Term Paper: Wall on Palestinian Economy

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[. . .] An Iraqi Perspective

The Israeli authorities say that the Wall is being constructed to protect vulnerable Israeli settlements (Gordon, 2003). They argue that problems with access to water, schools, farms and hospitals will be resolved by putting gates in the wall, and by issuing permits to cross it.

According to Linda Chavez (2003), "Israel should not give up its plans to build a secure barrier between itself and those who want to destroy the tiny nation. In the last three years, some 900 Israelis have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Short of all-out war on the Palestinians, a security barrier between Israel and the Palestinian territories may be the only way to prevent future attacks. A similar wall separating Gaza has prevented any terrorists from launching attacks on Israel from there. Make no mistake, the issue in the Middle East is not whether Palestinians deserve their own state, or under what conditions and within what boundaries. The issue is whether Israel has a right to exist, and whether Israelis have the right to live free from the murderous attacks of their neighbors."

The Wall is viewed by Iraqis as a means of disengaging the two populations and protecting Israel from the infiltration of Palestinian suicide bombers (Haley, 2004). After a prolonged period of suffering and terror in the Middle East, it seems that anything in Israel today is justified as long as it is labeled a "security matter."

Very few Israelis oppose the Wall and the majority of the Israeli "peace camp" refuses to mobilize against it, although some support moving it to the Green Line. According to Mair and Long (2003): "This position is unacceptable to Palestinians, who recognize that even building the Wall along the Green Line, while perhaps minimizing the loss of land and damage to property, would make Israel's crippling closure of the West Bank and Gaza permanent and devastate the Palestinian economy. The 36-year Israeli occupation has made the Palestinian economy completely dependent upon Israel, which controls all imports, exports and labor flows. Even right on the Green Line, the Wall would exacerbate that dependence and vulnerability. Furthermore, the Wall would forcibly separate families and communities that found themselves placed arbitrarily on opposite sides of the Green Line after the 1948 War, but who continue to function as one community."


The Wall is isolating thousands of Palestinians both from East Jerusalem and what remains of the West Bank (Kearney, 2003). Coupled with existing settlements and Israeli-only by-pass roads, it will prevent the emergence of an economically viable independent Palestinian State and is the finishing stroke in the Zionist strategy of creating a "Greater Israel." The violence which the Wall perpetuates can be seen in the demolished homes, isolated villages, separated families and spiral of killings that it is causing.

As a result of the construction of the Wall, the majority of the most fertile land and numerous water resources in the West Bank have been confiscated (Haley, 2004). The construction of the Wall has destroyed thousands of olive trees, as well as other agricultural resources upon which the Palestinians depend for their livelihood. The Wall is devastating Palestinian daily life and commerce at all levels. Farmers are separated from their lands, children are separated from their schools, families are divided, and workers can no longer get to work. The Palestinians believe that this "Apartheid Wall" is the beginning of a master plan of economic murder in order to force the Palestinians into exile. Whether or not this is actually accomplished, the Wall will likely negate any possibility of the creation of an economically viable Palestinian state, turning it instead into a grouping of disconnected entities resembling open-air prisons surrounded by Israeli checkpoints and Jewish settlements.

The Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission of Human Rights (2002) warns: "when territorial expansion occurs openly, as in the case of the purported annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the response of the international community, speaking through the United Nations, has been clear and firm. The response to Israel's present annexation by stealth has not, however, received the same strong condemnation."

In total, the Wall is projected to include all of the Jewish colonies-with the exception of a few, which is the majority of all settlers and 440,000 Palestinians (Hadid, 2003). Approximately half of the Palestinians caged in by the Wall do not have Israeli residency, and 30% of them will be in double fenced areas. These Palestinians are in an extremely dangerous and vulnerable situation, they are deprived of their livelihood and access to necessary social services such as health and education. The remaining Palestinians in the West Bank will be enclosed by the fence in large cantons.

Israeli leaders continue to argue that the Wall is necessary to protect its citizens. Unfortunately, many experts argue that the Wall will not solve Israel's security problems, but rather exacerbate them (Gordon, 2003). By forcing extreme pressure on the Palestinian people, who are already living in poverty and rapidly worsening circumstances, they are likely to develop the sense that there are no prospects for the future. As a result, more people will be motivated to join extremist groups like the Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Thus, the Wall only increases the hatred towards the Israeli occupiers and promotes terrorism.

In conclusion, the Wall is not a positive thing for either Iraqis or Palestinians. The Wall and settlements undermine the ability of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to effectively fulfill its obligations on the road to state-building, key among them is security. The Wall is creating wide-spread poverty and despair among Palestinians. These conditions are likely to foster further instability and violence in both regions.


Chavez, L. (September 17, 2003). Keep building the wall. World Affairs, pp. 179-180.

Farsakh, L. (Autumn, 2002). Palestinian Labor Flows to the Israeli Economy," Journal of Palestine Studies.

Gordon, N. (November, 2003). The Apartheid Wall. Ben-Gurion University Research Report.

Hadid, D. (2003). Israel's Apartheid Wall: "Security through Ethnic Barrier," LAW -- The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Jerusalem.

Haley, T. (March, 2004). The Wall. The Digital Journalist, Vol. 8, p. 229-241.

Kearney, M. (November 4, 2003). The Violence of Construction: Israel's Wall and International Law. The Electronic Intifada.

Mair, L. Long, R. (December, 2003). Backs to the wall: Israel's stranglehold on the Palestinian economy is consolidated by a massive wall.

Dollar & Sense Magazine.

McGreal, C. (September 3, 2003). Caged. The Guardian.

PLO Negotiations Affairs Department (PLO-NAD). (2003). Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors-Part II: Focus on Qalqilya, PLO-NAD, Ramallah.

Question of the Violation of Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, Including Palestine: Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. John Dugard, on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, submitted in accordance with Commission resolutions 1993/2 A and 2002/8. E/CN.4/2003/30, December 2002.

Yehezkel, L. (September 2002).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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