Up to 9 meters high, Israel’s concrete Separation Wall is arguably the most visible sign of the government’s efforts to separate Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from Israeli Jews and from one another.
The wall is part and parcel of Israel’s settlement enterprise, a huge network of Israeli-only bypass roads, as well as a complex system of permits controlling Palestinians’ mobility across the West Bank (see Jerusalem: A Closed City). This massive “regime of separation” fragments and isolates Palestinian communities in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, where ethnic segregation contributes to further Judaizing of Palestinian land.1
While Israel consistently claims that the wall is justified by its “security” needs,2 Palestinians insist otherwise. For Palestinians, al-Jidar, as the wall is called in Arabic, facilitates the political goal of controlling and annexing as much land to Israel as possible with as few Palestinians as possible.3
As a contentious massive structure built largely on occupied Palestinian land, al-Jidar mutilated and fragmented Palestinian lands, segregating communities from each other, isolating villages and neighborhoods from their surroundings, and alienating residents from their lands and broader social and welfare infrastructure. After two decades of expanding walls, fences, barriers, checkpoints, and gates, the wall has had inestimably catastrophic outcomes on the geographic, social, economic, and daily lives of Palestinians, changing the entire socioeconomic and communal fabric of the place and causing fragmentation, isolation, impoverishment, alienation, and desperation.