Ramallah: Israel has confiscated a total of 583.5 kilometres, comprising 10.3 per cent of the total size of the West Bank for construction of the West Bank Wall which is being built within the Green Line, said a top Palestinian official.

According to Maher Ghonaim, Palestinian State Minister for the Wall and Settlement Affairs, Israel has so far finished construction of 440km of the wall (58 per cent) which is expected to be 758km when complete. He added that a total of 696.5 kilometres of the wall when complete will be located in the West Bank itself and within the Green Line.

He was commenting to reporters on the conclusions of a report prepared on the West Bank Wall and construction in the West Bank.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are suffering from the expansion and construction of the West Bank Wall.

"A total of 855,000 Palestinians in 203 various locations badly suffer from the construction of the Wall, of whom 309,000 Palestinians in 55 different locations will be totally surrounded and isolated and the rest of the suffering people will be surrounded by the Wall at least from one direction," he said.

The report which was prepared by the information section for the West Bank Wall and colonies at the ministry stated Israeli policy in line with the construction of the West Bank Wall is based on creating control over the West Bank and enhancing the existence of colonies in the West Bank to end up with Palestinian territories as split and isolated communities. The report said a total of 462 colonies were spread over the West Bank, of which 189 were independent colonies, 251 fragmented colonies and 22 sites used for various colony purposes.

The report warned Israel builds horizontally in colonies constructed in the West Bank.

It said the Israelis have been putting pressure on large areas which accommodate major Palestinian communities to create a demographic imbalance in these areas so the Palestinians end up a minority in their own land. The Israelis meanwhile, increase the number of colonists to achieve a demographic advantage in the West Bank.

Ghonaim said that Israel was determined to put its plans in place and is currently accelerating the implementation of these plans in the West Bank, with the focus on occupied Jerusalem and emptying the West Bank of its people.

"The current Israeli policies constitute a real threat to the Palestinian liberation objective," he said.

He urged the international community to come up with mechanisms to press Israel to halt its policies in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem to give Palestinians a chance to remain in their land. He added the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) would do its best to support residents in isolated areas to stay on their land.

Commenting on the direct talks which are expected to be launched soon between Israel and the Palestinians, Ghonaim said Israel was accelerating its construction work in the West Bank colonies for its future strategic options and to prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

"If Israel really wants peace, it should stick to its commitments and positively deal with the Palestinian clear stance," he said.

Massive impact

  • 855,000 Palestinians suffering due to wall being built
  • 583.5km area Israel has confiscated so far
  • 309,000 Palestinians who will be surrounded by the wall