Human rights group says barrier traps 250,000 Palestinians in enclaves

According to the report, "the enclaves seriously undermine the fabric of daily life."

Some 250,000 Palestinians will be trapped in enclaves either on the "Israeli" side of the security barrier or almost completely surrounded by concrete walls or fences inside the West Bank, according to a study released Monday by the human rights organization Bimkom. Bimkom counted 21 different enclaves including Kalkilya, with almost 45,000 Palestinian inhabitants, Beit Likya, Beit Surik and 12 other villages with more than 46,000 inhabitants, Eizariya, Abu Dis and two other villages with almost 35,000 inhabitants and Bidya and 10 other villages with more than 26,000 inhabitants. According to the report, "the enclaves seriously undermine the fabric of daily life. The first and most basic harm is the disruption of the freedom of movement. This in turn leads to a range of additional harms relating to the destruction of the complex fabric of connections between the communities inside the enclaves and the communities and urban centers beyond." According to the study, the barrier has created two types of enclaves, those described as "seam" enclaves and those described as "internal" enclaves. The seam enclaves include Palestinian villages which are cut off from the West Bank by the barrier. The route of the barrier has been determined by the aim of directly connecting one or more settlements to Israel. More than 8,000 Palestinians live in these enclaves, including more than 4,500 around Barta'a. The Palestinians living in these enclaves must receive permits from the military administration to enter their own villages and homes, and must have them renewed from time to time. They also have to pass through a military checkpoint to enter the West Bank, where they receive most of their educational and health services, find work and meet with family and friends. While being cut off from the West Bank by the barrier, there is little stopping them from crossing over into Israel because there is no barrier along the Green Line. They are, of course, forbidden from doing so. The internal enclaves are on the West Bank side of the barrier. However, the barrier curves around them to protect Jewish settlements or roads and in doing so, all but cuts them off from the rest of the Palestinian territory. One example is the Bir Naballa enclave north of Jerusalem, which is completely surrounded by concrete walls or fences. The only access to the rest of the West Bank is via a limited number of underpasses beneath the fence. Bimkom charged that the enclaves were created to protect and provide for the expansion of Jewish settlements. "The creation of these enclaves is the most extreme example of this misguided system of considerations that attaches only marginal importance to the interests of the Palestinian residents of the area," the organization charged.