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Five years of illegality.

Time to dismantle the Wall and

respect the rights of Palestinians.
The term Wall was used by the International Court of Justice in its advisory opinion
on the Wall and is therefore the terminology used throughout this publication. An
exception is the interview with UN OCHA: this is because the UN Secretariat (the
Secretary-Generals Office) uses the term barrier, since neither wall nor fence are
complete descriptions given that in some places the structure is actually a wall and
in other places it is a fence.

Photo cover: Playing children in front of the Wall in Abu Dis.

Photo back: Almond farmer in a village in Jenin area.

Oxfam International July 2009

The articles in this publication were written
by Valrie Fron, journalist. The publication O xfam International has been working in
the occupied Palestinian Territory and
Israel since the 1980s. Along with 27 Pa-
should be free from violence, coercion, and
deprivation. Ensuring these basic rights for
ordinary women, men, and children is fun-
is based upon field research conducted du-
ring May 2009. The articles reflect the views lestinian partner organisations in the Gaza damental to the success of any peace pro-
and perception of the people interviewed. It Strip and the West Bank, Oxfam works on cess. Oxfam is against the use of violence
is part of a series of reports written to inform agricultural development, food security, and against civilians in any form and calls on all
public debate on development and humani- microfinance; emergency and primary health parties to protect civilians from harm.
tarian policy issues. care; water, sewage, and public health; pro- Oxfams analysis of the IsraeliPalestinian
The text may be used free of charge for tection of civilians, human rights, and rights conflict and its eventual resolution is rooted
the purposes of advocacy, campaigning, of women, refugees, and workers. In Israel, in international humanitarian law and human
education, and research, provided that the Oxfam supports 25 partner organisations. rights principles. Based on these principles,
source is acknowledged in full. The copy- Oxfam partners in Israel work to counter oc- Oxfam seeks a just and lasting solution, in
right holder requests that all such use be cupation and to promote a just, sustainable which both Palestinians and Israelis will en-
registered with them for impact assessment peace between Israelis and Palestinians. joy human security and peace. Oxfam be-
purposes. Based on Oxfams first-hand experience, we lieves that the international community has
The text may be used free of charge for the are concerned about the increase in poverty a legal and moral responsibility to engage
purposes of advocacy. and suffering for Palestinians. Oxfam belie- effectively in resolving this conflict. n
E-mail publish@oxfam.org.uk ves that all people in the Middle East region
For further information on the issues raised
in this paper please e-mail:
The information in this publication is correct
at the time of going to press.
Photos: Tineke Dhaese
Graphic design:
Oxfam-Wereldwinkels vzw

These articles were written by Valrie Fron,
journalist. The views expressed in these ar-
ticles are those of the interviewees and do
not necessarily represent the views of Ox-
fam International. n

2 - Five years of illegality

Table of contents

Editorial 5
Map of the West Bank (OCHA) 6
General terminology and history 7
The Wall and the ICJ advisory opinion 8
About the Wall 10
Stories 12
nAida refugee camp 12
n Al-Walaja 13
n Bethlehem 14
n Beit Jala 15
n Jayyous 16
n Azzun Atmeh 18
n Nilin et Bilin 20
n Hizma 22
n Marda 23
n Immatin 24
n Al-Khan Al-Ahmar 25
n Al Quds University, Abu Dis 26
Interview: Allegra Pacheco (OCHA) 28
Oxfam International contacts 30

Five years of illegality - 3

1 - Cinq ans dillegalit

In its advisory opinion, rendered on 9 July 2004, the International Court of

Justice stated that Israels construction of the Wall in the occupied Palestinian
Territory was illegal and called for its immediate dismantling. Although this
opinion was the assertion of the most distinguished international legal body,
it has been met only by inaction. This is an intolerable situation for the
Palestinians, as well for the peace process and the credibility of international

W ith the publication of this collection of the deepening impoverishment and de- natural resources (land and water), which
testimonies, exactly five years after development of the communities in the all de facto contribute to the altering of the
the advisory opinion delivered by the Inter- West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are demographic composition of the occupied
national Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, undeniable. Even though the recommen- Palestinian Territory and are all in gross vio-
Oxfam International wants to remind world dations of the ICJ were clear, the construc- lation of international humanitarian law.
leaders that they have an obligation to en- tion of the Wall continues, well beyond the
sure respect for international law and to gu- Green Line, depriving Palestinians of their For the sake of Palestinians and Israelis
arantee the protection of civilians. livelihoods and of access to basic services. alike, it is time for the rule of law to triumph.
These are basic rights that Israel, as an oc- If not, it will be very difficult to achieve a
Daily, Oxfam International and its local part- cupying power, must guarantee. just, negotiated, and durable peace in the
ners witness the tragic consequences that Middle East. A peace that cannot be post-
the Wall, permits, and checkpoints have Israels concern to assure the security of poned any longer. n
on the lives of Palestinians. The testimo- its civilians is legitimate, but its measures
nies compiled in this document are only should nonetheless remain in conformity Jeremy Hobbs
some examples of people telling their sto- with international humanitarian law. For five Executive Director
ries. Farmers from Beit Jala, workers from years now, different Israeli governments and of Oxfam International
Bethlehem, or students in Abu Dis, men and the international community have turned
women, young and old, explain the major a deaf ear to the appeals by the General
difficulties encountered in their daily lives. Assembly of the United Nations and have
All of them share the frustration of having to refused to yield to the opinion of the ICJ.
live in the labyrinth of bans and restrictions This inaction gives the wrong signal: that in-
that the occupied West Bank has become. ternational law can be violated without ac-
How to take care of your olive trees when countability.
you are separated from them by an impas-
sable wall? How to give birth in a hospital As immediate changes are imperative, Ox-
when your village is enclosed? How to earn fam International calls on the international
a living without knowing if the access permit community to demonstrate political will
you need will be granted or renewed? And and to abide by its responsibility under in-
how to hope for a better future when going ternational law. It is time to condemn and
to school becomes a daily ordeal? challenge the construction of the Wall in oc-
cupied territory and its associated regime,
Since the construction of the Wall and the together with the construction of settle-
setting in place of its associated regime, ments and the confiscation and control of

Oxfam International

illegality - 5- 1
West Bank (OCHA) - sept 2008

1. Aida refugee camp
2. Al-Walaja
3. Beit Jala
4. Jayyous
5. Azzun Atmeh
6. Ras Al-Tira
7. Hizma
8. Marda
9. Immatin
10. Bilin Nablus
11. Nilin 4
Qalqiliya 9
12. Abu Dis 6

5 14 8
13. Har Gilo settlement 16
14. Shaarei Tikva settlement
15. Oranit settlement
16. Ariel settlement
17. Mattityahu settlement
18. Maale Adumim settlement

17 10 Ramallah


3 Bethlehem


6 - Five years of illegality

General terminology
and history

General terminology very few outposts structures erected by were displaced from the West Bank and
n The Green Line: Term used following Is- the settler movement without the official Gaza Strip. The Government of Israel impo-
raels occupation of the West Bank and Gaza recognition of the Government of Israel as sed a military regime over Palestinians in the
Strip in 1967 to refer to the post-1948 war precursors to new settlements or settlement 1967 occupied Palestinian Territory, which
ceasefire line (Armistice Line of 1949). The expansion have been effectively removed. since then has facilitated colonisation and
demarcation line (laid down in the ceasefire As of March 2009, the UN counted 149 of- forced displacement of Palestinians. Me-
agreements of 1949) is the internationally ficial settlements and 100 unauthorised anwhile Palestinian armed resistance and
recognised border between Israel and the outposts in the West Bank, including East hostilities with neighbouring Arab countries
occupied Palestinian Territory (Gaza Strip Jerusalem, and 462,000 settlers. continued.
and West Bank, including East Jerusalem).
n Dunum: Palestinian unit of area measure. n 1993-1995 / Oslo: Series of peace talks
n Areas A, B, C: In 1995, with the Oslo II One dunum equals 1,000 square metres or that began with secret negotiations in Oslo,
agreement, three jurisdictional divisions one-quarter of an acre. Norway, between the members of the Pa-
were created in the West Bank1: lestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and
Area A, mainly urban centres, came under General history Israeli officials. These talks led to the Decla-
the administrative and internal security res- n Nakba: Arabic for catastrophe, is the ration of Principles on Interim Self-Govern-
ponsibility of the Palestinian Authority and term used by Palestinians to refer to the first ment Arrangements in 1993, which outlined
eventually comprised 17.2 per cent of the round of population transfer undertaken by the way for further bilateral negotiations ho-
West Bank; the Zionist movement and the newly foun- ped to bring a permanent solution to the Is-
Area B, mainly populated rural areas, ded state of Israel in the period between No- raeliPalestinian conflict. The Oslo Accords
eventually being 23.8 per cent of the West vember 1947 (UN Palestine Partition Plan) provided for the creation of a Palestinian
Bank, remained under Israeli military oc- and the ceasefire agreements with Arab Authority, which would have responsibility
cupation, but the Palestinian Authority be- states in 1949 (first IsraeliArab conflict). for the administration of the territory under
came responsible for services and civilian More than 750,000 Palestinians were forci- its control. The Accords also called for the
administration; bly displaced from their homes and lands, withdrawal of the Israeli army from parts of
Area C, eventually being 59 per cent of and approximately 500 Palestinian villages the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The Oslo
the West Bank, remained under exclusive were depopulated. The establishment of the Accords were a framework for the future re-
Israeli civil and military administration. Area state of Israel in 1948 was among others the lations between the two parties. It was an-
C includes Israeli settlements, settlement result of ongoing racism and the persecuti- ticipated that this arrangement would last
access roads, buffer zones (near settle- on of Jewish citizens in Europe, in particular for a five-year interim period, during which
ments, roads, strategic areas, and Israel), the Holocaust. a permanent agreement would be nego-
and almost all of the Jordan Valley. Area tiated (beginning no later than May 1996).
C contains 63 per cent of the West Banks n 1948-1967: In the absence of stable Final status issues such as Jerusalem,
agricultural lands. peace agreements with neighbouring Arab Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements,
states and in order to suppress Palestinian security, and borders were deliberately left
n Settlements: Since 1967, all Israeli go- resistance, Israel placed the remaining Pa- to be decided at a later stage. Interim self-
vernments have pursued a policy of esta- lestinians left within its territory under milita- government was to be granted by the Go-
blishing settlements. Israeli settlements, ry rule, which severely restricted their free- vernment of Israel in phases. n
under the protection of the Israeli army, dom of movement and served to confiscate
1 www.diakonia.se/sa/node.asp?node=1125
take up Palestinian land for housing, roads, more Palestinian land and to prevent the
infrastructure, and cultivation, as well as ta- return of Palestinian refugees and internally
king water. Settlements breach international displaced persons. Meanwhile the Gaza
law and various UN Security Council resolu- Strip fell under Egyptian administration and
tions. Likewise, the Road Map (2003) called the West Bank under Jordanian rule.
for the freezing of all settlement expansi-
on. However, despite the commitments un- n 1967: In the shadow of the June 1967 war
der the Road Map and at Annapolis (2007), (second IsraeliArab conflict), over 400,000
Israeli settlements continue to expand and Palestinians, half of them 1948 refugees,

illegality - -71
The Wall
and the ICJ advisory opinion

On 9 July 2004, upon the request of the UN General Assembly, the International Court
of Justice (ICJ) the most distinguished legal body in the world rendered an advisory
opinion on the legal consequences of the construction of the Wall in the occupied
Palestinian Territory, stating that the construction of the Wall and the settlements on
West Bank land, including East Jerusalem, were illegal under international humanitarian
and human rights law. Although the Courts recommendations were clear, five years later
Israel continues with the construction of its Wall in the West Bank, affecting hundreds
of thousands of Palestinians, and the international community has failed to hold Israel
accountable to international law and to provide effective protection to Palestinians.

I n its advisory opinion, the Court conside-

red that the construction of the Wall and
its associated regime (see page 10 About
humanitarian law (IHL), because it is not
justified by military necessity and violates
the principle of proportionality. The PLO
the UN General Assembly voted overwhel-
mingly (150 against six) to pass a resolution
demanding that Israel heed the advisory
the Wall) created facts on the ground and maintains that the Wall causes destruction opinion of the ICJ. However, ever since the
that Israel was under an obligation to imme- to Palestinian property and infringes Pales- ICJ advisory opinion was rendered, the UN
diately terminate its breaches of internatio- tinian human rights. The PLO also contends Security Council has taken no action on it.
nal law; to cease the work of construction of that the construction of the Wall is an at-
the Wall being built in the occupied Palesti- tempt to annex Palestinian territory contrary As a follow-up to the ICJ opinion, the
nian Territory (OPT), including in and around to international law and that the de facto an- UN General Assembly requested the UN
East Jerusalem; to dismantle forthwith the nexation of land interferes with the territorial Secretary-General to establish a register of
structure therein situated; to cancel all le- sovereignty and the right of Palestinians to damages for all persons who had suffered
gislative and regulatory acts relating to the self-determination.3 such damages from the construction of the
Wall; and to make reparation for all dama- Wall. On 15 December 2006, the UN Ge-
ges caused by the Wall. The advisory opinion neral Assembly adopted a resolution that
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ren- formally established the UN Register of Da-
The official positions dered on 9 July 2004 an advisory opinion on mage (UNROD). The office of the register
of the two parties the legal consequences of the construction will not provide compensation or reparation,
Israel began constructing the Wall in the of the Wall in the OPT, stating that the con- but will document the damages and gather
West Bank in 2002, following a decision by struction of the Wall and the settlements on evidence for the purpose of any possible fu-
the Government of Israel, on 23 July 2001, West Bank land, including East Jerusalem, ture international adjudication. However, to
to construct a security fence. The Govern- were illegal under international humanitarian date UNROD is still not fully operational. n
ment of Israel stated that its sole purpose is and human rights law. Although an advisory
to provide security and [it is] a manife- opinion is not binding on the parties to a
station of Israels commitment to defend its conflict, such an opinion is highly regarded
citizens2 The Wall has a precedent. Since as it comes from the most distinguished in-
1994 the Gaza Strip has been surrounded ternational legal body.
by a Wall which cuts off Palestinians living
there from the rest of the world. The advisory opinion of the Court repre-
sents the most authoritative statement to
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) date of the content and applicability of in-
states that the Wall and its associated re- ternational law concerning Israels occupa-
gime within the OPT violates international tion of Palestinian territory. On 20 July 2004,

8 -1Five
- Cinq
Main findings and recommendations reflected in the advisory opinion
of the International Court of Justice, 9 July 2004
The Court found unanimously that it has the occupying power which have changed tuation resulting from the construction of
jurisdiction to give an advisory opinion ac- or declared the change of status of Jerusa- the Wall and not to render aid or assistance
cording to its own regulations. lem are not valid, since they violate interna- in maintaining the situation created by such
The Court found that [Israel] has the right, tional law. construction. In addition, states party to
and indeed the duty, to respond in order to The Court ruled that the Hague Regulati- the Fourth Geneva Convention are under
protect the life of its citizens. The measu- ons and the Fourth Geneva Convention, as the obligation to ensure Israels compliance
res taken are bound nonetheless to remain well as human rights law, are applicable to with IHL as embodied in that convention.
in conformity with applicable international the OPT. The Court noted that the UN, and especi-
law. The Court stated that Israel is under an ally the General Assembly and the Security
The Court considered that the construc- obligation to immediately terminate its Council, should consider what further ac-
tion of the Wall and its associated regime breaches of international law; to cease the tion is required to bring an end to the illegal
created facts on the ground that could well works of construction of the Wall being built situation resulting from the construction of
become permanent, in which case it would in the OPT, including in and around East the Wall and the associated regime, taking
be the same as de facto annexation, forbid- Jerusalem; to dismantle forthwith the struc- due account of the present advisory opi-
den under international law. ture therein situated; to cancel all legislative nion. n
The Court mentioned the risk of alterati- and regulatory acts relating to the Wall; and
ons to the demographic composition of the to make reparation for all damages caused
OPT by reinforcing the illegal Israeli settle- by the Wall.
ments which also violate IHL. The Court added that all states are under
The Court repeated that legislative and an obligation not to recognise the illegal si-
administrative measures taken by Israel as

2 Israeli Ministry of Defence,

3 Annex II Summary of the Legal Position of the Palestinian Libe-
ration Organisation, report of the Secretary-General prepared pur-
suant to General Assembly resolution ES-10/13, A/ES-10/248, 24
November 2003. UN General Assembly resolution ES-10/13 of 21
October 2003, adopted at the resumed tenth emergency special
session of the Assembly. In paragraph 1 of the resolution, the As-
sembly demand[ed] that Israel stop and reverse the construction
of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and
around East Jerusalem, which is in departure of the Armistice Line
Cinq ans dillegalit - 1
of 1949 and is in contradiction to relevant provisions of international
About the Wall 4

The Wall is either a concrete wall approximately 89 metres high with watchtowers
and sniper positions, or an electric barrier approximately 35 metres high. In both cases
it includes a buffer zone, ditches, razor wire, military patrol roads, electronic sensors,
and cameras. Its associated regime refers to a set of administrative measures imposed
by the Israeli occupation, composed of military orders (land and property confiscation),
closed areas, a new permit system, and new regulations at checkpoints (or terminals)
and gates. The Wall and its associated regime are part of an Israeli system of multi-
layered access and movement restrictions imposed on Palestinians in the West Bank.

T he Wall is de facto fragmenting the West

Bank into three different parts and up
to 22 smaller isolated enclaves.5 This clea-
Once completed:
The length of the Walls route will be be-
tween 726km and 790km in total. About 57
There are 630 closures in the West Bank
(as of March 2009). Closures take the form
of checkpoints, partial checkpoints, road
rly seriously jeopardises the potential viabi- per cent of the construction has already gates, roadblocks, earth mounds, trenches,
lity of a future Palestinian state. Due to the been completed, 9 per cent is under con- road barriers, earth walls, etc. This number
construction of the Wall inside the Green struction, and 34 per cent is planned. Only does not include a weekly reported average
Line, tens of thousands of Palestinians have 14 per cent of the total planned route of the of 6080 flying checkpoints or 78 obstacles
found themselves trapped between the two, Wall runs along the Green Line; 86 per cent in Hebron City, gates in the Wall, and eight
in areas called the seam zone, closed is located within the Green Line. Green Line checkpoints.
area, or buffer zone. These are also some East Jerusalem will be completely cut off
of the most fertile lands in the West Bank. from the West Bank. The Government of Israel has to date
The Wall and its buffer zone pave the way 125,000 Palestinians will be surrounded created 70 agricultural gates in the Wall. In
for large-scale demolitions. Family ties have on three sides. practice these do not guarantee access of
been disturbed, farmers separated from 35,000 Palestinians will live in closed Palestinian farmers to their lands but instead
their families, children from their schools, areas (enclaves). strengthen Israels strangling system of per-
and movement has become more difficult. 10.2 per cent of the West Bank lands, in- mits and checkpoints imposed on Palestini-
Palestinians residing in the closed area face cluding 42 Palestinian villages, will be enve- ans in the occupied West Bank.11
an uncertain future in terms of their personal loped by the most recent route of the Wall.
status and land status. According to the Is- The enclosed areas include valuable agri- The Government of Israel has started ope-
raeli seam zone authority, the closed area cultural and substantial water resources.8 ning so-called Fabric of Life roads, ma-
is intended to enable command and control The Wall will incorporate over 414,000 Is- king road infrastructure investments to
through the use of observation systems, as raeli settlers (up to 90 per cent of the total build alternative routes for Palestinians.
well as the provision of space for pursuit of settler population in the OPT) on its west The estimated cost of these is NIS2bn.12
suspects.6 side (Israeli side).9 To date, approximately 39km of roads have
been constructed and another 40km are
Since October 2003, the residents of the As of June 2008, the Wall passed through planned, while 43 tunnels and underpasses
closed area, as well as visitors and huma- 171 West Bank localities, affecting 712,313 have been constructed and a further 17 are
nitarian staff, have been required to obtain a Palestinians. So far it has resulted in the planned.
special type of permit, usually referred to as confiscation of 49,291 dunum of land, the
a green permit. This allows them to move isolation of another 274,607 dunum, and
in and out of the closed area through spe- the displacement of some 3, 880 house-
cific gates in the Wall, which do not operate holds (about 27,841 people).10

Total number of Daily open Seasonally/weekly Closed

agricultural gates open
70 22 20 28

10 - Five years of illegality

The Wall and its associated re- of displacement due to the construction of
gime put Palestinian communities the Wall, several thousand families in Area
C and East Jerusalem affected by demoli-
further at risk of forced displace-
tion orders, and the Arab Jahalin Bedouin
ment community, whose traditional land rights
Since 1967, internal displacement in the are not recognised by the Government of
OPT has directly and indirectly followed Israel. Meanwhile the Israeli state remains
policies and actions of the Government of the primary perpetrator of forced displace-
Israel, including house demolitions and the ment and does not provide assistance or
expropriation of land for settlement expan- protection to IDPs. Internal displacement
sion, construction of the Wall, revocation of is generally not recognised by the Govern-
residency rights, and military incursions and ment of Israel.
clearing operations. People have also been
displaced where the regime of closures and For the vast majority of internally displaced
limitations on freedom of movement have people in OPT, durable solutions remain
made the situation of residents of OPTs tied to the reversal of policies of occupa-
enclaves untenable. Following the Oslo Ac- tion, and an eventual final resolution to the
cords most displacement has been repor- conflict. NGOs and experts have warned
ted in the West Banks Area C and East that the failure of the international com-
Jerusalem. munity to address the underlying sources
of forced displacement is increasingly ren-
Displacement has entailed loss of family dering any notion of a two-state solution
unity, social welfare, and livelihoods, and defunct. Prioritisation of the rights of those
has also had wide-ranging physical and affected is ever more pressing, in light of the
psychological impacts, including trauma demographic changes that displacement
and anxiety for children. Communities in entails and the continuing consequences
areas under threat of expulsion or eviction that these changes will have for contested
have faced heightened protection risks, in- areas.13 n
cluding harassment and intimidation. They
include between 50,000 and 90,000 at risk

4 Unless indicated differently, the main source of information is UN OCHA,

5 Stop the Wall Campaign, May 2009, www.stopthewall.org
6 www.securityfence.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/route.htm
7 www.diakonia.se/sa/node.asp?node=969
8 World Bank, Palestinian Economic Prospects: Aid, Access and Reform.
Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, September
2008, www.worldbank.org
9 PLO Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD), www.nad-plo.org
10 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), June 2008,
11 Stop the Wall Campaign, May 2009, www.stopthewall.org
12 NIS: New Israeli Shekels. NIS1 equals about 5.4 or US$4.
13 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, www.internal-displacement.org

of illegality - 11- 1
aida refugee camp

If the Israelis want a wall,

let them build it on their side
of the Green Line!

Salah Ajarma

Confined to 66 dunum of land (6.6 hectares), 4,700 women, men, and

children are packed into Aida refugee camp, in the north of Bethlehem. In
all, four generations of refugees from 27 villages surrounding Jerusalem
live here. Having endured forced displacement and the daily difficulties
of life in the camp for decades, these refugees now face a new moral
and physical challenge: the construction of the Wall by Israel.

I n this area, the first construction work on

the Wall began in 2002. Since 2004, con-
crete blocks 8 metres high have tightly en-
creates noise and prevents the older ones
from studying. And playing in the streets is
dangerous because the soldiers can fire at
The refugees
circled the camp on two of its sides, stan- any moment. and international law
ding tight against the first houses. From the
top of watchtowers, Israeli soldiers often The Wall and its regime further worsen Universal Declaration of Human Rights
fire towards the houses and at the UNRWA socio-economic problems. The lack of pri- (1948), Article 13/2: Everyone has the right
school, which is close by. The school has vacy in this already overpopulated camp is to leave any country, including his own, and
had to block its windows to protect the pu- tearing households apart. Access to basic to return to his country.
pils and staff. The Israeli army frequently services is becoming increasingly difficult. UN Resolution 194 (1948), Article 11:
bursts into houses to carry out searches or To get drinking water, the inhabitants de- ... refugees wishing to return to their homes
make arrests. pend on the goodwill of the Israeli occupier: and live at peace with their neighbours
During the summer, we often have no water should be permitted to do so at the earliest
No one is safe for several days, continues Rasha, Salahs practicable date () compensation should
A constant state of tension has gradually wife. Why do you think we use so many be paid for the property of those choosing
been created: No one feels safe here, es- plastic cups and plates? To avoid having to not to return and for loss of or damage to
pecially the families living close to the Wall, wash the dishes too often! Although its not property...
explains Salah Ajarma, 36, father of two polite to give guests plastic cups... International Covenant on Civil and Poli-
girls. Since it was built, there have been tical Rights (1966), Article 12: No one shall
growing social problems. There is a despe- If the Israelis want to build a wall, thats be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter
rate lack of space for building housing and their problem, exclaims Salah. But let his own country.
creating green areas. Our children dont them build it on their side of the Green Line,
have their playground any more, as it is now not on our land! Not right in the middle of UNRWA
on the other side of the Wall. So the chil- Bethlehem, miles away from the settlements United Nations Relief and Works Agency
dren play in the streets of the camp, which that its supposed to protect! n for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East.
Established in 1949 to provide assistance
to the refugees of the first IsraeliArab con-
flict, this UN agency was also called upon
to aid the refugees of the 1967 conflict. n

No one feels safe here, especially the families living close to the Wall.

61 years later
we are once again
caught up in history

A block of new housing units of Har Gilo settlement.

For the people of Al-Walaja, as for hen you take the road leading from ders are regularly carried out. In this way,
many Palestinian communities, the Beit Jala to Al-Walaja, south of Je- the Israelis are trying to seize the rest of our
rusalem, the first houses you come land while, at the same time, getting rid of
history of expropriations, disposses- across are a block of new housing units of its inhabitants. The army doesnt stop ha-
sion, and expulsions began in 1948. Har Gilo settlement. A little further along, rassing us, turning up at our homes in the
Sixty-one years later, this village now on the other side of the road, you see the middle of the night and regularly destroying
has only 6,000 dunum of its ini- houses of the Palestinian village, stuck bet- houses.
tial 17,800 (600 hectares instead of ween the Green Line and the Wall. This road
also marks out the future line of the Wall. Eventually, this part of the village is expec-
1,780). The village of 1948 has been
It will scrupulously follow the boundary line ted to be used to build a new settlement. If
divided in two, with the residen- of the first houses of the village, separating those plans are carried out, Al-Walaja will
tial part transferred to Israeli jurisdic- the villagers from their farmlands. Where- be completely encircled by the Wall and the
tion following a land exchange with ver there are no houses, there will be the settlements and therefore deprived of a
Jordan. Since then, the villagers of Wall, comments the chairman of the local future. What remains of the village is loca-
Al-Walaja Al-Jadida the new Walaja council, Salih Hilmi Khalifa. And, on the ted in areas B and C, where any construc-
other side, there are 4,000 dunum of land tion and renovation project depends on
have not had access to that part that belong to us. permits that are granted or refused by the
of their land, which they can still see Israeli authorities. Although we, the adults,
when they look westwards. The chairman resumes: At the beginning of may be prepared to confront this situation
the 21st century, the 2,061 villagers of Al- of oppression, there is a risk that our youth
Walaja Al-Jadida are, once again, caught up will go and look for a better life elsewhere in
in history. During the occupation of 1967, order to be able to marry, have a job, and
Israel decided to illegally annex one of the live with dignity, says Salih Hilmi Khalifa,
villages quarters (Ayn Jwesia) to Jerusalem, expressing his concern. We will continue to
which came under its complete control. As oppose the Israeli project. They may have
the 600 inhabitants of this quarter hold West the military force that lets them do whatever
Bank identity cards and not Jerusalem IDs, they want but we have the force of law. But,
they have, since then, been considered as ultimately, all these questions are, first and
illegal immigrants. Demolition orders have foremost, political ones. n
been placed on their homes and those or-

Salih Hilmi Khalifa

Five Cinq
of illegality
- 13- 1

The Wall and the

checkpoint, the
scene of daily

The Wall and its checkpoints are important instruments,

part of the control system imposed on the Palestinians
in the occupied West Bank. They are also symbols of
the occupation and the main scenes of the humiliations
that are suffered on a day-to-day basis.

I t is only two in the morning, but already

the first Palestinian workers are beginning
to flock in. In this place, the main road con-
The iron maze
Between 6.30am and 7am, other Palestini-
ans working in Jerusalem arrive. Like Ibra-
This long procedure is particularly tiring for
the elderly and for sick people who are in
need of medical care in East Jerusalem.
necting Bethlehem with Jerusalem is cut him, they all have the same feeling of humi- The tiredness they experience is not due
off by the Wall. In order to pass through, liation, injustice, and frustration when they only to the endless waiting, but also to the
Palestinian workers have to wait until the wait in line, stuck between the iron bars that transport conditions they must endure even
checkpoint opens at 5.30am. As they wait, form corridors in front of the first gate of the before arriving at this checkpoint. Because
hundreds of them attempt to doze for a few checkpoint, which is built into one of the of the Wall, buses and collective taxis ser-
hours before going to work in Jerusalem concrete blocks of the Wall. Everyone has to ving the surrounding villages have had to
and Israeli cities. suffer the same ordeal. After showing their change their routes. Today, people must so-
identity papers and permit a first time, they metimes change buses three or four times
One of them is Ibrahim, 37, a construction have to go down another corridor leading before they even get here. n
worker who works regularly on building si- to the inside of the checkpoint. Here they
tes in Ashdod. He comes here this early in have to wait for the soldiers, sitting behind
order to be sure that he does not arrive late their bullet-proof windows, to operate the
for work. We never know whether were buttons that open and close the turnstiles
going to get through quickly or not, whether where people pass through one by one to
theyre going to search us more than usual, undergo security checks. These can range The Bethlehem neighbourhood next to the
he explains. This father of three has trouble from simply placing objects in the X-ray ma- Wall was one of the first places to suffer
finding words to express his feelings. What chine up to a full body search. They then the economic, social, psychological, and
is there to say? That hundreds of workers have to present their papers and permit religious asphyxiation created by the Wall
like me arrive here each night and work again, to other soldiers, or even place their that now spreads throughout the occupied
themselves into the ground just to feed their hand on a magnetic screen in order for the West Bank. Suhail Al-Khalila, a researcher
family? That we are angry and frustrated? computer to display their file. It is only then for the Palestinian organisation the Applied
Yes, its true. But what can we do? This Wall that they can finally get out of there. Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), re-
and these checkpoints are symbols, repre- calls the beginning in 2000, when the Israe-
senting all the humiliations that we suffer lis started blocking the entrance to Rachels
day after day. Tomb, a holy place for both Jews and Mus-
lims. First they surrounded the tomb with
blocks of concrete but left the entrance vi-
sible, before closing it completely in 2003.
At this time, the construction of the Wall
was already going at a great pace in the
northern West Bank. Today, the neighbour-
hood around the tomb is deserted. No one
comes here any more, whereas ten years
ago it was one of the most prosperous
neighbourhoods in Bethlehem. The eco-
nomic consequences were devastating for
its businesses, most of which had to close
shop, he says, regretfully. n

14 - Five years of illegality

beit jala

By uprooting our olive trees,

it is us they are destroying

To illustrate the dramatic economic conse-

quences of the Wall, Youssef Salim describes
the situation of the co-operative of which he
is a member.

Youssef Salim

F ounded in 1963 before the Israeli oc-

cupation the Beit Jala co-operative
now has 850 members and helps over
The olive tree: a symbol of Palestine
Thousands of olive trees are regularly up-
rooted as the Wall is built, which has con-
Eight years: 1.6m trees uprooted
2,000 farmers throughout the region around sequences not only for the Palestinian eco- For many Palestinians the olive tree is ir-
Bethlehem. Before the construction of the nomy but also for its cultural heritage. In replaceable; it is the primary source of in-
Wall, we harvested over 3,000 tonnes of the Palestinian culture, the olive tree is not come for more than 100,000 Palestinian fa-
olives; now we only have between 500 and merely an important source of income: it is milies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
1,000 tonnes depending on the year, ex- also a genuine symbol, continues Yous- However, since 1967, the Israeli army and
plains Youssef Salim, an olive grower from sef. It represents land, freedom, love, and settlers have regularly destroyed olive gro-
Beit Jala. We were self-sufficient, but today peace. It is a sacred tree for Christians and ves and orchards. The uprooting of trees
we are forced to buy from elsewhere. The Muslims. It is the inheritance which our fa- has increased since the beginning of the
result is that most Palestinian farmers now milies pass on to us from century to century. Second Intifada in 2000 and since work
live under the poverty line. When the Israelis uproot and burn down our started on the Wall in 2002.
olive trees, they are destroying us, the hu-
Youssef Salim is directly affected by this mans, at the same time. Between September 2000 and August
situation himself. Because of the Wall, a 2008, more than 1.6m trees were uprooted
section of his olive groves is now no longer The Palestinians economic and cultural at- in the occupied territories, contrary to inter-
accessible to him. I have 18 dunum (1.8 tachment to the olive tree makes it easier national law. It is estimated that more than
hectares) of olive trees isolated behind the to understand their unshakeable determina- 10 per cent of the Palestinian land isolated
Wall, he explains. For years now I havent tion to demand their rights. This struggle is by the Wall is used to cultivate olive trees.
been able to tend to them because it is ab- all the more vital, in Youssefs view, as the Attacks by Israeli settlers against olive fields
solutely forbidden to enter this zone. In any Wall is isolating the Palestinians more and and farmers have increased over the years
case, there is no agricultural gate to allow more, at a time when everyone is talking of and are particularly frequent around the
us to pass through. If we have the misfortu- a global village. Lets hope that one day harvesting period.
ne to get too close, the army arrives imme- the Israelis will become aware of the situa-
diately to chase us away. These 18 dunum tion and will return to international law and Source: Applied Research Institute
allowed me to produce 1,350 litres of olive ideas of justice. It is the only way that we - Jerusalem (ARIJ)
oil per year. And I risk losing 23 additional can possibly live together in this land, he www.poica.org/editor/case_studies/view.
dunum because they are surrounding water concludes. n php?recordID=1632 n

Five Cinq
of illegality - 15- 1

Confiscating land
by all possible means

Sharif Omar

Numerous Israeli measures lead to Palestinian

farmers being dispossessed of their lands. Sharif
Omar, a farmer from the village of Jayyous, details
the different methods used.

Permits by drip-feed plots. This whole procedure takes place in But the soldiers are often late, dont come
A permit to access your own land? At first, co-ordination with the Palestinian Authority. at all, or close the gate a quarter of an hour
the farmers of Jayyous, who have been earlier in the morning, explains Sharif. The
separated from their fields by the Wall, re- Permit refusals are increasing, and are usu- fact that the Jayyous gate opens at incre-
fused outright to bow to this demand. But ally justified on security grounds. This is an asingly irregular times is, in his view, ab-
with the balance of power working against explanation that puzzles Sharif Omar, a solutely deliberate. They are pushing us
them, they finally had to resign themselves 66-year-old farmer: Two years ago, I had to use the Falamiya gate, four kilometres
to it, reluctantly. to wait seven months before being able to from here, where, theoretically, were not
go to my land. My eldest son, Azzam, is a allowed to pass but where the solders turn
Obtaining this precious document is no businessman. He has a permit to go to Is- a blind eye, he says. Why are they sending
easy task. Some Palestinians find themsel- rael to Netanya, Tel Aviv, or Hafa but he us over there? Because the Jayyous gate
ves blacklisted by the Israelis and cannot has no permit to go with me to our land here is near the area where the Israelis are plan-
obtain a permit. Those who have passed in Jayyous. ning new land confiscations! So, I suppose
security clearance can demand access to they want to get rid of this gate in the future.
Why do you think, by chance, the Falamiya
their lands. But first they have to produce Agricultural gates in the Wall
identity papers, have documents proving one is open 12 hours a day...
Once the permit is obtained, a farmer can
that they are the owners of the land or that then go to the nearest agricultural gate. In
they have inherited it, fill out various forms, Jayyous, this gate is supposed to be open Legal ploys
and produce photographs of the land three times a day, for half an hour at a time. As we do not accept to be dispossessed of
The gate is supposed to be open three times a day, for half an hour at a time.

our lands, all means are used to take them authorities take aerial photographs in May Omar Mohammad, which the Israelis turn
from us by force. Then, legal ploys do the and November, that is to say before planting into Sharif Mohammad Omar Khalid. So my
rest, he continues. Once the Palestinian and after harvesting. And so its difficult to eldest son, Azzam, is called Azzam Sharif
farmers are separated from their lands by prove that you are taking care of your land Mohammad Khalid, and my grandson is
the Wall or by the closed military zones, the all year round. called Sharif Azzam Sharif Khalid. On first
Israeli authorities invoke laws dating back to glance, there is no obvious link left between
the time of Ottoman or British rule, as well The battle of names their names and my fathers name. So, in a
as the absentee property law, to try to give Another dispossession technique is that of few years time, the Israelis will be able to
a legal framework to these confiscations. family names. Traditionally, Palestinians go state that my grandson has no link with the
The Ottoman law specifies, for example, by their first name, followed by those of their family land. n
that any land neglected by its owner even- father and paternal grandfather. But the Is-
tually becomes public property. By preven- raelis are now making them add their family
ting us from accessing our land, the Israelis name, which completely changes the infor-
can then easily say that we are not taking mation. My familys lands are registered
care of it, protests the farmer. The land is under my fathers name, Mohammad Omar
under constant surveillance and the Israeli Mohammad. My name is Sharif Mohammad

(FiveCinq (
of illegality - 17- 1
azzun atmeh

The labyrinth
of bans and

In the village of Azzun Atmeh, south of Qalqiliya, life is regu-

lated by the sad ritual of bans and restrictions. Encircled by
the settlements of Shaarei Tikv and Oranit and by the Wall,
this little village of 1,085 souls has been divided into two.
Completely isolated, its inhabitants are now subjected to
checkpoints, permits, and daily humiliations.

A bdelkarim Ayoub, secretary of the local

council, lives with a number of other fa-
milies in the most remote part of the village.
morning and evening, the schools pupils
and teachers undergo the same experience
of waiting and humiliation at the checkpoint.
allow us to pass the checkpoint and conti-
nue to live... in our own homes! exclaims
Abdelkarim Ayoub. Some people have to
My neighbours and I are completely boxed The olive groves next to the settlement are renew their permit every month, others eve-
in, says this father of five children. Its out also isolated. For us to get there, the sol- ry six months or every year. So the soldiers
of the question for us to bring in a donkey or diers have to be present, explains Abdel- can decide at any time to prevent a villager
a vehicle: everything we want to bring back karim. But the problem is that they show from going home. This means that social life
here has to be carried by hand. up when they want to. They arrive at eight is reduced to nothing. We are a small com-
oclock in the morning instead of six, and munity and there is no doctor living here
When he leaves the house to go some- in the evening they dont come and get us full time. So we dont have access to basic
where outside the village, Abdelkarim has until its pitch black. Sometimes they dont health services. We called upon a mobile
to go through two checkpoints, gates in the show up at all. How can we work and look clinic that comes here once a fortnight. But
Wall: the first one to enter another section after our trees properly under these condi- even the mobile clinic team has to have a
of the village, where some 75 other families tions? For the olive harvest, some families permit to be able to enter.
are also locked in, and the second one to are given permits, but not until December
leave the villages main gate. when the olives are already on the ground. From 10pm to 6am, the village is completely
cut off from the world. At night, its out of
The Shaarei Tikva settlement, east of Az- A permit to live at home the question for us to be ill, to have to give
zun Atmeh, is steadily expanding. Its first The permits system in force in the village birth, or have any problem at all at home:
houses are now adjacent to those of the turns the right to live in ones own home into neither ambulances nor the fire truck can
villagers and to one of the schools. Every a privilege. Permanent residence permits enter. Its also impossible to go out and see

1 - Cinq ans dillegalit


Hanan Yacoub, 20, Shadia Maghaba, headmistress

local resident of Azzun Atmeh of the Ras Al-Tira school

Two years ago, I took part in a first aid trai- Shadia Maghaba wages a daily battle in-
ning course organised by the NGO PMRS side her school. Every day, she tries to
[Palestinian Medical Relief Society]. My give the 280 pupils a normal education in
mother was expecting my brother and was a completely abnormal environment. The
about to give birth. It was evening. We were Wall runs just next to this school. Some
friends, he laments. We try to talk to the not allowed through the checkpoint to go pupils live on the other side and so every
soldiers in an emergency but they make us to the hospital in Qalqilya. In the end, she day have to endure the arbitrariness of the
wait for one or two hours, tell us that they had to give birth in the car. My little brother soldiers in order to reach class and return
are not allowed to come and let us in or out, was still attached by the umbilical cord home. Many schoolchildren walk several
or just admit that they dont feel like coming. when my parents returned home. My mo- miles to come to school. When a child is
This village has become a real prison. n ther and brother needed treatment. I cal- late home, the parents panic: a quarter of
led my instructor to ask her what to do. I an hour late and they call me, worried sick.
didnt know what to do. My mother and my And with good reason: their children can be
brother could have died! My little brother held for an indefinite period at the check-
was named Karim, which means generous. point. Sometimes, the parents have to go
Because God was generous in keeping him and look for their children at a military camp
alive. Today, Hanan is completing her trai- where the soldiers have taken them. n
ning as a midwife and works as a nurse in a
hospital in Nablus. n

Shadia Maghaba

Five Cinq
of illegality
- 19- 1
nilin et bilin

The choice of
non-violent resistance

Salah Khajawa

Faced with the serious problems caused by the Wall and the set-
tlements, Palestinian communities have set up Popular Resistance
Committees, which organise peaceful resistance activities. Two
examples are Nilin and Bilin, two villages which regularly make
the news because of their non-violent actions against the Israeli
Wall and settlements built on their lands.

Nilin: The Israelis will do every- five inhabitants of Nilin have been killed in pier. Mohammad Abu Rahma, co-ordinator
thing they can to put this move- the past few years, including a child of ten, of the Popular Resistance Committee, be-
Ahmed Mousa, who was shot in the head. lieves that there was no other choice and,
ment down
Some 600 people Palestinian villagers, Is- above all, nothing to lose. The lawsuit has
From the plateau situated at the upper end
raeli pacifists, and international volunteers enabled the village to recover some of the
of the village of Nilin, you can clearly make
have been injured at least once and do- lands however, only in theory, because to
out the Green Line, the settlements, the
zens of others have been abducted from date the army has refused to comply with
Wall, and the impact of the forced displace-
their homes by the Israeli army literally in the orders of the High Court. This is one
ment on Palestinians since 1948. That year,
the middle of the night, including children of the facts that strengthen the villagers in
Nilin lost 50,800 dunum of land (5,080 hec-
aged from 1013 years of age. Salah Kha- their conviction that the Israelis do not want
tares), then another 14,600 in 1967 (1,460
waja, a member of the Popular Resistance peace or the establishment of a Palestinian
hectares). With the help of the Wall, the six
Committee is convinced that the Israelis State within the 1967 borders.
settlements that have been constructed ne-
will do anything to put down this peaceful
arby are gradually taking what remains.
resistance movement, because they know Other trials of this type are under way, in-
that it can serve as an example. cluding in the Canadian courts. The tar-
Here, as in the rest of the occupied West
gets are two Canadian companies that are
Bank, the land continues to be taken away
Bilin: The Wall is fully part of the constructing apartments in the Matityahu
from beneath the feet of its villagers. Ho-
system to steal our lands settlement on land belonging to Bilin. In
wever, these villagers are famous for their
To try to recover their lands, many villages this case, the Committee will not settle for
non-violent resistance. One of the activities
are also taking legal action. In Bilin, lengthy compensation but wants to obtain repara-
they engage in involves going as close as
debates were necessary before the Commit- tions, that is to say the simple demolition of
possible to the bulldozers responsible for
tee was able to go to the Israeli High Court, the parts of the settlement and the Wall al-
levelling the land in order to force the ma-
in order to obtain a deviation of the Walls ready built, a full halt to construction work,
chines to stop work, which is costly for the
route and to recover part of their lands con- the restitution of the land, and the payment
contractors. During the demonstrations that
fiscated for its construction. Some villagers of compensation for the damages and los-
they organise weekly, adults and children
were opposed to the idea of going to claim ses suffered. Obviously, these legal actions
face the soldiers and the bulldozers toge-
our rights before the courts of the occu- are expensive, emphasises Mohammad
ther. However, this resistance has a price:

20 -1Five
- Cinq
Rima, inhabitant of Nilin:

The Wall has repercussions for all of us. As

parents, we are very worried about the fu-
ture of our children. The unemployment rate
is constantly rising and delinquency poses a
threat to our young people. They risk losing
their spirit of resilience, abandoning all hope
of improving their daily lives. Thats why
we, women, have a crucial role to play. We
are, at the same time, wives, mothers, and
grandmothers. We form the link between the
Abu Rahma. The costs of the cases against lonisation. The Wall and the settlements generations. Its an important responsibility,
the two Canadian companies alone are esti- are killing us off economically, socially, and which we are ready to take on in order to de-
mated at $50,000. The Palestinian Authority psychologically, continues Mohammad fend our families, our homes, and our lands.
pays half and the rest is funded by outside Abu Rahma. The Wall is not just a physi- How could I fail to react when a soldier ta-
donations. cal obstacle: it is fully part of the system to kes up position on the roof of my home and
steal our lands, just like the colonies which might well shoot my son? All of us, young
These examples show that many Palesti- continue expanding at our expense. But we people and adults, will continue together to
nians are choosing a strategy of peaceful will not allow a repetition of the mass expul- face the occupation and the settlement po-
resistance against the mechanisms of co- sion of 1948 or even that of 1967. n licy, the army and the settlers, by taking part
in non-violent actions near the Wall. n


Five Cinq
of illegality
- 21- 21

No development is possible
if youre imprisoned and
under occupation

Muwafaq Amer

Cut off from Jerusalem by the Wall and by Israeli settle-

ments, the inhabitants of Hizma also face serious problems
in accessing water. The blue gold is first of all reserved for
the neighbouring settlements.

I n Hizma, a Palestinian village in the sub-

urbs of East Jerusalem, the main impact
of the extension of the settlements and the
ployed, unable to pay their bills. As a result,
the families of Hizma become increasingly
indebted and frequently have their water
Isolated behind the Wall
construction of the Wall is that of being cut supply cut off. Due to the Wall, a hundred or so residents
off from its natural environment. The village of Hizma are cut off from the rest of the vil-
has lost nearly 4,300 dunum of land (430 But the problem of water in Hizma doesnt lage. This is the case for Ahmed and his
hectares) and no fewer than 35 wells. These end there. The water main is old, explains family. The total isolation began in 2006,
springs, located in Palestinian territory de- Muwafaq Amer, the head of the village when they finished the Wall in our area. We
signated as Area C, have been confiscated council. It dates from the 1970s and is full of found ourselves separated from our fami-
by the State of Israel, to give priority in wa- leaks, which leads to a lot of water wastage lies. In order to go home, we now have to
ter supply to its settlements. and pollution. The whole water supply net- face the soldiers and endure their moods,
work should have been replaced a long time he explains.
The people of Hizma depend on the Ramal- ago. This would cost around 112,000.
lah water company for their water supply. These families do not have the right to en-
This company bills its clients and then must Since 1967, Israeli military orders have de ter with their cars, which means that eve-
pay the Israeli company Mekorot. However, facto prevented Palestinians from digging rything has to be carried, on foot: bags of
the latter charges prices that are three to wells, which forces families to opt for buil- vegetables as well as gas cylinders and
five times higher than those set for the set- ding private water cisterns. Even if we were water containers. Even wheelchair patients
tlements. to find a solution for the supply, the waste are not allowed in by car, sighs Ahmed. My
and pollution of water would remain a real sister-in-law is disabled. We have to carry
No work, no water problem, concludes the head of the local her ourselves, on our backs. n
Separated from Jerusalem by the Wall, the council. Its a vicious circle which brings us
villagers now have to go through a check- back to the only possible solution: ending
point to get to their places of work. But as the occupation and getting rid of this Wall.
permits are granted only for short periods No development of communities is possible
and in an increasingly random way, many when youre imprisoned and under occupa-
doctors, employees, and labourers working tion. n
in Jerusalem now find themselves unem-

View from Hizma on the Pisgat Zeev settlement.

1 - Cinq ans dillegalit


Making our lives as

difficult as possible
to make us leave

Sewage from Ariel settlement.

Located in the north of Salfit district, the village of Marda is
being put under heavy pressure by the Israeli occupier and
by the settlers of Ariel. On top of the problems caused by
the construction of the Wall and the confiscation of land,
there is also a serious problem of water pollution.

At first sight, it seems that nothing could dis- The battle for water Since 1947, all the United Nations resoluti-
turb the tranquillity of the 2,400 inhabitants Access to water is also a huge problem for ons have been flouted, he complains. The
of Marda, a small village nestling at the foot the people of Marda. The villagers are for- International Court of The Hague has decla-
of a hill, in the midst of olive trees. But the ced to buy their drinking water from the Is- red that the Wall built inside the Green Line
gate situated at the main entrance to the vil- raeli company Mekorot, even though there is illegal. In 2004, it recommended halting its
lage is the first sign of an abnormal situa- are three significant springs very close by. construction and destroying the part already
tion. In fact, the Israeli army has erected two However, two of them are under exclusive built. But the Israelis continue to build this
gates, which it opens and closes as it sees Israeli control, being located behind the fu- wall without any sanctions from the interna-
fit. Once they close the gates, we become ture route of the Wall. The amounts of water tional community. So how do you expect us
prisoners in our own village, surrounded by that they allocate to us are inadequate and to have faith in international justice? n
barbed wire, says Imm Qayis, a nurse at there is not enough pressure for the homes
the local medical centre. Often we are even in the upper part of the village, explains
trapped inside our own homes, because the Imm Qayis. The Israelis charge us steep
army regularly imposes curfews. prices for water and, curiously, those prices Water scarcity is a major
fluctuate widely although we always use the concern in the West Bank
Looking up from the village, there is another same quota. But we dont have access to
danger that continually threatens the vil- the meter. Access to, and control over, water resour-
lagers. Right at the top of the hill, you can ces is a constant struggle. Under interna-
clearly make out the barbed wire and the There is still the third spring, which is ac- tional law, a significant part of the water
first houses of Ariel, the largest Israeli settle- cessible because it is situated in the mid- sources that Israel uses to meet its needs,
ment in the northern part of the West Bank. dle of the village. But analyses have to be including that of the settlements, should be
Because of this settlement, the route of the carried out to check the quality of its water. shared equitably and reasonably by both Is-
Wall cuts deep into this region. There is a The land and the groundwater are polluted raelis and Palestinians.
constantly present risk of seeing the settlers by the outflow of waste water discharged
turn up in the fields to attack Palestinian far- by the settlers in Ariel. The only free water Israeli per capita water consumption is more
mers a frequent occurrence here. In additi- in the village is the sewage that makes its than five times higher than that of West
on to this violence, there is also the tactic of way along the hillside until it reaches the vil- Bank Palestinians (350 litres per person
letting loose wild boars, which wreck crops lage houses, damaging the olive groves in per day in Israel compared to 60 litres per
and scare the villagers. the area. person per day in the West Bank, excluding
East Jerusalem). West Bank Palestinian wa-
The water supply problem is also accom- ter consumption is 40 litres less than the
panied by problems of access to electricity, minimum global standards set by the World
which has deterred the village from instal- Health Organization (WHO).
ling an olive oil press. In the opinion of Sadiq
Al-Khufash, chairman of the local council, all Source: UN OCHA, The Humanitarian Im-
these problems have just one and the same pact on Palestinians of Israeli Settlements
aim: to make the life of the villagers as diffi- and other Infrastructure in the West Bank
cult as possible in order to make them leave. (July 2007) n
This makes him bitter about the credibility of
international law.

Five years of illegality

Cinq ans - 23- 1
Imm Qayis

The olive trees as a frontline

Although they are 17km away from the Green Line, the inha-
bitants of Immatin face a very real border each and every day:
that of the Wall, which cuts deeply through this area in order to
incorporate the three settlements surrounding the village. Here
the villagers, when trying to access their land, are faced with
their most serious problem, the violence of Israeli settlers.

Farouq Ghanam

I n Immatin, olive and almond trees are vital

resources. Most of the villagers income
depends on these trees, of which a large
opens fire or throws teargas that is so po-
werful you think youre dying on the spot.
settlers set fire to our olive trees, in front of
the soldiers. The soldiers would not allow
the firefighters to come while the settlers
number are isolated behind barbed wire. In The olive groves have now become an open were still there. So we also stayed, and the
total, 4,000 dunum (400 hectares) of farm- line of confrontation between, on the one army then ordered the settlers to leave.
land have been separated from the village hand, the settlers and armed Israeli soldiers
in this way. Attempting to access these land and, on the other, villagers who are deter- The Israeli settlers also carry out raids on the
plots is a serious challenge for the farmers, mined to farm and protect their land. My fa- village, with or without the presence of the
who often face verbal and physical assaults mily has a field very close to the outpost of army. If the army is present, there are two
from the Israeli settlers living nearby. When Gilat [a settlement that is not recognised by options: either they decide that the group of
we go to these fields, we always go as a the Israeli government], one of the villagers settlers is not large enough to confront us
group, explains Farouq Ghanam, an inha- tells us. One day, my father and brother and they evacuate them, or that there are
bitant of the village. If we are alone, close went there to work, alone. Seeing that enough of them and they let them vandalise
to the future route of the Wall, it is even ea- settlers were arriving, they called us and the the village, says the villager. n
sier for the settlers to attack us. And this is whole village went up there. We were really
without taking into account the army, which scared. There were confrontations and the

Increasing Palestinian casualties

In the first 10 months of 2008, the United

Nations Office for the Coordination of Hu-
manitarian Affairs (OCHA) recorded 290
settler-related incidents targeting Palesti-
nians and their property. This figure, while
not comprehensive, reflects a worrying
trend, since it surpasses the total recorded
by OCHA in each of the previous two years
(182 in 2006 and 243 in 2007). 293 Palesti-
nians got injured and 4 killed as a result of
settlers violence between 2006 and 2008.
During the same period, 116 Israeli settlers
got injured and 10 killed as a result of Pa-
lestinian violence.

Source: UN OCHA, Special Focus: Unpro-

tected: Israeli settler violence against Pa-
lestinian civilians and their property (De-
cember 2008) n

In Immatin the olive groves have become an open line of confrontation.

24 - Five years of illegality

al-khan al-ahmar

Bedouins deprived of water

and grazing lands

Abu Raeb

Displaced since 1948

It is often forgotten, but the Palestinian people also include a
Historically, the Palestinian Bedouins lived
large Bedouin community. The ancestral way of life of these mostly in the Negev desert (the area of Bir
semi-nomadic people, which is completely different from that As-Saba and south of Hebron). Some tribes
of residents of villages and towns, has also been greatly dis- originate from Galilee. In 1948, there were
rupted since 1948. It is directly affected by the consequences between 50,000 and 90,000 Bedouins in the
of the ongoing Israeli construction of the Wall and settlement Negev, grouped in 92 clans living in an area
of about 11,870,000 dunum (1,187,000 hec-
tares). Between July and November 1948,
at least 11 of these clans were forcibly dis-
placed from their land by the newly-created

I n order to survive, Bedouin families count

on two things: sources of water and gra-
zing lands for their animals. These are re-
Bedouins themselves must endure extreme
living conditions. With each day that pas-
ses, the settlements and the Wall gnaw
Israeli army. As the decades went by, the Be-
douins were forced to leave their land, which
is still threatened with expropriation today.
sources that are increasingly lacking for the away at their living space. Access to water Some clans settled in the West Bank, in par-
tribes in the West Bank. Today, the 7,500 and to a large part of the land essential for ticular in the regions of Jericho, Bethlehem,
members of the hamula (clans or extended livestock breeding is now forbidden. Basic Hebron, and Jerusalem, where they continue
families) of the largest tribe, that of the Arab services are non-existent. A drinking water to face forced displacement. n
Jahalin, bear the social and economic con- pipe is in fact visible, but it is reserved for
sequences of the extension of Israeli settle- nearby settlements, on the other side of the
ments and the construction of the Wall. Wall. We had to make a connection in the
pipe to reroute the water so that our fami- By taking over water and land, the settle-
One camp of the Arab Jahalin is located lies and animals could drink, explains Abu ments and the Wall directly damage the
five minutes away from the Israeli settle- Raeb. Were merely taking back what was Bedouins way of life. The simplest habits
ment of Maale Adumim, between Jerusa- taken from us by the Israelis. They are trying of their way of life such as sleeping under
lem and Jericho, right in the middle of Area to deprive us of everything we have to force the stars when it is too hot in summer are
C. Although water sources and grazing for us to leave. completely disrupted. The security guards
animals are not lacking in this region, the [private companies hired by the settlements]
often turn up here at night with their 4x4s.
Our children are woken up with a start,
frightened, says Abu Raeb, whose brother
was recently arrested because he had tried
to graze their herd of goats on land close to
a settlement. The security guards called in
the army, claiming that he had thrown sto-
nes at one of their dogs and at a car, he
sighs. n

Abu Nimr with the children of the Bedouin camp.

Five years of illegality - 25

al-quds university, abu dis

When studying
becomes a day-to-day challenge


In Abu Dis, a Palestinian village adjacent to East Jerusalem, con-

crete blocks 89 metres high cut across the main road leading
to the capital. The Wall, which blocks the sun from reaching
the houses and shops located at its foot, runs alongside the
road leading up to Al-Quds University and continues its winding
path towards Bethlehem. The university, which has over 9,000
students, can no longer be expanded: any extensions for new
lecture halls or sports facilities are impossible due to this physi-
cal obstacle, which not only blocks out the horizon but also the
students future.

B eing a student at Al-Quds University re-

quires a strong will, if only to arrive at
lectures on time each morning. The Wall
the 2,000 students who come from East
Jerusalem now takes about an hour and
a half, without counting the checkpoints
For this young woman, the Wall is a daily
ordeal. I have to see it and go through it
every day to go to lectures and to return
has a major impact on all aspects of uni- where soldiers deal in a particular way with home. At the checkpoints, I see Israeli bu-
versity life, both for students and teaching students. If you happen to forget your iden- ses passing through without any problems,
staff. It makes it difficult to follow lectures, tity papers, its impossible to get through, whereas ours are immediately stopped and
prevents students from concentrating, and complains Abeer, a law student. To go searched. Every day, we have to get out so
harms social life within the University itself, to lectures, its more problematic to forget the soldiers can check our papers and in-
says Dr. Ziyad Qannam, head of the depart- your identity papers than your books. spect the bus. Its really humiliating. Since
ment for sustainable development. when has studying represented a danger to
The power of law the Israelis?
The Wall now cuts the main road down the Abeer didnt decide to study law by chance.
middle along its full length, and students It is her way of fighting against the human When we arrive, even before going into lec-
have to make long journeys to get to lectu- rights violations committed in the occupied tures, were already thinking about the pro-
res, even when they live close by. A journey Palestinian Territory, in particular in East blems that await us on the journey home,
that would normally take 1520 minutes for Jerusalem, where she lives with her family. explains one of her fellow students, Mutaz.

1 - Cinq ans dillegalit

Students and teaching staff experience the some of the best years of their lives by ha- Usama Al-Risheq, co-ordinator of
same problems when travelling to the uni- ving fun and meeting others. In the shadow the campaign against the Wall and
versity; the first challenge lies in bringing of the Wall, there is limited space to express for the right to education at Al-
together a majority of the students and ideas of freedom and democracy. And the
their lecturer at the same time in the lecture only windows on the world remain virtual:
Quds University:
hall. Exam schedules need to be readjus- via telephone, television, or the Internet. n
Starting with the example of our University,
ted systematically. University life is almost
we are trying to get the attention of the out-
non-existent: lectures are grouped together
side world to the violations of the right to
in the space of a few hours, and social or
education which Palestinian students face
cultural activities are few and far between.
due to the Wall and the Israeli occupation.
All the measures taken by the occupier, like
In order to try and adapt to the problems
the checkpoints and the Wall, flout our ba-
involved in reaching the university, some
sic right to education. I know that a lot of
students live in studio flats in Abu Dis. This
people here think our efforts have no im-
entails extra expense for their families, yet
pact on opinions in the West. But as future
does not enable these students to enjoy
lawyers, we believe in the international com-
munitys obligation to protect our rights.
This campaign is also aimed at making our
students understand the significance of the
violations they are facing. We Palestinians
are so accustomed to humiliation that some
of us no longer even pay any attention to
it and react with indifference. We have to
make them aware of the fact that what they
are being subjected to is absolutely not nor-
mal. n

Five Cinq
of illegality
- 27- 1

It is not too late to change

the course of things

Allegra Pacheco is head of the advocacy unit of the Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian
Territory (OCHA-oPT). She explains to us the restrictions on move-
ment and access imposed on Palestinians and expresses the hope
that international law can be utilised more consistently.

Could you describe the system Israeli authorities. Palestinians who want to kind of compensation aimed at solving
of restrictions on the freedom of build on their lands in these areas cannot some of the problems caused by the Bar-
access them and face house demolitions. rier, the checkpoints, and the settlements.
movement imposed upon the Pa-
Moreover, 9 per cent of the West Bank is About 100km of the primary road network
lestinians? classified as natural reserves. This might in the West Bank is already partly or wholly
First, lets clarify things: when we talk about sound nice, but when you look at the map non-accessible for the Palestinians in cer-
freedom of movement, we are talking in fact you see that these zones are generally lo- tain sections, where they are blocked by
about a multi-layered system of restrictions cated next to the military zones, or in some obstacles, walls, or long fences. Israel has
that restrict access to space, not only to the cases even inside the military zones. They already renovated and expanded several
road network. The system in place inclu- are actually an extension of the zones to main checkpoints located in the middle
des more than 600 road obstacles such as which the Palestinians no longer have ac- of the West Bank to facilitate Palestinian
checkpoints and earth mounds. In addition, cess. Access is also forbidden for Palesti- movement through them but these large
it includes the Barrier: if construction of this nians without a permit to approximately 3 investments in checkpoint expansions raise
continues as currently planned, it will be per cent of the land where settlements are our concern that these checkpoints are be-
726km long, nearly double the length of the located. coming permanent.
Green Line. The objection to the route of the
Barrier is simple: 86 per cent of it is located Currently the Israelis are investing a lot of
inside the West Bank itself and not on the
Israel is currently building a lot of
tunnels, refurbishing checkpoints, money to reinforce this system. All of this is
demarcation line of June 1967 between Is- happening in an occupied territory where,
rael and the occupied Palestinian Territory. and rebuilding roads. What is the under international humanitarian law, chan-
Because of this, the Barrier is separating purpose of this? ges to the territory by the occupying power
Palestinians from each other and from their Israel has already built 39 alternative roads should be for the benefit of the local popu-
lands. and 30 passageways under primary roads lation. In this case, the major changes to in-
in the West Bank. The objective is to put frastructure are designed to accommodate
These physical obstacles are complemen- in place a separate and secondary road the commuting and security needs of the
ted by administrative restrictions. Whereby, network for Palestinians and to reserve Israeli settlers.
more than 20 per cent of the West Bank has the original network for the use of Israeli
been declared closed military zone by the settlers. For Israel, this road network is a

28 - Five years of illegality

Demonstration against building the Wall, Brussels 2003 Eric de Mildt

What about the permits system, in the case of localities that are close by it, International Court of Justice calling upon
and also indirectly due to the physical and Israel to cease construction of the Barrier
and the fact that the number of
administrative obstacles associated with it, inside the occupied Palestinian Territory
permits issued keeps on decrea- and to dismantle what it has already built.
such as going to Jerusalem, for example.
sing? This opinion was overwhelmingly reaffirmed
One of our surveys, conducted last year in by the General Assembly, including the EU,
several dozen villages in the north of the
Can the Palestinians still hope that
which voted as a block to affirm the ICJ opi-
West Bank, revealed that approximately 80 the international justice will put nion. There is room for continued lobbying
per cent of the Palestinians who used to go an end to the construction of the regarding the implementation of the advi-
to lands on the other side of the Barrier have Barrier, or even lead to it being dis- sory opinion rendered by the ICJ. n
not received permits from the Israeli autho- mantled?
rities. The remaining 20 per cent who have According to the United Nations and the In-
received permits are often elderly people ternational Court of Justice in The Hague,
who no longer have the physical capacity the underlying problem is the route of the
to work in their fields, while their children or Barrier and not its construction itself, which
grandchildren do not have permits. We even Israel considers essential for the protection
came across the case of a permit delivered of its citizens. International opinion is that if
to a Palestinian who for the past 20 years Israel still wants a wall, it should be built on
has lived in Australia. the Green Line and not inside the occupied
Palestinian Territory.
The same problem emerges with access
to water and the maintenance of wells. Be- It is not too late to change the course of
cause of the Barrier, many agricultural water things: the Barrier is not completed. More-
sources are cut off from the land that they over, its construction has slowed down over
supply, as in Jayyous, for example. Tens the past three years, apparently due to a
of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thou- lack of funds, according to the Israeli me-
sands, of Palestinians have been affected dia. We have today a half-completed Bar-
by the construction of this Barrier: directly rier coupled with an advisory opinion of the

Five years
Cinq ans
of illegality
- 29- 1
Oxfam International

Oxfam International is a confederation of thirteen organizations working toge-

ther in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice:
Oxfam America, Oxfam Australia, Oxfam-in-Belgium, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam
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and Oxfam Qubec. Please call or write to any of the agencies for further infor-
mation, or visit www.oxfam.org.

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Oxfam International Secretariat:
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Oxfam International Oxfam observer members.
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Five years of illegality - 31

08448 july 2009 - 102