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Proposed Israeli Security Fence
Spring 2002 (updated 2005)


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Note - the path of the fence has changed radically - Click here for update (Spring 2005)

As the Israeli-Palestinian peace process eroded, leaders of both Israeli political parties, having despaired of a political solution that would bring peace with the Palestinians, made several proposals for fences to be built along the  green line (or "seam line") separating Israeli and Palestinian territory. The green line is the border of Israel as was established by the 1949 armistice agreements, before Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza in the 6 day war in 1967. The green line is crossed by numerous dirt roads and it is impossible to patrol it. Many Palestinians take advantage of these roads to come to work illegally in Israel or to get between parts of the Palestinian administered territories without being subjected to the wearisome and degrading checkpoints. Some also cross in order to carry out terror operations and theft. Many opposed the fences either because of the mentality they represent or because they constitute a recognition of the 1949 armistice green line as a final border. Israelis living along the green line favor the fence to prevent infiltration by suicide bombers and by thieves and vandals. Since 1994, Palestinians, sometimes in cooperation with Israeli middlemen, have stolen thousands of automobiles as well as farm machinery and animals. Porous paths have made it easy for suicide bombers to cross into Israel.

The fence aroused opposition from right-wing Israelis and settlers, because it would "define" the route of the fence as the approximate border, and leave most of the settlements outside. The Palestine National Authority opposes t the fence as well. Palestinians oppose the fence because:

* It encloses Palestinian territory on the Israeli side, de - facto annexing it to Israel. "Land Grab"

* It cuts people off from work, medical services and their fields

* In some places it runs through the middle of towns and in front of entrances of houses.

Opponents of the security barrier call it an "Apartheid Wall." It is mostly a chain-link fence, but makes use of prefabricated concrete slabs in built-up areas.

Israeli peace groups want the fence to be built along the 1949 Green Line armistice border. IDF security experts argue that the topography does not permit putting the barrier along the green line in many places, because there would be hills or tall buildings on the Palestinian side. In the Jerusalem area, the old border cut the city in two. The Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and Jewish quarter would be unprotected, and parts of the road to Jerusalem would lie on the other side of the barrier, as well as the Hebrew University campus at Mt. Scopus.

 In July of 2004 the International Court of Justice at the Hague gave an advisory (non-binding) ruling that declared the barrier violates international law, because its route does not take sufficient account of the suffering caused to Palestinians. The court further ruled that any part of the barrier built on the Palestinian side of the Green Line is illegal. Israel rejected the ICJ opinion. Nonetheless, the Israel High Court has ruled many sections of the barrier to be illegal because the route does not provide the proper balance between security needs and hardship to the population. This, along with US pressure, has caused the Israel government to revise the route of the barrier several times, including moving sections that were already built.

As of February 20, 2004, the following changes had been made relative to the original planning shown below:

* The barrier route had been moved closer to the green line border, so that only about 7% of West Bank territory was included in the area it encloses on the Israeli side.

* Plans for a "projected" eastern route that would have encircled the Palestinian cities have been dropped.

* Plans to extend the barrier to Ariel were put in abeyance.

The planned and completed barrier route still includes several large Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including Efrat, Gush Etzion and Maaleh Edumim.

In May of 2002, as the frequency of suicide attacks increased, the Israeli government decided to begin building a partial fence along the green line borders with the West Bank. A similar fence has been successful in preventing infiltration from the much smaller Gaza strip. The map at right shows the initial fence plan, composed of existing barriers and new ones. The first phase of the fence, begun June 16, 2002, is to run from the Salem checkpoint in the north to Kafr Qasem in the south, while another stretch of fence is planned for the Jerusalem area. The  length of the entire fence is around 115 kilometers (apparently around 200 km when complete- March 2005), and it will cost around $1 million per kilometer. The project will be coordinated by Colonel Netzach Meshiach under the supervision of Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron.


The path of the fence has changed radically - Click here for update (Spring 2005)



The map at right shows additional fencing planned for Jerusalem, in this stage, and future extensions of the fence at the northern border with the West Bank. The map also shows the existing barriers. This map was prepared earlier and does not show the entire length of the propose construction.



The path of the fence has changed radically - Click here for update (Spring 2005)


Note - the path of the fence has changed radically - Click here for update (Spring 2005)

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