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The West Bank Barrier


Background

BBC: Guide to the West Bank Barrier
An overview of the barrier provides an introduction, a map of the region, a timeline of its installation and a breakdown of the barrier structure.

BBC: Q&A: What is the West Bank Barrier?
This BBC Q&A gives several perspectives on the West Bank barrier as well as the implications thereof. (September 15, 2005)

The Washington Post: Two Peoples, Divided
The West Bank Barrier is now a daily reality for Israelis and Palestinians alike, affecting almost every aspect of life in surrounding communities, both Israeli and Palestinian. (October 19, 2007)

Arguments for the barrier

The New York Times: How I Learned to Love the Wall
Muslim author Irshad Manji pens an editorial in which she acknowledges the difficulty caused by the security barrier for Palestinians, but argues that the barrier was birthed by suicide bombers and that it saves civilian lives, which justifies its existence. (March 18, 2006).

BBC: Israeli City Says Barrier is "Working"
Many Israelis say that the frequency of attacks by suicide bombers from Palestine has decreased since the installation of the security barrier. (September 14, 2004)

The Middle East Quarterly: Is Israel's Security Barrier Unique?
Arguing for the security barrier, author Ben Thein points to other security barriers on borders around the world and calls those who are against the Israeli/Palestine barrier "hypocritical." He points out that suicide attacks in Israel has declined by 75 percent in the first six months of 2004, after the barrier was constructed, compared with the equivalent period in 2003. (Fall 2004)

Arguments against the barrier

International Court of Justice: Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (PDF)
In 2004, the International Court of Justice gave an advisory opinion and declared that the West Bank barrier was illegal according to international law. Read the full text of the opinion (in both French and English) at the court's website.

B'Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Arguing against the separation barrier, B'tselem outlines the illegality of the barrier, points out its violation of human rights, and documents statistics and testimonies about the effects of the barrier on Palestinians.

The New York Times: A Wall as a Weapon
Noam Chomsky's editorial argues against the security barrier by pointing out that it does not fall on the Israel side of the internationally recognized border — the Green Line. Chomsky says that the construction of the barrier has allowed Israel to claim some of the most fertile lands of the West Bank and extends its control of water resources. (February 23, 2004).


Labor Issues in Israel/Palestine


Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor: Rights and obligations of foreign workers in the field of construction
This report offers a summary of Israeli labor laws governing workers who are not citizens.

B'tselem: Workers from the Occupied Territories
B'tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, offers a wide range of resources related to worker rights and the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians.

Democracy and Workers' Rights Centre in Palestine
The website of this nonpartisan worker advocacy organization includes a wide range of resources and reports related to labor issues, from court cases brought by day laborers in Israel who were denied wages to research on Palestinian economic self-sufficiency.

Articles from Haaretz (an Israeli daily newspaper)

Haaretz: Twilight Zone
Although the West Bank barrier is now closed, illegal labor in Israel continues to this day. This article, from the moderate Israeli newspaper Haaretz, tells the story of a West Bank tile-layer who is painfully waylaid. (May 1, 2008).

Haaretz: Builders Seek Permits for 10,000 Additional Palestinian Workers
The Israeli Association of Contractors and Builders demanded an increase in permits given to Palestinian construction workers like the workers showcased in 9 Star Hotel. (August 21, 2007)

Haaretz: W. Bank Laborers Earn Less Than 50% of Minimum Wage
A study by the Knesset (the Israeli legislature) revealed that Palestinian workers employed in the West Bank settlements and factories earn less than half the minimum wage. (July 3, 2007)


Also on PBS and NPR


PBS.org Websites

POV: Promises
What is it really like to live in Jerusalem? Promises offers a touching and fresh insight into the Middle East conflict when filmmakers Justine Shapiro, B.Z. Goldberg and Carlos Bolado travel to this complex and charged city to see what seven children — Palestinian and Israeli — think about war, peace and just growing up. Living within 20 minutes of each other, these children are nevertheless locked in separate worlds. Through candid interviews, the film explores a legacy of distrust and bitterness, but signs of hope emerge when some of the children dare to cross the checkpoints to meet one another. Trace the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the 20th century in this timeline on the POV companion website. (2001)

NOW: George Mitchell on the Middle East Crisis
As violence continues in Israel and Lebanon with no clear end in sight, NOW's David Brancaccio talks to George Mitchell, the former U.S. Senate majority leader, about what America can do to help resolve the crisis. (July 26, 2006)

Frontline/World: "Tracing Borders"
This personal essay follows Robin Shulman in Israel as she explores the shifting frontiers of a country without established borders. Shulman watched the construction of the Seam Line project, a massive security fence in the northern West Bank and around parts of Jerusalem intended to separate Israelis and Palestinians. (February 2003)

The Online NewsHour: "Two Views of West Bank Barrier"
In early 2004, Elizabeth Farnsworth visited the Middle East and spoke with Israelis and Palestinians about the controversial security wall going up between Israel and the West Bank. (2004)

NPR Stories

All Things Considered: Skepticism Grows Over Two-State Mideast Solution
Even as President Bush tries to boost prospects for peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, optimism on both sides is dwindling. Many, including a growing number of moderate Palestinians, are now questioning the basis of the process — the idea of Israel and Palestine living side by side — and the two-state ideal is increasingly slipping away. (May 15, 2008)

Weekend Edition: Barrier Makes Access to Bethlehem Difficult
As Israel completes a portion of the barrier it is building in and around the West Bank, Bethlehem is effectively sealed off from Jerusalem ahead of the Christmas season. Locals worry that holiday tourists will find it inconvenient to visit there. (December 4, 2005)

NPR.org: Sharon: Tel Aviv Blast Shows Need for Barrier
An explosion at a bus stop in Tel Aviv kills an Israeli soldier and wounds more than 14 people. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon said the attack showed the need for Israel's controversial security barrier in the West Bank, which the World Court has declared illegal. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports. (July 11, 2004)

All Things Considered: Israel Rejects World Court Ruling on Barrier
Israeli officials say they will not accept Friday's World Court ruling that the so-called separation barrier under construction on the border between Israel and the West Bank should be dismantled. The decision was welcomed by Palestinian officials, who now want international action to enforce the ruling. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports. (July 9, 2004)

All Things Considered: Israeli Court Rules Security Barrier Must Alter Course
Israel's highest court has compelled the government to alter the route of one section of its controversial security barrier in the West Bank. The court said the planned route would impose unacceptable hardships on thousands of Palestinian villagers northeast of Jerusalem. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports. (June 30, 2004)

All Things Considered: Controversy Over the Security Barrier in the West Bank
The Israeli Supreme Court is forcing a change in Israel's project to build a security wall in the West Bank. Israel considers the barrier an essential means of protecting Israelis against Palestinian suicide bombers. Today, the court ruled that nearly 20 miles of the barrier must be rerouted to reduce hardships to the surrounding Palestinian population. Israel's Defense Ministry says it will comply with the ruling. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports. (June 30, 2004)

Morning Edition: Analysis: Many Palestinians Reloacting Within Jerusalem for Fear of Being Sealed Off from the City as a Result of Israel's New Security Barrier
At his home in Texas today, President Bush meets with Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak. Later this week, Bush will hold talks with Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon. Israel's security barrier is prompting thousands of Palestinians living on the outskirts of Jerusalem to move into the eastern, traditionally Arab side of the city. Many fear that the barrier eventually will seal off Jerusalem from the West Bank and separate the Palestinians from jobs, schools and hospitals in the city. From Jerusalem, NPR's Julie McCarthy reports. (April 12, 2004)

All Things Considered: Israeli Neighbors Unite Against Barrier
Residents of one Israeli village join with their Palestinian neighbors in the West Bank to oppose the route of Israel's security barrier. The Israelis are backing a Palestinian petition filed with Israel's Supreme Court. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports. (March 30, 2004)





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