The Separation Wall sits at eight metres tall in places, more than twice the height of the Berlin Wall. In Palestinian cities such as Bethlehem, Qalqilya, and Abu Dis the Wall looms over the local population who have spray-painted words and images alluding to comparisons between apartheid in South Africa and the current situation in the occupied West Bank.
Ten years ago on July 9, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) called for the Wall to be dismantled and labelled it illegal due to the overwhelming economic and social problems it caused for Palestinians. Today the Wall still stands.
Built by Israel under the pretence of security 12 years ago, the barrier was regarded by the ICJ as disproportionate in regards to Israel’s security needs, and a form of collective punishment against the whole Palestinian population in the occupied West Bank.
Snaking through the occupied West Bank, the Wall cuts off villages and people from their own land, and often splits communities in two. Because of the way the Wall weaves in and out, the barrier currently stands at over 700 kilometres long, twice the length of the Green Line, the 1949 ceasefire line that is regarded by many international organisations as the unofficial border between Israel and the occupied West Bank. Eighty-five per cent of the Wall’s route is located within the occupied West Bank.
In Bethlehem, the Wall has severely affected life for many. One Bethlehem family in particular has felt the brunt of the towering structure’s control. The life of the Anastas family was changed drastically when the Wall went up, dividing the Anastas’ from Rachel’s Tomb, which sits directly on the other side of the barrier.
In 2003, two weeks before Christmas, the Wall went up around Claire Anastas’ home within hours.