The period between July 2011 and June 2012 was characterized by mixed trends regarding the system of internal movement and access restrictions implemented by the Israeli authorities within the occupied West Bank. A series of significant easing measures improved the connectivity between several villages and the nearest city and service center. However, little change was registered during this period in terms of the restrictions affecting Palestinian access to large rural areas, including those located behind the Barrier, in the Jordan Valley, and in the vicinity of Israeli settlements; movement within the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron City also remained severely restricted. Most of the restrictions addressed in this report are related, in one way or another, to the Israeli settlements established in contravention of international law. This includes restrictions aimed at protecting the settlements, securing areas for their expansion, and improving the connectivity between settlements and with Israel itself.
In recent years, Israeli settler activity in the West Bank has significantly impaired Palestinian access to, and use of, a growing number of water springs. Springs are the single largest source of water for irrigation in the West Bank and an important coping mechanism for communities not connected to a water network, or poorly supplied, to meet domestic and livelihood needs. The main methods used by settlers to that end have been intimidation and threats, and the erection of fences around the targeted areas.
The period between July 2010 and June 2011 was characterized by the absence of significant changes in the system of movement restrictions implemented by the Israeli authorities within the West Bank territory. There are currently some 70 villages and communities, with a combined population of nearly 200,000, compelled to use detours that are between two to five times longer than the direct route to the closest city, undermining access to basic services.
This new report, based on field visits to 13 communities in Area C, found that Palestinian families live in a state of pervasive insecurity and daily life has deteriorated to such an extent that some residents are forced to leave in order to meet their basic needs, feed their families or educate their children. This pattern of displacement, along with ongoing Israeli settlement activity, undermines the ability of Palestinian communities to maintain their presence in Area C and raises concerns about demographic shifts and changes to the ethnic make-up of Area C
The current update summarises the main findings of this research, while outlining developments since the last Barrier report, issued on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion in July 2010. This year, the update will focus on the impact of the Barrier in the East Jerusalem area, in particular on those West Bank communities and households which are now isolated on the Jerusalem side of the Barrier.
Since 1967, Israel has implemented measures and policies which have altered the status of East Jerusalem, contrary to international law and UN Security Council resolutions, and significantly increased the humanitarian vulnerability of East Jerusalem Palestinians. Israeli measures have also increasingly separated East Jerusalem from the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory – physically, politically, socially and culturally.
In June 2010, Israel announced a package of measures to ease the access restrictions it had imposed on the Gaza Strip since June 2007. Due to the pivotal nature of the restrictions that remain in place, the easing of the blockade has not resulted in a significant improvement in people’s livelihoods. Because of the ongoing restrictions on the import of building materials, only a small minority of the needed housing units could be constructed.
Over the past ten years, the Israeli military has gradually expanded restrictions on access to farmland on the Gaza side of the ‘Green Line’, and to fishing areas along the Gaza Strip coast, with the stated intention of preventing attacks by Palestinian armed factions. The findings of this study indicate that this regime has had a devastating impact on the physical security and livelihoods of nearly 180,000 people, exacerbating the assault on human dignity triggered by the blockade imposed by Israel in June 2007.
The humanitarian impact of Israeli-imposed restrictions on access to land and sea in the Gaza Strip: Over the past ten years, the Israeli military has gradually expanded restrictions on access to farmland on the Gaza side of the ‘Green Line’, and to fishing areas along the Gaza Strip coast, with the stated intention of preventing attacks by Palestinian armed factions. The findings of this study indicate that this regime has had a devastating impact on the physical security and livelihoods of nearly 180,000 people, exacerbating the assault on human dignity triggered by the blockade imposed by Israel in June 2007.
The current update summarises the main findings of this research, while outlining developments since the last Barrier report, issued in July 2009. This year, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), the update focuses on the impact of the Barrier on health, in particular patient and staff access to the specialized medical facilities only available in East Jerusalem.