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Occupation magazine - Siege, Wall, Checkpoints

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`Fingers` will cut up the northern part of the West Bank
A section of the separation barrier in the `fingers` area

From B`Tselem Email Update
Feb. 7, 2006

According to Israel`s plan, the Separation Barrier will surround 15 settlements in the northwest part of the West Bank and create two `fingers` (Ari`el and Qedumim) that penetrate deeply into Palestinian territory. These fingers will remain on the `Israeli` side of the barrier. They will separate the Palestinian villages and urban centers on the two sides of these fingers, and will completely disrupt the fabric of life in these areas. Many local residents will have to go long distances to reach nearby urban centers, which were once readily accessible.

More than two-thirds of the land area of the fingers (80,000 dunams [20,000 acres]) lies outside the jurisdictional area of the settlements, and most of it is farmed by Palestinians. With implementation of the plan, thousands of Palestinian families who earn a livelihood from farming will have to obtain permits from the army and will be dependent on operation of the agricultural gates. Past experience shows that such a situation severely restricts the farmers` ability to work their land and market their produce.

The route chosen around the Qedumim finger winds along the main road joining Qalqiliya and Nablus, and cuts across it in four places. As a result, whole sections of the road lie on the `Israeli` side of the fence, and Palestinians will be forbidden to use them. This road is a main artery, serving thousands of residents on their way to and from work, medical treatment, school, and shopping.

15 Palestinian villages south of this road will be enclosed in an enclave, access to which will be possible only from the north. To reach Ramallah, or any other town or village south of the fingers, the residents of these villages will have to drive a long distance north to go around the fingers.

The de facto annexation of these lands, which lie deep inside the West Bank, will create a wedge that will sever the northern part of West Bank from the central and southern parts. This complete break in territorial contiguity will significantly impair the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

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