It's outrageous: nearly 10% of the West Bank is closed to Palestinians, fenced off behind the barbed wire and concrete of the Separation Barrier. Only a small minority of Palestinians is even entitled to apply for the special permit to cross the Barrier to access the enclaves on the other side that Israel calls “the Seam Zone”.
Every year HaMoked provides free legal aid to hundreds of Palestinian farmers trying to navigate the complex military bureaucracy to obtain Seam Zone permits. These cases take months, and even years, and many Palestinians simply give up. As a result, once fertile areas of the West Bank have become barren, and families and entire communities have lost their central source of income.
Our advocacy on behalf of hundreds of individual cases informs our new report, entitled “Creeping Dispossession: Israeli Restrictions on Palestinian Farming Beyond the Barrier”. The report charts the steady deterioration in Palestinian access as a result of more and more restrictive criteria imposed by the Israeli military on Palestinians who need to access lands across the Separation Barrier.
Of course the heart of the problem is the route of the Barrier itself, which Israel built deep in the West Bank, rather than on the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank. Israel claims that the Barrier is a necessary security measure, but we know that in many areas, the specific route was chosen in order to entrench and expand settlements.
The Barrier is one of the most oppressive features of the West Bank landscape, but it has fallen off the public and political radar. We hope to change this. HaMoked renews its call for Israel to dismantle those portions of the Barrier that were built inside the West Bank, or at least cancel the Seam Zone permit regime. Please help us amplify this message. Public awareness, combined with our litigation and advocacy can advance this goal.
All the best,
Executive Director of HaMoked