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Photo: Tal Cohen
The fence (Archive photo)
Photo: Tal Cohen
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
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Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
250,000 Palestinians fenced in, says report
Separation fence closes off 21 Palestinian enclaves, some completely cut off
Some 250,000 Palestinians have been closed off from the rest of the West Bank by the separation fence, according to a report released by "Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights" human rights organization.

 

The report said there were 21 such enclaves and that 8,000 Palestinians lived in "seam enclaves" stuck between the Green Line and the separation fence.

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According to the report, there are 21 enclaves in the Palestinian Territories, home to some 250,000 Palestinians. 8,000 of them live in "seam enclaves" stuck between the Green Line and the separation fence.

 

"This population is living behind fences, under a regime of permits and bans, in an area cut off from the rest of the West Bank's residents, including friends and first-degree relatives," the report said.

 

In some areas, the villages are fenced in from three or four angles, cutting them off from urban centers, sources of livelihood and service centers, severely harming daily life to the point of disintegration of the Palestinian society in the area.

 

The report revealed that in some cases the situation is such that single homes are disconnected from the towns they belong to, turning their residents into "guests" in their own homes.

 

"This forms a horrible situation in which a man living in his home for decades is forced to get a periodic permit in order to be in the area were he lives. Without this permit, he is subject to the penalties of the law – up to five years in prison or a heavy fine," the report said.

 

Regarding medical issues, the report showed that: "In order to reach hospitals in nearby towns, the enclaves' residents must pass through the fence's gates, which is not possible during the nighttime, meaning that the time passing before soldiers are called in an emergency could be the difference between life and death."

 

Route dictated by settlements  

The report also stated that despite the High Court of Justice's ruling on the fence's route, it is still very much dictated by the settlements' needs. 

 

The report gives an example of the Palestinian village Bartaa, where the route of the Fence was changed by three kilometers (about 1.8 miles) beyond the Green Line, mainly in order to give room for the expansion of the Jewish settlement Rihan, and the construction of a new settlement called "Rihanit".

 

Bimkom activist, architect Alon Cohen-Lipschitz said that the route of the Fence was decided with total disregard to the Palestinian residents.

 

Cohen-Lipschitz gave as an example the town of Bir Nabala near Jerusalem. The enclave formed in the area left 15,000 residents in a small space surrounded from every direction by the Fence, with only one underground passageway controlled by a roadblock.

 

"Upon completion of the fence, access to the educational system and medical services will become impossible for residents of the enclave," said Cohen-Lipschitz, adding that the long-term continued existence of these enclaves was doubtful.

 

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