Separation Barrier

The Separation Barrier - August 2009: Night arrests in Bil'in

24 Sep 2009

In June 2009, the state informed the Israeli High Court of Justice that it had decided to suspend construction work on the Separation Barrier around the Ma'ale Adumim settlement, which lies east of Jerusalem. According to the State Attorney's Office, the decision stemmed from “budgetary constraints and other needs that the defense establishment faces.”

Should it be realized in the future, the planned route in this area will create an Israeli enclave deep within the West Bank, with the Separation Barrier surrounding the settlements of Ma'ale Adumim, Kfar Adumim, and Kedar, along with the Mishor Adumim industrial area. This would effectively cut the West Bank in two, as the enclave would prevent Palestinians from moving directly between the northern and southern West Bank and into East Jerusalem. This splitting of the West Bank would also deny Palestinians their right to self-determination in the form of a viable Palestinian state, as any solution that would enable smooth passage between the northern and southern West Bank would oblige Israel to pave a bypass around the Adumim Bloc. This road would have to run through difficult topography in the Jordan Valley - an area that is currently also under Israeli control - considerably lengthening travel time.

Construction of the barrier along the planned route, if carried out, will especially harm the residents of Abu Dis and a-Sawahrah a-Sharqiya by blocking the possibility of developing these communities' land reserves and preventing access to the residents' farmland. In effect, the barrier would annex their land to areas controlled by Israel.

Map of the planned route in the Ma'ale Adumim area
Map of the planned route in the Ma'ale Adumim area

In 2006, the Abu Dis municipal council and the a-Sawahrah a-Sharqiya village council petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice against building the barrier along the planned route. Following the petitions, the state amended the route, diverting it to a northwesterly direction, but the change did not significantly diminish the harm to the residents.

The notice of the construction freeze came after sections of the Separation Barrier had been built in this area, between al-‘Eizariyah and the Ma'ale Adumim settlement. Following the State Attorney's Office's announcement, the High Court decided to suspend the hearing on the petitions. It should be noted that Israel did not cancel the land-requisition orders for the Separation Barrier along this route.

The prolonged freezing of construction work on the Separation Barrier along this route, as on other planned enclaves created deep inside the West Bank - Ariel, Kedumim, and Karne Shomeron - reinforce the contention that the route of the Separation Barrier in these areas was not based on real, urgent security needs, but on an intention to unilaterally establish facts on the ground that are liable to impede any future arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians.