Security Barrier

(Security Fence, Separation Fence)
   The physical barrier—a combination of chain-link fences, walls, watchtowers, no-go zones, high-tech sensors, and surveillance cameras — constructed by Israel beginning in 2002 to guard its citizens from suicide bombers and other forms of terrorism emanating from the West Bank during the Al-Aksa intifada. The barrier's primary objective of enhancing the personal security of Israeli citizens was fulfilled immediately, as demonstrated by the more than 90 percent reduction in the number of successful terrorist incursions from areas of the West Bank where construction of the barrier was completed. Nevertheless, the barrier's construction created a storm of protest, with the Palestinians and their international supporters likening it to an "Apartheid Wall."
   While reaffirming support for Israel's right to take steps to protect its citizens against terror, including building the security barrier, many Western countries, including the United States, did express concern about the extension of parts of the barrier deeply into Palestinian-dominated areas of the West Bank and the impact this was having on the quality of life of the local Palestinians.
   On 30 June 2004, the Supreme Court of Israel, in an unprecedented and historic ruling, ordered the government of Israel to modify the route of the security barrier. The court reiterated that the state had the sovereign right—and obligation—under international law to construct the barrier where it chose to do so to protect its citizens from terror and affirmed that (contrary to international accusations) the state's primary motivation in constructing the barrier was national security. Nevertheless, the court concluded that, the state—however unwittingly—had not taken due regard of the social, economic, and humanitarian impact of the barrier on the Palestinian civilian population. It ordered that the route of sections of the barrier, specifically those that extended well beyond the Green Line, be redrawn.
   The revised route of the security barrier, adhering more closely to the Green Line, was approved by Israel's government on 20 February 2005. It was assumed, although never explicitly acknowledged by any Israeli official, that the new route would become the future border between Israel and an independent Palestinian state. Construction of the security barrier, in phases, continued through 2006 and 2007. Israel saw the fence as a significant obstacle to Palestinian terrorist operations, and this was occasionally supported by Palestinian leaders.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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