Report

Israel’s wall continues to cut through and divide Palestinian communities

Years after it was deemed illegal by a UN court, the wall continues to cut through and divide Palestinian communities.

Thursday marks the 16th anniversary since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) deemed Israel’s separation wall illegal.

In 2002, Israel started constructing the wall, slicing through Palestinian communities, agricultural fields, and farmland at the height of the second Intifada.

The wall has been described by Israeli officials as a necessary security precaution against “terrorism”.

Palestinians, however, have decried it as an Israeli mechanism to annex Palestinian territory as it is built deep within the West Bank and not along the 1967 Green Line, the generally recognised boundary between Israel and the West Bank.

While the ICJ’s decision is non-binding, it found the wall violates international law and called for its dismantlement. It also ruled Israel should pay reparations for any damage caused.

A month after the ICJ decision, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly to demand Israel to comply with the UN’s highest legal body.

The vote called on UN member states “not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem”, and “not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction”.

The Israeli separation barrier divides East Jerusalem and the Palestinian West Bank town of Qalandia. [File: Thomas Coex/AFP]

The Israeli separation barrier divides East Jerusalem and the Palestinian West Bank town of Qalandia. FILE: THOMAS COEX/AFP
Israel's separation barrier covered in graffiti, one depicting the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. [File: Sebastian Scheiner/AP]

Israel’s separation barrier covered in graffiti, one depicting the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. FILE: SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/AP
The Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev (left), built in a suburb of the mostly Arab East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp behind Israel's controversial separation wall. [File: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

The Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev (left), built in a suburb of the mostly Arab East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp behind Israel’s controversial separation wall. FILE: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP
The wall separating East Jerusalem from the Palestinian village of Abu Dis. [File: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP]

The wall separating East Jerusalem from the Palestinian village of Abu Dis. FILE: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP
A Palestinian man rides his motorcycle past a mural of US President Donald Trump on Israel's controversial separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. [File: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

A Palestinian man rides his motorcycle past a mural of US President Donald Trump on Israel’s controversial separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. FILE: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP
Palestinian farmers harvest their olives in the southern West Bank village of the monastery of Samet, near the Israeli separation wall in Hebron. [Abed al-Hashlamoun/EPA]

Palestinian farmers harvest their olives in the southern West Bank village of the monastery of Samet, near the Israeli separation wall in Hebron. ABED AL-HASHLAMOUN/EPA
A man walks along a road by Israel's controversial separation barrier between the occupied West Bank village of Nazlat Issa (left) and the Arab-Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiya (right) in northern Israel. [File: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

A man walks along a road by Israel’s controversial separation barrier between the occupied West Bank village of Nazlat Issa (left) and the Arab-Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiya (right) in northern Israel. FILE: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP
The Israeli barrier at the Palestinian town of Abu Dis in the Israeli-occupied West Bank east of Jerusalem. [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

The Israeli barrier at the Palestinian town of Abu Dis in the Israeli-occupied West Bank east of Jerusalem. AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS
A segregated Israeli highway near Jerusalem that features a large concrete wall segregating Israeli and Palestinian traffic. Critics have branded the road an 'apartheid highway', saying it is part of a planned segregated road system that would benefit Israelis exclusively. [Mahmoud Illean/AP]

A segregated Israeli highway near Jerusalem that features a large concrete wall segregating Israeli and Palestinian traffic. Critics have branded the road an ‘apartheid highway’, saying it is part of a planned segregated road system that would benefit Israelis exclusively. MAHMOUD ILLEAN/AP
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