In June 2002, the Israeli cabinet decided to erect a physical barrier separating Israel and the West Bank with the declared objective of regulating the entry of Palestinians from the West Bank into Israel. In most areas, the Separation Barrier is comprised of an electronic fence flanked by paved pathways, barbed-wire fences, and trenches. The average width of the barrier is 60 meters. In a few locations, the security establishment decided to build a concrete wall six to eight meters high in place of this type of barrier. The full route of the Separation Barrier – the portions already built, those under construction, and those not yet implemented – is 709–kilometers long, twice as long as the Green Line.
Since the cabinet’s decision to build the Separation Barrier, Palestinians have filed dozens of petitions against the proposed route. In June 2004, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled on a petition filed by a number of villages northwest of Jerusalem, stating that the proposed route around these villages is illegal for the most part, and that the state must propose an alternative route. In light of this ruling, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon instructed the security establishment to review the entire route. A new route was proposed, and the cabinet approved the amended route in February 2005.