Posted by: noticeable | February 25, 2007

AAWC: FAQs about the Apartheid Wall

The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (AAWC) has answered the following FAQs about the wall. Be sure to explore all of the external links found in the article.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Apartheid Wall
FAQ, PENGON, October 4th, 2003

Frequently Asked Questions about the Apartheid Wall

1) How long is the Wall?

In total the Wall will run over 650 km (400 miles) inside the West Bank.

2) Where is the Wall being built?

The Wall is being built deep within the West Bank as it zigzags throughout 10 out of the 11 West Bank districts. The Wall, on this path, de facto annexes nearly 50% of the West Bank and completely destroys all continuity of life in the region.

The Wall begins at the northern most point in the West Bank and runs through the western districts of the West Bank to the north of Jerusalem; the Wall is not being built on or near the 1967 Green Line and at points reaches 16 km (some 10 miles) deep right into the heart of the West Bank in order to annex major Israeli Jewish-only settlements (more details in Question 9). After cutting through neighborhoods and villages in East Jerusalem, the Wall picks up by Bethlehem and continues south to Hebron. In eastern West Bank, a second wall begins again in the northern West Bank and, running somewhat parallel to the first wall de facto annexes the Jordan Valley, extends south to Jerusalem where it connects with the first Wall, and thereafter stretches through the southern West Bank.

More detailed information is provided in the section Maps.

3) What does the Wall look like?

The Wall takes on a variety of forms; around Qalqiliya the Wall is pure concrete eight meters (25 feet) high and fortified with armed watchtowers and in other areas it may be part concrete/part fence or a series of razor wire and/or electric fencing all of which includes a 70-100 meter (approximately 230-330 feet) “buffer zone” with trenches, roads, razor wire, cameras, and trace paths for footprints. In Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the Wall is made up of a combination of these edifices.

Regardless of the Wall’s structural differences, the implications are the same for Palestinians– the inability to travel for employment, medical care, and education atop of the theft of land and resources by and for Israel (more details in Question 6).

Refer to the Photos section for downloadable images of the Wall and communities.

4) How much of the Wall has been completed and when is it scheduled to be completed?

The Israeli government began building the Wall in June 2002 in the northern West Bank districts of Jenin, Tulkarem, and Qalqiliya; at the end of July 2003, Israel announced the “completion” of this section, the so-called “first phase”, which stretches some 145 km (90 miles). However, the Israeli government continues to raze land, destroy shops, homes, and infrastructure in these areas as well as pave way for the “buffer zone”. Simultaneously, destruction for and building of the Wall has been taking place in northern Jerusalem by Qalandiya and Kafr Aqab, in the neighborhood Abu Dis in eastern Jerusalem, and around Bethlehem, Beit Sahur, and Beit Jala. The latest announcements of the Israeli government predict the completion of the Wall by 2005.

The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Fact Sheet: The Wall’s “First Phase” provides more details for the “completed” sections of the Wall.

5) Is the Wall temporary?

At the cost of 12 million NIS or 2.8 million USD per km, the Wall is not a “temporary” measure but the continuation of Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and iron grip of Palestinian resources. The Wall, through its path which is marked by land annexation and destruction, is clearly a “tool” for the Israeli government in maximizing the confiscation of Palestinian land for future settlement expansion. In one case, in the village Nazlat ‘Isa, located between the Wall and the Green Line, the Wall brought the complete destruction of the entire village market including over 200 shops and five homes (with 16 additional homes having been given demolition orders), completely destroying the livelihood for all residents. The devastating reality which the Wall imposes is meant to ensure that Palestinians will be forcibly expelled from areas Israel looks to annex and “demographically contained” in other areas by creating permanent “facts on the ground” for the continued colonization of Palestine.

6) How is the Wall affecting Palestinian communities?

The Wall is devastating every aspect of Palestinian life—already tens of communities have experienced the loss of land, water, and resources which provide their sustenance as well as the destruction of community and personal property. Palestinian villages and towns near the Wall have become isolated ghettos where movement in and out is limited, if not impossible, thus severing travel for work, health, education, and visits to friends and family. For instance, in the 18 communities surrounded into an enclave in the Tulkarem district the inability to travel due to the Wall and Israeli military “closures” has brought the unemployment rate up from 18% in 2000 to an estimated 78% in the spring of 2003. In Qalqiliya, where the Wall hermitically seals the city with one Israeli military controlled checkpoint, nearly 10% of the 42,000 residents have been forced to leave their homes due to the city’s imprisonment, closure of the market, and inability to find work.

The Wall is intended to deny any prospects for survival in communities, and therefore is not only the negation of Palestinian national aspirations and right to self-determination, but also a tool in the creeping “transfer” of the population and the realization of the Zionist/Israeli expansionist plans as addressed in Question 13.

Community Voices offers personal testimonies and community case studies from those affected by the Wall. Additionally, The Wall in Palestine: Facts, Testimonies, Analysis, and Call to Action details the Wall’s implications on life in Palestine and coming impacts.

7) Are there gates where Palestinians can cross over the Wall and access their lands?

The notion of “access” gates where the Israeli military will “permit” Palestinians to travel to their land demonstrates the Wall’s institutionalization and follows the Israeli “permit” system which began during the 1993 Oslo Process whereby the Israeli government has been consolidating absolute control over every aspect of life in Palestine through dictating all aspects of movement.

The Israeli government’s rhetoric of “gates” and movement has amounted to the complete denial of the basic right to freedom of movement for Palestinians. The reality of “access” gates on the ground is the severe humiliation of Palestinians by the Israeli military and private “security” guards including beatings, being “denied” passage or being told that the land is “not theirs” and that they are “entering Israel”. Furthermore, in most cases the Israeli military only “allows” residents (who have Israeli approved permits and paperwork) to cross for a limited number of times per day and between highly restrictive hours. Additionally, communities are not told in advance when the gates will be opened and thus endure grueling waits, often for the military not to arrive or to arrive and deny access.

8) What is the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign demanding?

The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign is calling for:
1) the immediate cessation of the building of the Wall,
2) the dismantling of all parts of the Wall and its related zones already built,
3) the return of lands confiscated for the path of the Wall, and
4) the compensation of damages and lost income due to the destruction of land and property (this compensation is in addition to, not instead of, restitution of land).

For more information read About the Campaign.

9) How is the Wall related to the Israeli settlement policy?

The Wall is the continuation of the Zionist/Israeli expansionist agenda of stealing Palestinian land and forcibly expelling residents—the Wall’s path equates to the de facto annexation of nearly 50% of the West Bank and almost all of the Israeli settlements.

Around Jerusalem the Wall is completing the Zionist/Israeli project of “Greater Jerusalem”, formally endorsed by the Knesset in 1997, which aims at “judaizing” and annexing East Jerusalem into a Jewish metropolitan area. As explained in Question 2, the Wall closes Jerusalem off to the north and south of the West Bank, but remains “open” to the east for the still expanding settlement Ma’ale Adumim. Upon the Wall’s completion, this will amount to the confiscation of 90% of the land in the Jerusalem district.

The path of the Wall has been openly dictated by intentions to include settlements within the Israeli government and society. In March 2003, the Yesha Council of settlers worked with the Israeli government to extend the Wall’s path further into the West Bank south of Qalqiliya in order to bring the settlements of Ariel, Immanuel, and Qedumim into the Israeli “controlled area”. One week later, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced the building of the Wall in the Jordan Valley in order to “separate” the string of settlements in this region from the rest of the West Bank. Thus, the Wall will de facto annex 98% of the settler population.

10) Would it be acceptable if the Wall was built on the 1967 Green Line?

It is entirely unacceptable to build the Wall on the 1967 Green Line—there is a fundamental injustice in caging in an entire population. While the 1967 Green Line is advocated by the UN and many others to be the “international border” between Israel and the West Bank, the fact is that, following the 1948 war and the Zionist proclamation of the State of Israel, communities were forcibly and artificially divided into east/west by this “border”. However, the residents continue to share social services, markets, and familiar ties. To advocate that the Wall could be built on the 1967 Green Line is to legitimize the forcible separation of these communities.

11) What is the Wall’s status under international law?

The Wall, as well as the Occupation itself, comprises a wide range of violations to international law. A major violation of the Apartheid Wall is the unilateral demarcation of a new border in the West Bank that amounts to effective annexation of occupied land (United Nations Charter, art. 2.4).

Furthermore, destruction for and building of the Wall has amounted to numerous more violations of the IV Geneva Convention (IV GC) including the destruction of land and/or property (art. 53) and collective punishment (art. 33).

The Wall also breaches the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) and the International Covenant on Economical, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966), both of which Israel has signed. The rights violated include: freedom of movement (ICCPR, art. 12), property (ICCPR, art. 1,), health (ICESCR, art.12 and IV GC, art. 32), education (ICESCR, art.13, and IV GC, art. 50), work (ICESCR, art. 6), and food (ICESCR, art. 11).

Under Article 1 of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1979) the Wall constitutes a “Crime against Humanity”. It divides populations on the basis of race and ethnicity and discrimination against residents in the West Bank to benefit illegal Israeli settlers and thus complies with the definition of “apartheid”.

These are only a few of the articles in international conventions and declarations which the Wall infringes upon. The chapter The Wall Under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law in The Wall in Palestine: Facts, Testimonies, Analysis, and Call to Action provides more analysis and examples of the Wall under international law.

12) What is the relationship between the Wall and the “Road Map”?

Though some perceive the Wall to contradict the “Road Map”, in fact they are perfectly complementary and share aims that correlate with the Israeli government’s agenda. In the autumn of 2002 Israeli Prime Minister Sharon advocated a “Palestinian State” with borders that “overlap with territories A and B [which Israel determined during the Oslo process], except for essential security zones”. This would leave some 50% of the West Bank for part of a “Palestinian State” that is being created by the Wall through the formation of Palestinian ghettos.

Although Israel has flagrantly violated international law since 1948, the Wall “relieves” the government of the mounting “burden” (such as international pressure, economic resources) of maintaining the Occupation— Israeli logic reasons that the Wall enables control over strategic land and resources with the least expense of resources to “deal with” the Palestinian population as they will be “demographically contained” into areas which are currently deemed of less interest. In this context, the “Road Map” and the Wall are synonymous as they call for a “final settlement” which will be in the interest of the Israeli state.

The US-pushed “Road Map” calls for “Permanent Status Agreements” in 2005 in regard to boarders, Jerusalem, settlements, and refugees. The Wall, which is also set to be finished in 2005, enables the Israel government to unilaterally define the limits of such “agreements” by:
• Creating a de facto “border” between the West Bank and Israel,
• Completing the Israeli/Zionist project of “Greater Jerusalem” (as discussed in Question 9) to entirely annex the capital of historic Palestine,
• Annexing nearly all of the settlements in the West Bank into the “Israeli controlled” area “outside” the Wall,
• Forcibly expelling residents near the Wall from their land and home, thus becoming refugees, some for the second or third time, and continuing the racist Zionist slogan/policy of “a land without people”.

13) Why does the Israeli government and the Israeli public support the building of the Wall?

The Israeli government favors the Apartheid Wall because it furthers its agenda, policies, and actions of expelling the indigenous Palestinians for the colonization of land and “resettlement” of Jewish communities in “Greater Israel”. This is a clear goal of the Israeli government with the Wall, as the Wall carves away massive amounts of land in the West Bank, creating the largest single annexation of land since the 1967 Occupation; when completed, the Wall will leave less than 12% of historic Palestine for the indigenous population. Through building the Wall the Israeli government is pressing on with the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their land; the Wall attacks all aspects of Palestinian life—the loss of land and water, demolition of markets and homes, restriction to movement, education and medical care—thus making subsistence and survival difficult if not impossible and maximizing for Israel the sought after results summarized best in the Zionist adage of “more land, fewer people”. The Wall “demographically contains” those Palestinians which “remain” into ghettos in the West Bank (as also in the Gaza Strip), which serves and propagates Israel’s façade of “security” for colonization of Palestinian land.

The majority of the Israeli public has supported the Wall, following the pretext of “security”. The idea of unilateral separation appeals greatly to those in their society who do not want to admit or take responsibility for their government’s racist actions. In a poll conducted in June 2002 by Ma’ariv found that 69% of the Israeli public supported the Wall, at a time when the majority of the settlers still opposed it. The Israeli settlers in the West Bank have since begun to be in favor of the Wall, as it became evident that the majority of their settlements would be included in the “Israeli side” of the Wall.

More information is given in Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Fact Sheet: The Apartheid Wall.

14) What is the US position on the Wall?

The US Administration has particular interest in supporting Israel and its expansionist agenda– US support for the Wall does not veer from this fundamental position. US support for the Israeli state is rooted in the US military industry and the “use” of Israel as an “ally” in strategic regional interests in the Middle East. Funding Israel militarily serves the US military industry/economy as Israel spends the majority of aid on weapons, including fighter jets, tanks, and bulldozers, from US manufacturers which are then used against the entire Palestinian population. US support for Israel also ensures it as a military stronghold in the Middle East which furthers US interests of territorial control, oil resources, and more over the last two years in the US proclaimed “war on terrorism”. To achieve its colonial agenda, US interest lies in backing Israel’s plans rather than take a position “against” the Wall.

In July 2003, US Administration officials, including G. Bush and Collin Powell, paid feeble rhetoric to calling the Wall a “problem” or noting that it would impede the “peace process”. There was rumor that, as part of US law which prohibits aid to countries which engage in violations to international law, the US Administration might withhold a dollar of US loans for every dollar spent on the Wall. However, this has amounted to no action and the façade quickly faded after Israeli Prime Minister asserted that the “Wall would continue to be built” despite any “pressure”. In September 2003 US Congress approved the $9 billion in loans with no mention of the Wall; the US position thus remains unabated in supporting Israel’s racist Wall project along with the entire Occupation.

15. What is the position of Europe on the Wall?

The European Union has repeatedly issued statements ranging from “deep concerns about” the Wall to “calls for” the halting of the confiscation of Palestinian land and the construction of the Wall. However, the words are hollow in front of the continuous support the EU gives Israel, even if this implies breaching its own laws.
Surprising as it may seem, Europe – occupying rank number one for Israel’s imports and rank number two for its exports – has as much economic muscle in the region as the United States.

If it were not for support from the US and EU, Israel would not be able to bear the enormous expenses of the Wall as well as the Occupation. The EU countries have continued to export weapons to Israel even during the last three years, have been unwilling to reinstall an embargo on arms exports to Israel that was in affect until 1994, as it continues to grant Israel privileged access to the European market through the European-Israeli Association Agreement that began in 2000. Though this treaty is explicitly conditioned to respect human rights by all partners and excludes settlement products from preferential treatment as they are not produced on what is considered Israeli territory, Israel refuses to make any distinction between the products possible, falsifying certificates and not responding to the EU’s requests on this issue.

The European Union accepts these violations of its own laws for the sake of “good relations” with Israel. Every euro to the Israeli occupation economy is a euro in support of Israel’s agenda and policies of theft, dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinian people, now embodied in a dramatic way by Israel’s Apartheid Wall.



  1. quite informative. thanks for sharing!

  2. As salaam alaikum.

    I write for a largely Muslim audience. Come by daily inshallah when you have some time to read.

    Wa salaama,

    nuh ibn

  3. For better or for worse the reason the Israeli public supports the wall is that it keeps out suicide bombers. Since large sections of the wall were completed suicide bombing has virtually disappeared. Consequently no Israeli politician would dare suggest tearing it down. What people fail to see is the injustice of the route of the wall. It could keep out suicide bombers without at the same time carving the West Bank into cantons.

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