2003- : The "wall" Sharon is trying to build.
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?The Wall? being constructed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon?s Likud-led coalition government?ostensibly to keep terrorists out?is euphemistically referred to as a ?security fence? or ?Seam Zone?. The word ?annexation? is avoided because it too accurately describes what is happening via the wall?s construction. The final route of the wall is as yet undetermined but on completion it will be between 450 and 650 kilometres long.
In parts the wall is an eight-metre high concrete barrier, but mostly it forms a no-man?s-land 60-100 metres wide with buffer zones, trenches, barbed wire, electric fences with sensors, a two-lane patrol road and fortified guard towers. There are also 100-metre wide ?no-go? areas on either side patrolled by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
There is widespread scepticism regarding the wall?s ability to keep out determined terrorists. Even the Israeli State Comptroller noted in July 2002, ?IDF documents indicate that most of the suicide terrorists and car bombs crossed the seam area into Israel through the checkpoints.?
The wall is built on Palestinian land. It does not follow the so called Green Line, which marks the unofficial boundary between Israel and the proposed Palestinian state, but regularly intrudes six or seven kilometres into Palestinian territory so as to incorporate illegal Jewish settlements into the Israeli zone. A decision taken last week has gone further still and proposes a 20-kilometre loop into Palestinian territory to include the settlements of Ariel, Immanuel and Kedumim.
Israeli daily Ha?aretz reports that the blocs incorporated in this sweep contain around 80 percent of the settlers in the West Bank. In all, it is thought that as much as half of the 400,000-settler population will be incorporated into Israel. Ha?aretz reports also that approximately 60,000 Palestinians will end up inside this planned loop, on top of the 80,000 that human rights group B?Tselem estimates will be caught behind the main wall.
[Edited on 8-4-2004 by Zunaid : image edit]