New Separation Fence Route to Annex Less West Bank Land

The new route of the separation fence proposed by the defense establishment will annex 400,000 dunams (100,000 acres) of West Bank land as opposed to the 900,000 dunams (225,000 acres) that were to have been annexed according to the previous plan.

The new route of the separation fence proposed by the defense establishment will annex 400,000 dunams (100,000 acres) of West Bank land as opposed to the 900,000 dunams (225,000 acres) that were to have been annexed according to the previous plan.

The new route was created after the High Court of Justice mandated changes on June 30th that were to be in keeping with the principle of proportionality. In the main, the new route follows the alternative proposal suggested by the Council for Peace and Security. It was presented to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who also approved it.

The new route will extend from the southern Hebron mountains to the Dead Sea along the Green Line (pre-Six-Day War border), except for three small salients around the Jewish communities of Eshkolot, Shani and Metzudat Yehuda.

The new routing will return 100,000 dunams of Palestinian land in the area of the Jerusalem Corridor. Among these areas is Jabel Mukatam, north of the community of Nataf, near Abu Ghosh. In the area of Beit Suriq, the fence will be moved closer to the community of Har Adar. The Palestinian residents of the communities of Beit Suriq, Bidu, Beit Anan and Qatana will now not be separated as originally planned from their agricultural lands, which cover an estimated area of some 20,000 dunams (5,000 acres).

The new route also abolishes the double security fences parallel to highway No. 443 (Ramot-Modi'in) and running east of Ben-Gurion International Airport.

According to an October 1, 2003 cabinet decision, the separation fence was to have extended from Har Avner on Mount Gilboa to Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi in the Jordan Valley; another portion was to have extended south to the Palestinian village of Taysir in the northern West Bank. A new road was also to have led from the old Alon Road and from Ma'aleh Adumim to Arad, and was to have connected to Carmel in the southern West Bank. It was to have determined the eastern boundary of the Palestinian territory and ensured Israeli control of the Jordan Valley.

The new maps show no trace of the route to Taysir and Carmel, apparently in keeping with the High Court ruling.