 50 minutes, although according to the NAD they have often been arbitrarily closed for extended periods leading to loss of crops, and one of these gates has been closed since August 2004 due to a suicide attack that took place near the gate. The Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem
B'Tselem
B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

 notes that "thousands of Palestinians have difficulty going to their fields and marketing their produce in other areas of the West Bank. Farming is a primary source of income in the Palestinian communities situated along the Barrier's route, an area that constitutes one of the most fertile areas in the West Bank. The harm to the farming sector is liable to have drastic economic effects on the residents – whose economic situation is already very difficult – and drive many families into poverty."

United Nations and International Court of Justice


In 2004, the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 passed a number of resolutions and the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion
Advisory opinion
An advisory opinion is an opinion issued by a court that does not have the effect of adjudicating a specific legal case, but merely advises on the constitutionality or interpretation of a law. Some countries have procedures by which the executive or legislative branches may certify important...

 calling for the barrier to be removed, for Arab residents to be compensated for any damage done, and for other states to take action to obtain Israel's compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Court found both the wall and the associated regime that had been imposed on the Palestinian inhabitants is illegal, and said that an occupying power cannot claim that the lawful inhabitants of the occupied territory constitute a "foreign" threat for the purposes of Article 51 of the UN Charter. It also explained that necessity may constitute a circumstance precluding wrongfulness under certain very limited circumstances, but that Article 25 of the UN Declaration on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts bars a defense of necessity if the State has contributed to the situation of necessity. The Court cited illegal interference by the government of Israel with the Palestinian's national right to self-determination; and land confiscations, house demolitions, the creation of enclaves, and restrictions on movement and access to water, food, education, health care, work, and an adequate standard of living in violation of Israel's obligations under international law. The Court also noted that Israeli settlements had been established and that Palestinians had been displaced in violation of Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The UN Fact Finding Mission and several UN Rapporteurs subsequently noted that in the movement and access policy there has been a violation of the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of race or national origin.

Security Council Resolution 1544
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1544
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1544, adopted on May 19, 2004, after recalling resolutions 242 , 338 , 446 , 1322 , 1397 , 1402 , 1403 , 1405 , 1435 and 1515 , the Council called on Israel to cease demolishing Palestinian homes.The United States abstained from the vote on Resolution...

 (2004) reiterated the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

, and called on Israel to address its security needs within the boundaries of international law. The United Nations remains sidelined in the conflict.

Israel submitted a 246 page written statement containing the views of the Government of Israel on Jurisdiction and Propriety to the Court, but chose not make any oral statements.

Israeli Supreme Court rulings


On two occasions the Israeli government has been instructed by the Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 to alter the route of the barrier to ensure that negative impacts on Palestinians would be minimized and proportional.

The United Nations


In October 2003, a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 resolution to declare the barrier illegal where it deviates from the green line and should be torn down was vetoed by the US in the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

. In December 2003, resolution ES-10/14 was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 in an emergency special session. 90 states voted for, 8 against, 74 abstained. The resolution included a request to the International Court of Justice to urgently render an advisory opinion on the following question.
"What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?"
The court concluded that the barrier violated international law. On 20 July 2004, the UN General Assembly accepted another resolution condemning the barrier with 150 countries voting for the resolution and 10 abstaining. 6 countries voted against: Israel, the US, Australia, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 and Palau
Palau
Palau , officially the Republic of Palau , is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Tokyo. In 1978, after three decades as being part of the United Nations trusteeship, Palau chose independence instead of becoming part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a...

. The US and Israel rejected both the verdict and the resolution. All 25 members of the European Union voted in favour of the resolution after it was amended to include calls for Israelis and Palestinians to meet their obligations under the "roadmap" peace plan.

The Red Cross


The Red Cross has declared the barrier in violation of the Geneva Convention. On February 18, 2004, The International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 stated that the Israeli barrier "causes serious humanitarian and legal problems" and goes "far beyond what is permissible for an occupying power".

Human rights organizations


Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 and other Human rights groups have protested both the routing of the wall and the means by which the land to build the wall was obtained. In a 2004 report Amnesty International wrote that "The fence/wall, in its present configuration, violates Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law."

They continue:

Since the summer of 2002 the Israeli army has been destroying large areas of Palestinian agricultural land, as well as other properties, to make way for a fence/wall which it is building in the West Bank.

In addition to the large areas of particularly fertile Palestinian farmland that have been destroyed, other larger areas have been cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the fence/wall.

The fence/wall is not being built between Israel and the Occupied Territories but mostly (close to 90%) inside the West Bank, turning Palestinian towns and villages into isolated enclaves, cutting off communities and families from each other, separating farmers from their land and Palestinians from their places of work, education and health care facilities and other essential services. This in order to facilitate passage between Israel and more than 50 illegal Israeli settlements located in the West Bank.

World Council of Churches


On February 20, 2004 the World Council of Churches
World Council of Churches
The World Council of Churches is a worldwide fellowship of 349 global, regional and sub-regional, national and local churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. It is a Christian ecumenical organization that is based in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland...

 demanded that Israel halt and reverse construction on the barrier and strongly condemned "violations of human rights and humanitarian consequences" that resulted from the construction of the barrier. While acknowledging Israel's serious security concerns and asserting that the construction of the barrier on its own territory would not have been a violation of international law, the statement called on "member Churches, Ecumenical Councils of Churches, Christian World Communions and specialized ministries of churches to condemn the wall as an act of unlawful annexation."

United States opinion


On July 25, 2003, then-President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 said "I think the wall is a problem. And I discussed this with Ariel Sharon. It is very difficult to develop confidence between the Palestinians and Israel with a wall snaking through the West Bank." The following year, addressing the issue of the barrier as a future border, he said in a letter to Sharon on April 14, 2004 that it "should be a security rather than political barrier, should be temporary rather than permanent and therefore not prejudice any final status issues including final borders, and its route should take into account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in terrorist activities." President Bush reiterated this position during a May 26, 2005 joint press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 in the Rose Garden
White House Rose Garden
The White House Rose Garden is a garden bordering the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House. The garden is approximately 125 feet long and 60 feet wide...

.

In 2003, when the Bush administration was considering reducing loan guarantees to Israel to discourage construction of the fence, then Secretary of State Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

 criticized the project. He said, "A nation is within its rights to put up a fence if it sees the need for one. However, in the case of the Israeli fence, we are concerned when the fence crosses over onto the land of others." Response from pro-Israel members of Congress criticized the possible reduction in loan assistance. For example, Senator Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said, "The administration's threat to cut aid to Israel unless it stops construction of a security fence is a heavy-handed tactic." Lieberman criticized the threat as improper between allies, and continued, "The Israeli people have the right to defend themselves from terrorism, and a security fence may be necessary to achieve this."

In 2005, Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

, at the time a U.S. Senator from New York, said she supports the separation fence Israel is building along the edges of the West Bank, and that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism. "This is not against the Palestinian people," she said during a tour of a section of the barrier being built around Jerusalem. "This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism."

European Union opinion


According to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the EU considers the barrier to be illegal to the extent it is built on Palestinian land.

Canadian opinion


The Canadian Government recognizes Israel's right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including through the restriction of access to its territory, and by building a barrier on its own territory for security purposes. However, it opposes the barrier's incursion into and the disruption of occupied territories. Considering the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) to be "occupied territory", the Canadian government considers the barrier to be contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. It opposes the barrier and the expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure preceding its construction.

Israeli opinions


Israeli public opinion has been very strongly in favor of the barrier, partly in the hope that it will improve security and partly in the belief that the barrier marks the eventual border of a Palestinian state
Proposals for a Palestinian state
Proposals for a Palestinian state currently refers to the proposed establishment of an independent state for the Palestinian people in Palestine on land that was occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967 and before by Egypt and by Jordan since 1949...

. Due to the latter possibility, the settler movement opposes the barrier, although this opposition has waned since it became clear the barrier would be diverted to the east of major Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s such as Ariel
Ariel (city)
Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

. According to Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

, a survey conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research
Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research
Tami Steinmetz Center For Peace Research is an academic research institution of Tel Aviv University which surveys public opinion regarding the peace process, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Arab-Israeli conflict....

, Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

, there is an overwhelming support for the barrier among the Jewish population of Israel: 84% in March 2004 and 78% in June 2004.

However, there are some Israelis who oppose the barrier. The Israeli Peace Now movement has stated that while they would support a barrier that follows the 1949 Armistice lines
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

, the "current route of the fence is intended to destroy all chances of a future peace settlement with the Palestinians and to annex as much land as possible from the West Bank" and that the barrier would "only increase the blood to be spilt on both sides and continue the sacrificing of Israeli and Palestinian lives for the settlements."

Additionally, many Israelis living in West Bank settlements situated beyond the fence, oppose the fence because it separates them from the rest of Israel. They argue that building the fence defines a border, and that they are being left out. According to many settlers, all of the West Bank belongs to Israel, and separating any of it with a fence is the first step in giving the land away.

Some Israeli left wing activists, such as Anarchists Against the Wall
Anarchists Against the Wall
Anarchists Against the Wall , sometimes called "Anarchists Against Fences" or "Jews Against Ghettos", is a direct action group composed of Israeli anarchists and anti-authoritarians who oppose the construction of the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier and Israeli West Bank barrier. The AAtW calls the West...

 and Gush Shalom
Gush Shalom
Gush Shalom is an Israeli peace activism group founded and led by former Irgun and Knesset Member and journalist, Uri Avnery, in 1993...

 are active in protests against the barrier, especially in the West Bank towns of Bil'in
Bil'in
Bil'in is a Palestinian village located in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, west of the city of Ramallah in the central West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Bil'in has a population of 1,800, mostly Muslims.-History:...

 and Jayyous
Jayyous
Jayyous is a Palestinian village near the west border of the West Bank, close to Qalqilya. It is a farming community. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the village had a population of approximately 3,307 inhabitants in 2006....

.

Shaul Arieli, a senior member of the Council for Peace and Security and one of the architects of the Geneva Initiative wrote in Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 in March 2009 of the importance "to complete the fence along a route based on security considerations." Arieli found the fence to be justified due to legitimate concerns of Palestinian terrorism and violence, but was critical of the then-government's alleged negligence of completing the fence due to budgetary and political considerations. He called on the public to "demand that the new government complete the fence quickly and along a logical route."

Palestinian opinions


The Palestinian population and its leadership are essentially unanimous in opposing the barrier. A significant number of Palestinians have been separated from their own farmlands or their places of work or study, and many more will be separated as the barriers near Jerusalem are completed. Furthermore, because of its planned route as published by the Israeli government, the barrier is perceived as a plan to confine the Palestinian population to specific areas. They state that Palestinian institutions in Abu Dis
Abu Dis
Abu Dis is a Palestinian town in the Jerusalem Governorate, bordering Jerusalem. Abu Dis is due east of the Jerusalem municipal border. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics , the town had a population of approximately 12,100 in mid-year 2006.-Ottoman era:Abu Dis was one of the...

 will be prevented from providing services to residents in the East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 suburbs, and that a 10-minute walk has become a 3-hour drive in order to reach a gate, to go (if allowed) through a crowded military checkpoint, and drive back to the destination on the other side.

More broadly, Palestinian spokespersons, supported by many in the Israeli left wing and other organizations, claim that the hardships imposed by the barrier will breed further discontent amongst the affected population and add to the security problem rather than solving it.

On April 14, 2004, American President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 said "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution
Two-state solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007...

 have reached the same conclusion.” In direct reaction to Bush's comments, the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 accused the U.S. of rewarding construction of the barrier and replied, "[t]he US assurances are being made at the expense of the Palestinian people and the Arab world without the knowledge of the legitimate Palestinian leadership. They are rewarding illegal occupation, settlement and the apartheid wall."

Artists



The wall has been used as a canvas for many paintings and writings. It has been called "the largest protest banner in the world". Some of these (but not all) have been removed by the Israelis, and sometimes by people on the Palestinian side. The British photojournalist William Parry
William Parry (photojournalist)
William Parry is a British photojournalist who has recently published a book about the Israeli West Bank barrier, entitled Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine...

 has recently published a book entitled "Against the Wall" http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=parry+against+wall

Graffiti
Graffiti
Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property....

 on the Palestinian side of the wall has been one of many forms of protest against its existence, demanding an end to the barrier, or criticizing its builders and its existence ('Welcome to the Ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

-Abu Dis'). In August 2005, the U.K. graffiti artist Banksy
Banksy
Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter.His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine irreverent dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctive stencilling technique...

 painted nine images on the Palestinian side of the barrier. He describes the barrier as "the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers", and returned in December 2007 with new images for "Santa's ghetto" in Bethlehem. The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

 headlined the graffiti project "Let Us Spray". On June 21, 2006, Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

's Roger Waters
Roger Waters
George Roger Waters is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. He was a founding member of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, serving as bassist and co-lead vocalist. Following the departure of bandmate Syd Barrett in 1968, Waters became the band's lyricist, principal songwriter...

 wrote "Tear down the wall" on the wall, a phrase from the Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

 album The Wall
The Wall
The Wall is the eleventh studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. Released as a double album on 30 November 1979, it was subsequently performed live with elaborate theatrical effects, and adapted into a feature film, Pink Floyd—The Wall.As with the band's previous three...

.

Border opinions


Some speculate that because sections of the barrier are not built along the Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 but in the West Bank, the real purpose is to acquire territory. Some people describe the barrier as the de facto future border of the State of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. James Zogby
James Zogby
James J. Zogby is the author of Arab Voices and the founder and president of the Arab American Institute , a Washington, D.C.–based organization which serves as a political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. He is a senior analyst with his brother's polling firm, Zogby...

, president of the Arab American Institute
Arab American Institute
Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute is a non-profit membership organization based in Washington D.C. that focuses on the issues and interests of Arab-Americans nationwide. James Zogby, brother of pollster John Zogby, is founder and president of the AAI....

, has said that the barrier has "unilaterally helped to demarcate the route for future Israeli control over huge West Bank settlement blocks and large swathes of West Bank land". According to B'Tselem
B'Tselem
B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

, "the overall features of the separation barrier and the considerations that led to determination of the route give the impression that Israel is relying on security arguments to unilaterally establish facts on the ground ..." Chris McGreal in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 writes that the barrier is, "evidently intended to redraw Israel's borders". Some have speculated that the barrier will prejudice the outcome of border negotiations in favor of the Israelis. Yossi Klein Halevi
Yossi Klein Halevi
Yossi Klein Halevi is an Israeli author and journalist.-Biography:Halevi was born and raised in New York in a Jewish family. He completed a BA in Jewish Studies in Brooklyn College in 1978, and completed his MA in Journalism at Northwestern University...

, Israeli correspondent for The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

, writes that "[b]uilding over the green line, by contrast, reminds Palestinians that every time they've rejected compromise—whether in 1937
Peel Commission
The Peel Commission of 1936-1937, formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission, was a British Royal Commission of Inquiry set out to propose changes to the British Mandate of Palestine following the outbreak of the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine...

, 1947
1947 UN Partition Plan
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was created by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United...

, or 2000
Camp David 2000 Summit
The Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David of July 2000 took place between United States President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat...

—the potential map of Palestine shrinks... The fence is a warning: If Palestinians don't stop terrorism and forfeit their dream of destroying Israel, Israel may impose its own map on them... and, because Palestine isn't being restored but invented, its borders are negotiable."

On March 9, 2006, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 quoted then-acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 as stating that if his Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

 party wins the upcoming national elections, he would seek to set Israel's permanent borders by 2010, and that the boundary would run along or close to the barrier.

"Apartheid" opinions



Some opponents of the barrier claim that building and maintaining the wall is a crime of apartheid
Crime of apartheid
The crime of apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other...

, isolating Palestinian communities in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and consolidating the annexation of Palestinian land by Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s. However, others consider this analogy the product of antisemitism.

Comparison with the Saudi-Yemen barrier



In February 2004 The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 reported that Yemeni opposition newspapers likened the barrier
Saudi-Yemen barrier
The Saudi–Yemen barrier is a physical barrier constructed by Saudi Arabia along part of its border with Yemen. It consists of a network of sandbags and pipelines, three metres high, filled with concrete and fitted with electronic detection equipment.When construction of the barrier began in...

 Saudi Arabia was building to the Israeli West Bank barrier, while The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

 headed an article with "Saudi Arabia, one of the most vocal critics in the Arab world of Israel's "security fence" in the West Bank, is quietly emulating the Israeli example by erecting a barrier along its porous border with Yemen".

Head of Saudi Arabia's border guard, Talal Anqawi, dismissed comparisons with Israel's West Bank barrier: "The barrier of pipes and concrete could in no way be called a separation fence. What is being constructed inside our borders with Yemen is a sort of screen ... which aims to prevent infiltration and smuggling," he said. "It does not resemble a wall in any way."

See also

  • Israel and Egypt – Gaza Strip barrier
  • List of Palestinian suicide attacks
  • Lemon Tree
    Lemon Tree (film)
    Lemon Tree is a 2008 Israeli drama movie directed by Eran Riklis and codirected by his cousin Ira Riklis. It stars Hiam Abbass, Ali Suliman, Danny Leshman, Rona Lipaz-Michael, Tarik Kopty, Amos Lavi, Lana Zreik and Amnon Wolf...

  • Tegart's wall
    Tegart's wall
    Tegart's Wall was a barbed wire fence erected in 1938 by British Mandatory authorities on the northern border of Palestine in order to keep militants from infiltrating from Syria and Lebanon to join the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine.-History:...

  • Berm (Western Sahara)
  • Bremer wall
    Bremer wall
    A Bremer wall is a twelve-foot-high portable, steel-reinforced concrete wall of the type used for blast protection throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. The name is believed to have originated from L...

  • Belfast Peace Lines
  • Green Line (Cyprus)
  • International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
    International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
    There is a broad international consensus that the actions of the nations involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict violate prohibitions contained in international law. However, this legality is disputed by some of the nations involved...

  • List of walls
  • Mexico – United States barrier
  • Wall of Shame
    Wall of Shame
    "Wall of Shame" is originally a term used by western politicians and media to refer to the Berlin Wall, and more generally a negative term for a separation barrier that, in the opinion of those using the term, brings shame upon the builders or others. In some cases, it is the circumstances of the...


External links



General news resources


, by Betselem
.

Israeli government and courts


United Nations and International Court of Justice rulings


.

Links to articles opposing the Barrier




Links to articles in favor of the barrier


, detailed 193 page book supporting a position in favor of the barrier.
  • "How I Learned to Love the Wall" Irshad Manji
    Irshad Manji
    Irshad Manji is a Canadian author, journalist and an advocate of "reform and progressive" interpretation of Islam. Manji is director of the Moral Courage Project at the Robert F...

    , The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

     March 18, 2006
  • You Are Judging and I Am Burying My Husband by Fanny Haim (Yediot Ahronot), February 23, 2004
  • Israel's Security Fence on Jewish Virtual Library
    Jewish Virtual Library
    Jewish Virtual Library is an online encyclopedia published by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise . Established in 1993, it is a comprehensive website covering Israel, the Jewish people, and Jewish culture.-History:...