Israel’s Wall (2002- ), also called the West Bank barrier, is a wall Israel is building in the West Bank, 0 to 22 km from from the Israeli border, taking in choice bits of the West Bank. Some call it a security fence, others call it an apartheid wall.
Banksy calls it:
“the world’s most invasive and degrading structure.”
It is part wall, part fence. Out in the countryside it is mostly a wire fence with razor wire, a ditch and electronic sensors. In town and city it is mostly a concrete wall up to 8 metres high, with graffiti and watchtowers. Pope Francis stopped at the wall in Bethlehem to pray. Barack Obama did not.
Compared to the Berlin Wall, it will be twice as high and four times longer, some 680 km. It is about 80% done. Protests and court cases have slowed it, sometimes changed its course a bit, but they have not stopped it.
Israelis say they are building the wall to protect themselves from Palestinian violence, particularly suicide bombers. Suicide bombings are now way less frequent (though correlation is not necessarily cause).
Palestinians say that the wall is being used to move the border so that a Palestinian state becomes unworkable. Between the wall and Israeli military zones, Palestinians will be left with less than half of the West Bank, divided into pieces.
The International Court of Justice in the Hague agrees:
“The court considers that the construction of the wall and its associate regime … tantamount to de facto annexation. That construction, along with measures previously taken, thus severely impeded the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination.”
Israel has every right to build a wall – on its own land. This wall is built mostly on Palestinian land. That is against international law. It would be like the US building a wall to take in parts of Mexico.
A UN report notes that the wall will leave 210,000 Palestinians stuck between Israel and the wall, cut off from social services, schools and places of work:
“This is likely to lead to a new generation of refugees or internally displaced people.”
As it is, the wall stands between many Palestinians and their fields, schools, hospitals, churches, etc. They are forced to pass through checkpoints that Israel controls, which it can shut down at any time. Many have been thrown out of work because of the wall.
Qalqilya (pictured above), a Palestinian city of 42,000 in the northern West Bank, is surrounded on three sides by the wall, cutting it off from its fields and a third of its water supply. To leave town you have to pass through an Israeli checkpoint. It has become a ghetto.
The irony is that Jews under Hitler were walled into the Warsaw Ghetto and forced to go through checkpoints to leave. Germans said they built the wall because of Jewish crime and disease, but in fact, it was a step towards genocide.
– Abagond, 2015.