Four Types of Enclave in the West Bank

The restrictions on movement that Israel imposes on Palestinians in the West Bank have effectively created four different types of enclaves.

1. Closed-off populated enclaves: Entry is permitted only to residents. Such enclaves are closed off both physically and by means of military orders. Examples include the Jordan Valley and various Palestinian villages located between the Green Line and the separation fence, such as Barta'a, Ras al-Tira and Jbara.

One of the most unusual such enclaves is that of the Ammar family in Mas'ha. This is a single house trapped between the settlement of Elkana to the west and the separation fence to the east. In response to international media attention about two years ago, a special gate was cut in the fence for the family's use, and the family even received a key. Sometimes, however, soldiers close the main gate, thereby blocking access to their private gate - and then, family members must wait for the army to reopen it before they can enter or leave their house.

2. Agricultural enclaves trapped between the Green Line and the separation fence, or between settlements and nearby fenced-off security roads: These enclaves can be entered only by Palestinians who obtain a special permit from the Civil Administration, and even then, only during certain hours. But access to land located near settlements is often effectively impossible without prior coordination. Thus, residents of Marda, for instance, have trouble accessing 250 dunams of agricultural land on the opposite side of Route 505, a fenced road; residents of the southern Hebron Hills region have similar trouble accessing 80,000 dunams on the wrong side of Route 317, which is also fenced.

3. Partly blocked populated enclaves: These are surrounded by manned checkpoints that restrict the amount of vehicular traffic in and out, and sometimes also the amount of pedestrian traffic. Nablus, for instance, has been surrounded by checkpoints ever since the start of the intifada. As another example, in January, the Israel Defense Forces barred anyone aged 16 to 30 from leaving Beit Furik, a village east of Nablus. However, that restriction was later canceled due to protests from Mahsom Watch and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

4. Partially open enclaves: These areas cannot be accessed via main roads, which are closed to Palestinian traffic, but can be reached via side roads, and access is generally not restricted by manned checkpoints. Examples include Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron.