Today B'Tselem is publishing an updated position paper on the separation barrier being erected between the Green Line and the West Bank.
The paper focuses on the planned route of the barrier and violations of human rights of the many Palestinians who live near the Green Line (Israel's 1967 border) that will result from building the barrier within the West Bank.
According to B'Tselem's estimates, the planned route of the barrier will directly harm over 210,000 Palestinians living in sixty-seven towns, villages, and cities. 11,700 Palestinians living in 13 communities will be imprisoned in isolated enclaves to the west of the barrier, 128,500 residents from 19 communities will be in enclaves to the east of the barrier, and tens of thousands Palestinians will be separated from their farmland.
The policy paper presents cases studies of the village of 'Azzun 'Atma, which is near Qalqiliya and 'Aqeb, which lies north of Jerusalem, demonstrating the likely impact of the barrier.
Israel claims that it will establish checkpoints along the barrier to allow Palestinian movement. However, past experience shows that Israel systematically exploits Palestinians' need for such permits, which are frequently issued or denied according to arbitrary decisions.
An examination of the process by which Israel determined the route of the barrier shows that once again Israel has made cynical use of security claims to justify grave human rights violations in the Occupied Territories. The human rights of the Palestinian population, for which Israel is responsible, were almost entirely ignored in the process. Among other things the determination of the route of the barrier was based on political considerations, the attempt to leave the settlements to the west of the barrier, and protection of access routes for religious sites - none of which are at all related to military considerations. This situation is likely to render the entire separation barrier project illegal according to international law.