Report says Israeli wall helps land grab

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a report Sept. 15 titled “Under the guise of security: Routing the separation barrier as to enable Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.”

The Israeli government has claimed it needs the “security fence” to keep out terrorists, but Palestinians have long held that its real purpose is to grab more Palestinian land and to shift population demographics in Israel’s favor.

The B’Tselem report lends support to this thesis. It charges that “one of the primary reasons for choosing the route of many sections of the barrier was to place certain areas intended for settlement on the ‘Israeli’ side of the barrier,” i.e. to annex more Palestinian land.

After an in-depth study of the expansion plans of four settlements — Zufin, Alfe Menashe, Modi’in Illit, and Geva Benyamin-Neve Ya’akov — the report says, “It is clear that, contrary to the picture portrayed by the state, the settlement expansion plans played a substantial role in the planning of the barrier’s route,” often regardless of any security considerations. The report can be found at www.btselem.org.

Over a year ago, the World Court ruled that the wall was illegal and that Israel should dismantle the segments already built and pay reparations to the Palestinian families whose homes and fields had been confiscated in the process of its construction. Yet the apartheid wall continues to go up, and the projected 400-mile-long structure is now about one-third complete.