Conflicts & War

Israel sets sights on separation wall with West Bank after attacks

Jerusalem, Apr 4 (EFE).- Israel is seeking to seal gaps in its separation wall with the occupied West Bank following last week’s deadly attack by a Palestinian who crossed through a gap in the barrier.

Since then, the army has deployed more troops and will repair the fence as well as ensure only authorized people enter Israel, a senior Israeli official told journalists including Efe.

The move will would affect thousands of Palestinians without employment authorization who cross from the West Bank into Israel daily through dozens of gaps in the barrier.

After the Bnei Brak city attack, which killed five people, the two-decade-old controversial barrier once again worries authorities, public opinion and the country’s defense apparatus.

The concerns came amid simmering tension in the region after three attacks killed 11 Israelis in a week, in years high.

The repairing of the hundreds-km-long fence would cost between two and three million shekels (between 570,000 and 850,000 euros), the Army Radio said.

In recent years, the crossing of Palestinians through gaps in the separation barrier had been nearly normalized.

Many start their journey from West Bank villages to work in Israel at dawn and cross the wall first thing in the morning. There are even cars waiting for them on the other side to take them to their destination.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are estimated to be working illegally in Israel besides over 120,000 legally employed by companies in Israeli territory or in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Until recently, Israeli soldiers and security forces tended to ignore them while passing through gaps in the wall.

The Israeli authorities did not want to stop the flow to avoid further eroding the precarious state of the Palestinian economy, according to analysts.

The recent attack, however, has raised security fears, and several sectors, especially from the extreme Israeli right, call for immediate action to seal the wall and prevent the clandestine movement of Palestinians.

Israel began to build the separation fence in 2002 in response to the Palestinian suicide bombings of the Second Intifada (2000-2005).

It was built as a concrete wall in urban areas and a fence several meters wide in rural areas, to contain entry from the West Bank.

While Israel considers it a key element of its security, Palestinians see it as an apartheid measure that limits their freedom of movement in a territory already under Israeli occupation since 1967.

The International Court of Justice, the UN highest judicial body, ruled in 2004 that the wall was illegal and contrary to international law and established that it should be destroyed and that the Palestinians had the right to be compensated for it. EFE


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