Israel has not dismantled any section of the Separation Barrier that was nullified by the High Court

9 Jul 2008

The Separation Barrier has not been moved in any of the sections that were built and later nullified by the Israeli High Court of Justice. Human rights organization B'Tselem published this finding today, 9 July 2008, marking the fourth anniversary of the advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, which held that building the barrier in the West Bank breached international law.

The High Court nullified three sections, on grounds that the harm to Palestinians was disproportionate, and ordered the state to move the barrier. The state has not yet moved any of these sections. The sections that were nullified are as follows: the barrier around the settlement Alfe Menashe, which the High Court nullified almost three years ago, on 15 September 2005; the section running on the land of the villages of ‘Azzun and Nebi Alias, nullified over two years ago, on 15 June 2006; and the section by Bil'in, nullified ten months ago, on 6 September 2007 (the residents of Bil'in only recently received the army's proposed changed route).

As of May 2008, 409 kilometers of the fence, 57 percent of the planned route, have been built, 66 kilometers (9 percent) are under construction, and construction on 248 kilometers (34 percent) has not yet begun. Upon completion of the barrier, 11.9 percent of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) will lie west of the barrier, or will be surrounded by it completely or partially. These areas are home to 498,000 Palestinians (222,500 in East Jerusalem) living in 92 towns and villages.

The barrier de facto annexes 60 settlements (including 12 in East Jerusalem), in which 381,000 Israelis live.

The State of Israel has the right and duty to protect its citizens and residents from terror attacks. However, if it wishes to build a physical barrier between Israel and the West Bank, this must be built along the Green Line or inside Israeli territory. The current route is not based on security considerations, but rather aims to perpetuate and expand the settlements. B'Tselem calls on the government to dismantle every section of the barrier that penetrates the West Bank, to cancel the permit regime that is part of the barrier project, and to compensate Palestinians who were harmed as a result of the barrier's construction.