West Bank

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Posted by sonny 03/01/2009 @ 05:37

Tags : west bank, middle east, world

News headlines
Diskin: If elections were held in West Bank today, Hamas would win - Jerusalem Post
COM STAFF If the Palestinian Authority were to hold elections in the West Bank today, Hamas would win, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during a briefing on Tuesday. "It's possible to predict that...
Palestinians demand Obama action follow words - The Associated Press
JERUSALEM (AP) — A key Palestinian official demanded Tuesday that President Barack Obama follow up his tough talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and force Israel to stop West Bank settlement construction and accept creation of a...
US pressing Israel to relinquish West Bank security to Palestinians - World Tribune
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is urging Israel to reduce its military presence in the West Bank. Officials said the State Department has approved plans for the transfer of security responsibility from the Israel Army to the Palestinian...
Milwaukee IT firm opens West Bank office - Bizjournals.com
Corporate Technology Solutions Inc., a Milwaukee information technology firm founded by an entrepreneur who grew up in Palestinian territory, has opened an office in the West Bank city of Nablus. The new office represents an effort to serve health care...
Israeli settlers expand two West Bank outposts: anti-settlement ... - Xinhua
JERUSALEM, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Israel's anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now movement said Tuesday that over the past few months West Bank settlers have expanded two existing outposts and that the Israeli government has done nothing to stop them....
Israeli barrier bites into Palestinian village - Washington Post
By Ivan Karakashian ABOUD, West Bank (Reuters) - Israel's land barrier is slowly destroying the fabric of this Palestinian village of Christians and Muslims in the West Bank, setting a prime example of why the United States wants settlements to stop....
Stop US military aid to Israel - Albany Times Union
I recently visited Hebron on the illegally occupied West Bank. The Old City has 40000 Palestinians and 500 Israeli settlers. The settlers are protected by 4000 Israeli soldiers who maintain barriers that block Palestinian access to the main...
New residents account for one-third of West Bank settlement growth - Ha'aretz
By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent Figures released recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics cast doubt on government officials' claims of housing shortages for young couples living in West Bank settlements - the central argument Prime Minister...
IDF commander reprimanded for comments during testimony - Jerusalem Post
Itay Virob, commander of the Kfir Brigade, for claiming during testimony at a military trial that it was permissible on rare occasions to use physical force to restrain Palestinians during arrest operations in the West Bank....
Israeli troops harrassing West Bank towns - PRESS TV
Israeli forces, firing stun grenades and bullets into the air, raided a northern West Bank town handing out summon warrants to some local residents. Palestinian security forces told Maan news agency on Sunday that Israeli soldiers stormed Anabta,...

West Bank

West bank settlements from Jerusalem

The West Bank (Arabic: الضفة الغربية‎, aḍ-Ḍiffä l-Ġarbīyä, Hebrew: הגדה המערבית‎, HaGadah HaMa'aravit) is a landlocked territory on the west bank of the Jordan River in the Middle East. To the west, north, and south the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the country of Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coast line along the western bank of the Dead Sea. Since 1967 most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation.

Prior to the First World War, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the province of Syria. In the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the establishment of Israel in parts of the former Mandate, while the West Bank was captured and annexed by Jordan. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988. Jordan's claim was never recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom. The West Bank was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in June, 1967. With the exception of East Jerusalem, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967.

The region did not have a separate existence until 1948–1949, when it was defined by the Armistice Agreement of April 1949 between Israel and Jordan (until then known as Transjordan). The name "West Bank" was apparently first used by Jordanians at the time of their annexation of the region in 1950, and has become the most common name used in English and some of the other Germanic languages. The term was used in order to differentiate 'the West bank of the river Jordan', namely the newly annexed territory; from the "East Bank", namely the 'East bank' of this same River Jordan (Transjordan), which today constitutes the present territory of the Kingdom of Jordan.

The neo-Latin name Cisjordan or Cis-Jordan (literally "on this side of the Jordan") is the usual name in the Romance languages and Hungarian. The analogous Transjordan has historically been used to designate the region now comprising the state of Jordan which lies on the "other side" of the River Jordan. In English, the name Cisjordan is also occasionally used to designate the entire region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in the historical context of the British Mandate and earlier times. The use of Cisjordan to refer to the smaller region discussed in this article, while common in scholarly fields including archaeology, is rare in general English usage; the name West Bank is standard usage for this geo-political entity. For the low-lying area immediately west of the Jordan, the name Jordan Valley is used instead.

Israelis refer to the region either as a unit: "The West Bank" (Hebrew: "HaGada HaMa'aravit" "הגדה המערבית"), or as two units: Judea and Samaria (Hebrew: "Yehuda" "יהודה", "Shomron" "שומרון"), after the two biblical kingdoms (the southern Kingdom of Judah and the northern Kingdom of Israel — the capital of which was, for a time, in the town of Samaria). The geographic terms Judea and Samaria have been in continual use by Jews since Biblical times. The combined term "Judea and Samaria" was officially adopted by the Israeli government in 1967 but not used extensively until the Likud assumed office in 1977. Arab geography also refers to the northern part of the West Bank as ‘’as-Samara’’. However, the name has become somewhat obsolete among Arabs due its politicised use by the Israeli settler movement.

The Arab world and especially the Palestinians strongly object to the term Judea and Samaria, the use of which they deem to reflect Israeli expansionist aims. Instead, they refer to the area as "the occupied West Bank".

The territory now known as the West Bank was a part of the British Mandate of Palestine entrusted to the United Kingdom by the League of Nations after World War I. The terms of the Mandate called for the creation in Palestine of a Jewish national home without prejudicing the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish population of Palestine.

The current border of the West Bank was not a dividing line of any sort during the Mandate period, but rather the armistice line between the forces of the neighboring kingdom of Jordan and those of Israel at the close of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. When the United Nations General Assembly voted in 1947 to partition Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an internationally-administered enclave of Jerusalem, a more broad region of the modern-day West Bank was assigned to the Arab State. The West Bank was controlled by Iraqi and Jordanian forces at the end of the 1948 War and the area was annexed by Jordan in 1950 but this annexation was recognized only by the United Kingdom (Pakistan is often, but apparently falsely, assumed to have recognized it also). The idea of an independent Palestinian state was not on the table. King Abdullah of Jordan was crowned King of Jerusalem and granted Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Jordanian citizenship.

During the 1950s, there was a significant influx of Palestinian refugees and violence together with Israeli reprisal raids across the Green Line.

In May 1967 Egypt ordered out U.N. peacekeeping troops and re-militarized the Sinai peninsula, and blockaded the straits of Tiran. Fearing an Egyptian attack, the government of Levi Eshkol attempted to restrict any confrontation to Egypt alone. In particular it did whatever it could to avoid fighting Jordan. However, "carried along by a powerful current of Arab nationalism", on May 30, 1967 King Hussein flew to Egypt and signed a mutual defense treaty in which the two countries agreed to consider "any armed attack on either state or its forces as an attack on both". Fearing an imminent Egyptian attack, on June 5, the Israel Defense Forces launched a pre-emptive attack on Egypt which began what came to be known as the Six Day War.

Jordan soon began shelling targets in west Jerusalem, Netanya, and the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Despite this, Israel sent a message promising not to initiate any action against Jordan if it stayed out of the war. Hussein replied that it was too late, "the die was cast". On the evening of June 5 the Israeli cabinet convened to decide what to do; Yigal Allon and Menahem Begin argued that this was an opportunity to take the Old City of Jerusalem, but Eshkol decided to defer any decision until Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin could be consulted. Uzi Narkis made a number of proposals for military action, including the capture of Latrun, but the cabinet turned him down. The Israeli military only commenced action after Government House was captured, which was seen as a threat to the security of Jerusalem. On June 6 Dayan encircled the city, but, fearing damage to holy places and having to fight in built-up areas, he ordered his troops not to go in. However, upon hearing that the U.N. was about to declare a ceasefire, he changed his mind, and without cabinet clearance, decided to take the city. After fierce fighting with Jordanian troops in and around the Jerusalem area, Israel captured the Old City on 7 June.

First, the Israeli government had no intention of capturing the West Bank. On the contrary, it was opposed to it. Second, there was not any provocation on the part of the IDF. Third, the rein was only loosened when a real threat to Jerusalem's security emerged. This is truly how things happened on June 5, although it is difficult to believe. The end result was something that no one had planned.

The Arab League's Khartoum conference in September declared continuing belligerency, and stated the league's principles of "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it". In November 1967, UN Security Council Resolution 242 was unanimously adopted, calling for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" to be achieved by "the application of both the following principles:" "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" (see semantic dispute) and: "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries. Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon entered into consultations with the UN Special representative over the implementation of 242. The text did not refer to the PLO or to any Palestinian representative because none was recognized at that time.

Area A comprises Palestinian towns, and some rural areas away from Israeli population centers in the north (between Jenin, Nablus, Tubas, and Tulkarm), the south (around Hebron), and one in the center south of Salfit. Area B adds other populated rural areas, many closer to the center of the West Bank. Area C contains all the Israeli settlements, roads used to access the settlements, buffer zones (near settlements, roads, strategic areas, and Israel), and almost all of the Jordan Valley and Judean Desert.

Areas A and B are themselves divided among 227 separate areas (199 of which are smaller than 2 square kilometres (1 sq mi)) that are separated from one another by Israeli-controlled Area C. Areas A, B, and C cross the 11 Governorates used as administrative divisions by the Palestinian National Authority and named after major cities.

While the vast majority of the Palestinian population lives in areas A and B, the vacant land available for construction in dozens of villages and towns across the West Bank is situated on the margins of the communities and defined as area C.

In December 2007, an official Census conducted by the Palestinian Authority found that the Palestinian population of the West Bank (including Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem) was 2,345,000.

There are over 275,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, as well as around 200,000 living in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. There are also small ethnic groups, such as the Samaritans living in and around Nablus, numbering in the hundreds. Interactions between the two societies have generally declined following the Palestinian Intifadas, though an economic relationship often exists between adjacent Israeli and Palestinian Arab villages.

As of October 2007, around 23,000 Palestinians in the West Bank work in Israel every day with another 9,200 working in Israeli settlements. In addition, around 10,000 Palestinian traders from the West Bank are allowed to travel every day into Israel.

Approximately 30% of Palestinians living in the West Bank are refugees or descendants of refugees from villages and towns located in what became Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (see Palestinian exodus), 754,263 in June 2008 according to UNRWA statistics.

The most densely populated part of the region is a mountainous spine, running north-south, where the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Abu Dis, Bethlehem, Hebron and Yattah are located as well as the Israeli settlements of Ariel, Ma'ale Adumim and Betar Illit. Ramallah, although relatively small in population compared to other major cities, serves as an economic and political center for the Palestinians. Jenin in the extreme north of the West Bank is on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Modi'in Illit, Qalqilyah and Tulkarm are in the low foothills adjacent to the Israeli Coastal Plain, and Jericho and Tubas are situated in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea.

The West Bank has 4,500 km (2,796 mi) of roads, of which 2,700 km (1,678 mi) are paved.

In response to shootings by Palestinians, some highways, especially those leading to Israeli settlements, are completely inaccessible to cars with Palestinian license plates, while many other roads are restricted only to public transportation and to Palestinians who have special permits from Israeli authorities. Due to numerous shooting assaults targeting Israeli vehicles, the IDF bars Israelis from using most of the original roads in the West Bank. Israel's longstanding policy of separation-to-prevent-friction dictates the development of alternative highway systems for Israelis and Palestinian traffic.

Israel maintains more than 600 checkpoints or roadblocks in the region. . As such, movement restrictions are also placed on main roads traditionally used by Palestinians to travel between cities, and such restrictions have been blamed for poverty and economic depression in the West Bank. Since the beginning of 2005, there has been some amelioration of these restrictions. According to recent human rights reports, "Israel has made efforts to improve transport contiguity for Palestinians travelling in the West Bank. It has done this by constructing underpasses and bridges (28 of which have been constructed and 16 of which are planned) that link Palestinian areas separated from each other by Israeli settlements and bypass roads" and by removal of checkpoints and physical obstacles, or by not reacting to Palestinian removal or natural erosion of other obstacles. "The impact (of these actions) is most felt by the easing of movement between villages and between villages and the urban centres".

However, the obstacles encircling major Palestinian urban hubs, particularly Nablus and Hebron, have remained. In addition, the IDF prohibits Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian-controlled land (Area A).

As of August 2007, a divided highway is currently under construction that will pass through the West Bank. The highway has a concrete wall dividing the two sides, one designated for Israeli vehicles, the other for Palestinian. The wall is designed to allow Palestinians to freely pass north-south through Israeli-held land.

The West Bank has three paved airports which are currently for military use only. Palestinians were previously able to use Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport with permission; however, Israel has discontinued issuing such permits, and Palestinians wishing to travel must cross the land border to either Jordan (via the Allenby Bridge) or Egypt in order to use airports located in these countries.

As transportation between the Palestinian cities became very difficult, due to hundreds of Israeli military checkpoints on Palestinian roads, telephone and internet play a more important role in the Palestinian daily life for communication.

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts from an AM station in Ramallah on 675 kHz; numerous local privately owned stations are also in operation. Most Palestinian households have a radio and TV, and satellite dishes for receiving international coverage are widespread. Recently, PalTel announced and has begun implementing an initiative to provide ADSL broadband internet service to all households and businesses.

Israel's cable television company 'HOT', satellite television provider (DBS) 'Yes', AM & FM radio broadcast stations and public television broadcast stations all operate. Broadband internet service by Bezeq's ADSL and by the cable company are available as well.

The Al-Aqsa Voice broadcasts from Dabas Mall in Tulkarem at 106.7 FM. The Al-Aqsa TV station shares these offices.

Before 1967 there were no universities in the West Bank (except for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - see below). There were a few lesser institutions of higher education; for example, An-Najah, which started as an elementary school in 1918 and became a community college in 1963. As the Jordanian government did not allow the establishment of such universities in the West Bank, Palestinians could obtain degrees only by travelling abroad to places such as Jordan, Lebanon, or Europe.

Most universities in the West Bank have politically active student bodies, and elections of student council officers are normally along party affiliations. Although the establishment of the universities was initially allowed by the Israeli authorities, some were sporadically ordered closed by the Israeli Civil Administration during the 1970s and 1980s to prevent political activities and violence against the IDF. Some universities remained closed by military order for extended periods during years immediately preceding and following the first Palestinian Intifada, but have largely remained open since the signing of the Oslo Accords despite the advent of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000.

The founding of Palestinian universities has greatly increased education levels among the population in the West Bank. According to a Birzeit University study, the percentage of Palestinians choosing local universities as opposed to foreign institutions has been steadily increasing; as of 1997, 41% of Palestinians with bachelor degrees had obtained them from Palestinian institutions. According to UNESCO, Palestinians are one of the most highly educated groups in the Middle East "despite often difficult circumstances". The literacy rate among Palestinians in the West Bank (and Gaza) (89%) is third highest in the region after Israel (95%) and Jordan (90%).

The Muslim community makes up 75 percent of the population, while 17 percent of the population practice Judaism and the other 8 percent of the population consider themselves Christian.

The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross refer to it as occupied by Israel.

The future status of the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean shore, has been the subject of negotiation between the Palestinians and Israelis, although the current Road Map for Peace, proposed by the "Quartet" comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, envisions an independent Palestinian state in these territories living side by side with Israel (see also proposals for a Palestinian state). However, the "Road Map" states that in the first phase, Palestinians must end all attacks on Israel, whereas Israel must dismantle outposts. Since neither condition has been met since the Road Map was "accepted," by all sides, final negotiations have not yet begun on major political differences.

The Palestinian Authority believes that the West Bank ought to be a part of their sovereign nation, and that the presence of Israeli military control is a violation of their right to Palestinian Authority rule. The United Nations calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied (see Israeli-occupied territories). The United States State Department also refers to the territories as occupied. Many Israelis and their supporters prefer the term disputed territories, because they claim part of the territory for themselves, and state the land has not, in 2000 years, been sovereign.

There has been a proposal of the West Bank's accession to Jordan by the people of Jordan, Palestine and even Israel. It is also supported by Pakistan, Turkey and Syria.

Israeli settlements on the West Bank beyond the Green Line border are considered by some legal scholars to be illegal under international law. Other legal scholars including Julius Stone, have argued that the settlements are legal under international law, on a number of different grounds. The Independent reported in March 2006 that immediately after the 1967 war Theodor Meron, legal counsel of Israel's Foreign Ministry advised Israeli ministers in a "top secret" memo that any policy of building settlements across occupied territories violated international law and would "contravene the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention". A contrasting opinion was held by Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of the Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in the administration of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, who wrote in 1991 that Israel has a right to have settlements in the West Bank under 1967's UN Security Council Resolution 242. The European Union and the Arab League consider the settlements to be illegal. Israel also recognizes that some small settlements are "illegal" in the sense of being in violation of Israeli law.

Although Israel has formally pledged to stop settlement efforts in the West Bank as part of internationally-backed peace efforts, it has failed to honor the commitment and construction has continued to grow. Israel has also stopped monitoring new construction at the settlements.

In 2005 the United States ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurtzer, expressed U.S. support "for the retention by Israel of major Israeli population centres as an outcome of negotiations", reflecting President Bush's statement a year earlier that a permanent peace treaty would have to reflect "demographic realities" on the West Bank.

The UN Security Council has issued several non-binding resolutions addressing the issue of the settlements. Typical of these is UN Security Council resolution 446 which states practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity, and it calls on Israel as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

On December 30, 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued an order requiring approval by both the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Defense Minister of all settlement activities (including planning) in the West Bank.

The Israeli West Bank barrier is a physical barrier being constructed by Israel consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 metres (197 ft) wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 metres (26 ft) high concrete walls (10%) (although in most areas the wall is not nearly that high). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or "Green Line" between the West Bank and Israel. As of April 2006 the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometers (436 miles) long. Approximately 58.4% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier. The space between the barrier and the green line is a closed military zone known as the Seam Zone, cutting off 8.5% of the West Bank and encompassing tens of villages and tens of thousands of Palestinians..

The barrier generally runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice/Green Line, but diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Jewish settlements in the West Bank such as East Jerusalem, Ariel, Gush Etzion, Emmanuel, Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze'ev, Oranit, and Maale Adumim.

The barrier is a very controversial project. Supporters claim the barrier is a necessary tool protecting Israeli civilians from the Palestinian attacks that increased significantly during the al-Aqsa Intifada; it has helped reduce incidents of terrorism by 90% from 2002 to 2005; over a 96% reduction in terror attacks in the six years ending in 2007, though Israel's State Comptroller has acknowledged that most of the suicide bombers crossed into Israel through existing checkpoints . Its supporters claim that the onus is now on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism.

Opponents claim the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, violates international law, has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations, and severely restricts Palestinians who live nearby, particularly their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel, thereby undermining their economy. According to a 2007 World Bank report, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank has destroyed the Palestinian economy, in violation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. All major roads (with a total length of 700 km) are basically off-limits to Palestinians, making it impossible to do normal business. Economic recovery would reduce Palestinian dependence on international aid by one billion dollars per year.

Pro-settler opponents claim that the barrier is a sly attempt to artificially create a border that excludes the settlers, creating "facts on the ground" that justify the mass dismantlement of hundreds of settlements and displacement of over 100,000 Jews from the land they claim as their biblical homeland.

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Israeli West Bank barrier

Israeli West Bank barrier - North of Meitar, near the south west corner of the West Bank.

The Israeli West-Bank barrier is a barrier being constructed by Israel consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 meters wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 meters high concrete walls (10%). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or "Green Line" between Israel and Jordan which now demarcates the West Bank. As of April 2006, the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometers (436 miles) long. Approximately 58.04% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier. The Jerusalem Post reported in July 2007 that the barrier may not be fully constructed until 2010, seven years after it was originally supposed to be completed.

Settler opponents, by contrast, condemn the wall for appearing to renounce the Jewish claim to the whole of Eretz Israel.

Two similar barriers, the Israeli Gaza Strip barrier and the Israeli-built 40-foot (12 m) wall separating Gaza from Egypt (temporarily breached on January 23, 2008), have been much less controversial.

The naming of the barrier is controversial. Israelis most commonly refer to the barrier as the "separation (hafrada) fence" ( גדר ההפרדה (help·info), Geder HaHafrada) and "security fence" or "anti-terrorist fence", with "seam zone" (קו התפר, Kav HaTefer) referring to the land between the fence and the 1949 armistice lines.

This path must lead to a separation, though not according to the borders prior to 1967. We want to reach a separation between us and them. We do not want a majority of the Jewish residents of the state of Israel, 98% of whom live within the borders of sovereign Israel, including a united Jerusalem, to be subject to terrorism.

In early 1995, the Shahal commission was established by Yitzhak Rabin to discuss how to implement a barrier separating Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, prior to the Camp David 2000 Summit with Yasser Arafat, vowed to build a separation barrier, stating that it is "essential to the Palestinian nation in order to foster its national identity and independence without being dependent on the State of Israel".

Following a Palestinian violence outbreak in 2002, Israel began construction of a barrier that would separate most of the West Bank from areas inside Israel. The Israeli Supreme Court made reference to the conditions and history that led to the building of the barrier. In the September 2005 decision, it described the history of violence against Israeli citizens since the breakout of the Second Intifada and the loss of life that ensued on the Israeli side. The court ruling also cited the attempts Israel had made to defend its citizens, including "military operations" carried out against "terrorist acts", and stated that these actions...

In June 2001, a grass roots organization called "Fence for Life - The Public Movement for The Security Fence" began the grassroots effort for the construction of a continuous security fence. The movement was founded by people from all over Israel following the Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing.

The stated goal of the movement is to encourage the government to construct a security fence along Israel's borders. "Fence for Life" urged the government to build a continuous fence as speedily as possible, and without any connection to the political future of the areas it separates, with a goal of hermetically sealing off the Palestinian territories from Israeli population centers to prevent the terrorist acts by Palestinians against the people living in Israel.

The "Fence for Life" campaign emphasized that any security fence has no connection whatsoever to the political future of the settlements. The Movement for the Security Fence for Israel included protests, demonstrations, conferences with public figures, media blitzes, lobbying in the Knesset as well as legal battles in the High Court of Justice, both with demands to quickly build the security fence as well as appeals not to cause further delay in construction. The movement does not support any specific path for the barrier, as this is subject to a government decision. "Fence for Life" was of the opinion that "politicization" of the fence by various groups was delaying the completion of the security barrier and is likely to block its construction. At the end of 2002, due to government inaction, several localities who suffered the most from lack of a border barrier had started to build the barrier using their own funds directly on the green-line.

Although the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was initially hesitant to construct the barrier, he finally embraced the plan. The stated purpose of the barrier is to prevent terrorists from entering Israeli cities, a problem which has plagued Israel since the start of the Second Intifada. A secondary purpose of the barrier is to prevent illegal infiltrations by Palestinians, mainly illegal immigrants and car thieves. The Israeli government says that the high concrete portions are to protect cars and people on the Israeli side from gunfire. Many Israelis note the danger of terrorist incursions from the area, such as waves of suicide bombings in early 2002.

When Israel's free society was defending itself against an unprecedented campaign of terror, most of the international community was calling for an end of the "cycle of violence" and a return to the negotiating table. When the Palestinian terrorists struck... Israel was condemned for imposing "collective punishment" on the Palestinian population. When Israel chose to target individual terrorists with precision air strikes, its actions were condemned as illegal extrajudicial assassinations. It seemed that in eyes of many, the Jews had a right to defend themselves in theory but could not exercise that right in practice... our government understood that there were three options to maintain an acceptable level of security for our citizens. The first was to wage a total war against Palestinian terror using weapons that would claim many innocent Palestinian lives. The second was to keep our reserves constantly mobilized to defend the country. The third option was to build the security fence. Had the Palestinian Authority become a partner in fighting terror, as it was obliged to do under all the agreements that it signed, none of these options would have become necessary.

The barrier generally runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice/Green Line, but diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Israeli settlements in the West Bank such as East Jerusalem, Ariel, Gush Etzion, Emmanuel, Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze'ev, Oranit, and Maale Adumim. Because of the complex path it follows, most of the barrier is actually set in the West Bank. It diverges from the "Green Line" by anywhere from 200 meters to as much as 20 kilometers, with the result that many Israeli settlements in the West Bank remain on the Israeli side of the barrier, and some Palestinian towns are nearly encircled by it. Approximately 20% is actually on the Green Line. The proponents of the barrier claim that its route is not set in stone, as it was challenged in court and changed several times. They note that the cease-fire line of 1949 was negotiated "without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines" (Art. VI.9). Security experts argue that the topography does not permit putting the barrier along the Green Line in some places, because hills or tall buildings on the Palestinian side would make the barrier ineffective against terrorism. The International Court of Justice has countered that in such cases it is only legal to build the barrier inside Israel.

As of November 2003, the barrier extends inside most of the northwestern and western edges of the West Bank, sometimes close to the Green Line, and sometimes running further east. In some places there are also secondary barriers, creating a number of completely enclosed enclaves.

In February 2004, Israel said it would review the route of the barrier in response to U.S. and Palestinian concerns. In particular, Israeli cabinet members said modifications would be made to reduce the number of checkpoints Palestinians had to cross, and especially to reduce Palestinian hardship in areas such as Qalqilyah where the barrier goes very near, and in some cases nearly encircles, populated areas.

On June 30, 2004, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that a portion of the barrier west of Jerusalem violates the rights of Palestinians, and ordered 30 km of existing and planned barrier to be rerouted. However, it did rule that the barrier is legal in essence and accepted the Israeli government's claim that it is a security measure. On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion that it is a violation of international law. At the beginning of September 2004, Israel started the southern part of the barrier.

On February 20, 2005, the Israeli cabinet approved a new route. The new route is 681 kilometers and would leave approximately seven percent of the West Bank and 10,000 Palestinians on the Israeli side. (Map) Before that time, the exact route of the barrier had not been finalized, and it had been alleged by opponents that the barrier route would encircle the Samarian highlands of the West Bank, separating them from the Jordan valley.

Following a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, the route was again revised by a cabinet decision on April 30, 2006. In the Ariel area, the new route corrects an anomaly of the previous route that would have left thousands of Palestinians on the Israeli side. The Alfei Menashe settlement bloc was reduced in size, and the new plan leaves three groups of Palestinian houses on the Palestinian side of the fence. The barrier's route in the Jerusalem area will leave Beit Iksa on the Palestinian side; and Jaba on the Israeli side, but with a crossing to the Palestinian side at Tzurif. Further changes were made to the route around Eshkolot and Metzadot Yehuda, and the route from Metzadot to Har Choled was approved.

See also 1949 Cease-fire line vs. the permanent border.

Most of the barrier (over 95% of total length) consists of a "multi-layered fence system" ideally 50 m in width. The IDF's preferred design has three fences, with pyramid-shaped stacks of barbed wire for the two outer fences and a lighter-weight fence with intrusion detection equipment in the middle. Patrol roads are provided on both sides of the middle fence, an anti-vehicle ditch is located on the West Bank side of the fence, and a smooth dirt strip on the Israeli side for "intrusion tracking".

Some sections (less than 5% of total length) are constructed as a wall made up of concrete slabs up to 8 m in height and 3 m in width. Occasionally, due to topographic conditions other sections of the barrier will reach up to 100 m in width. Wall construction (5%) is more common in urban settings, such as areas near Qalqilyah and Jerusalem, because it is narrower, requires less land, and provides more protection against snipers. In all cases there are regular observation posts, automated sensing devices and other apparatus. Gates at various points are controlled by Israeli soldiers.

Israeli statistics indicate that the barrier has substantially reduced the number of Palestinian infiltrations and suicide bombings and other attacks on civilians in Israel and in Israeli settlements, and Israeli officials assert that completion of the barrier will make it even more effective in stopping these attacks since "An absolute halt in terrorist activities has been noticed in the West Bank areas where the fence has been constructed". Israel's state comptroller, however, notes that most of the suicide bombers crossed into Israel through existing checkpoints.

Israeli officers (including the head of the Shin Bet) quoted in the newspaper Maariv have claimed that in the areas where the barrier was complete, the number of hostile infiltrations has decreased to almost zero. Maariv also stated that Palestinian militants, including a senior member of Islamic Jihad, had confirmed that the barrier made it much harder to conduct attacks inside Israel. Since the completion of the fence in the area of Tulkarem and Qalqilyah in June 2003, there have been no successful attacks from those areas. All attacks were intercepted or the suicide bombers detonated prematurely. In a March 23, 2008 interview, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah complained to the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq that the separation barrier "limits the ability of the resistance to arrive deep within to carry out suicide bombing attacks , but the resistance has not surrendered or become helpless, and is looking for other ways to cope with the requirements of every stage" of the intifada.

There is general agreement that effects to date have coincided with improved Israeli security.

However, there is debate over how effective the barrier has been in preventing terrorist attacks. A report by the Shin Beit, published in early 2006 notes that terror attacks in 2005 have significantly decreased due to increased pursuing of Palestinian militants by the Israeli army and intelligence organizations, Hamas's increased political activity, and a truce among Palestinian militant groups in the Palestinian Territories. According to Haaretz the report also mentions that "The security fence is no longer mentioned as the major factor in preventing suicide bombings, mainly because the terrorists have found ways to bypass it." Former Israeli Secretary of Defence Moshe Arens claims that the reduction in terrorism is largely due to the IDF's entry into Judea and Samaria in 2002.

According to a 2005 report published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the barrier being built around Jerusalem may have unintended effects on the city. According to the study, many Jerusalem Palestinians who were living in areas outside the barrier are now moving back into the city, creating housing shortages, increased real estate prices, and the phenomena of Palestinians moving into traditionally Jewish neighborhoods of the city.

Fears in right wing circles that the fence will reduce the Jewish population behind it has been countered from the same circles, arguing that attempts to keep Jews out of the land they believe is theirs are no more likely to succeed today than they were in Mandate Palestine, when the British blockaded the shores and issued the White Paper of 1939 to prevent Jews from purchasing land in the Mandate.

The barrier has many effects on Palestinians including reduced freedoms, reduction of Israeli checkpoint and closures, loss of land, increased difficulty in accessing medical services in Israel, restricted access to water sources, change in political tactics and strategy, and economic effects.

An often-quoted example of the effects of the barrier is the Palestinian town of Qalqilyah, a city of around 45,000, where an 8 meter-high concrete section is built on the Green Line between the city and the nearby Trans-Israel Highway. The wall in this section, referred to as an "anti-sniper wall," has been claimed to prevent gun attacks against Israeli motorists on the nearby Trans-Israel Highway. The city is accessible through a main road from the east, and an underground tunnel built in September 2004 on the south side connects Qalqilyah with the adjacent village of Habla. Recently, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government to change the route of the barrier in this area to ease movement of Palestinians between Qalqilyah and 5 surrounding villages. In the same ruling, the court rejected the arguments that the fence must be built only on the Green Line. The ruling cited the topography of the terrain, security considerations, and sections 43 and 52 of The Hague Regulations 1907 and Article 53 of the 4th Geneva Convention as reasons for this rejection.

In early October 2003, the IDF OC Central Command declared the area between the separation barrier in the northern section of the West Bank (Stage 1) and the Green Line a closed military area for an indefinite period of time. New directives stated that every Palestinian over the age of twelve living in the enclaves created in the closed area have to obtain a “permanent resident permit” from the Civil Administration to enable them to continue to live in their homes. Other residents of the West Bank have to obtain special permits to enter the area.

In June 2004, The Washington Times reported that the reduced need for Israeli military incursions in Jenin have prompted efforts to rebuild damaged streets and buildings and a gradual return to a semblance of normality, and in a letter dated October 25, 2004, from the Israeli mission to Kofi Annan, Israel's government pointed out that a number of restrictions east of the barrier have been lifted as a result of the barrier, including a reduction in checkpoints from 71 to 47 and roadblocks from 197 to 111. The Jerusalem Post reports that, for some Palestinians who are Israeli citizens living in the Israeli Arab town of Umm el-Fahm (population 42,000) near Jenin, the barrier has "significantly improved their lives" because, on one hand, it prevents would-be thieves or terrorists from coming to their town and, on the other hand, has increased the flow of customers from other parts of Israel who would normally have patronised Palestinian business in the West Bank, resulting in an economic boom. The report states that the downsides are that the barrier has divided families in half and "damaged Israeli Arabs' solidarity with the Palestinians living on the other side of the Green Line".

A UN report released in August 2005 observed that the existence of the barrier "replaced the need for closures: movement within the northern West Bank, for example, is less restrictive where the Barrier has been constructed. Physical obstacles have also been removed in Ramallah and Jerusalem governorates where the Barrier is under construction." The report notes that more freedom of movement in rural areas may ease Palestinian access to hospitals and schools, but also notes that restrictions on movement between urban population centers have not significantly changed.

Parts of the barrier are built on land confiscated from Palestinians. In a recent report, the UN noted that the most recent barrier route allocates more segments to be built on the Green Line itself compared to previous draft routes of the barrier.

As of May 2004, the fence construction had already uprooted an estimated 102,320 Palestinian olive and citrus trees, demolished 75 acres (0.3 km²) of greenhouses and 23 miles (37 km) of irrigation pipes. At that point, it rested on 15,000 dunums (3,705 acres or 15 km²) of confiscated land, only meters away from a number of small villages, or hamlets. In early 2003, in order to move a section of the barrier to the Green Line, a mall of 63 shops straddling that line into Israel was demolished by the IDF in the village of Nazlat Issa after giving their owners 30 minutes notice. In August 2003, an additional 115 shops and stalls (an important source of income for several communities) and five to seven homes there were also demolished. The Israeli government has promised that trees affected by the construction will be replanted.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), 15 communities were to be directly affected, numbering approximately 138,593 Palestinians, including 13,450 refugee families, or 67,250 individuals. In addition to loss of land, in the city of Qalqilyah one-third of the city's water wells lie on the other side of the barrier. The Israeli Supreme Court notes the Israeli government's rejection of accusations of a de facto annexation of these wells, stating that "the construction of the fence does not affect the implementation of the water agreements determined in the (interim) agreement".

Médecins du Monde, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel have stated that the barrier "harms West Bank health". Upon completion of the construction, the organizations predict, the barrier would prevent over 130,000 Palestinian children from being immunised, and deny more than 100,000 pregnant women (out of which 17,640 are high risk pregnancies) access to healthcare in Israel. In addition, almost a third of West Bank villages will suffer from lack of access to healthcare. After completion, many residents may lose complete access to emergency care at night. In towns near Jerusalem (Abu Dis and al-Eizariya), for example, average time for an ambulance to travel to the nearest hospital has increased from 10 minutes to over 110 minutes. A report from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel states that the barrier imposes "almost-total separation" on the hospitals from the population they are supposed to serve. The report also noted that patients from the West Bank visiting Jerusalem's Palestinian clinics declined by half from 2002 to 2003.

Members of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been less able to conduct attacks in Israel, the numbers of which have decreased in areas where the barrier has been completed. Daniel Ayalon, Israel's ambassador to the United States, suggested that reduced ability to conduct attacks would "save the political process" because the barrier would neutralize the ability of militant groups "to hold that process hostage" by conducting these acts.

In his November 2006 interview with Al-Manar TV, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Salah claimed that the barrier is an important obstacle, and that "if it weren’t there, the situation would be entirely different." In a March 23, 2008 interview, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah complained to the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq that his organization had been forced to switch from martyrdom missions to rocket attacks because the separation barrier "limits the ability of the resistance to arrive deep within to carry out suicide bombing attacks, but the resistance has not surrendered or become helpless, and is looking for other ways to cope with the requirements of every stage" of the intifada.

Real GDP growth in the West Bank increased modestly in 2003, 2004, and 2005 after declining in 2000, 2001, and 2002 (see Figure 1). However, these drops in economic productivity came before the construction of the barrier began. In 2005, the PNA Ministry of Finance cited the 2003 "construction of the separation wall" as one reason for the depressed Palestinian economic activity.

According to the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) and other sources, much of Qalqilyah's farmland now lie outside the barrier, and farmers require permits from Israeli authorities to access their lands that are on the opposite side. In the town of Jayyus, in the district of Qalqilya there are three gates in the barrier for the purpose of admitting farmers with permits to their fields that are open 3 times a day for a total of 50 minutes, although according to the NAD they have often been arbitrarily closed for extended periods leading to loss of crops, and one of these gates has been closed since August 2004 due to a suicide attack that took place near the gate. The Israeli Human Rights center B'Tselem notes that "thousands of Palestinians have difficulty going to their fields and marketing their produce in other areas of the West Bank. Farming is a primary source of income in the Palestinian communities situated along the Barrier's route, an area that constitutes one of the most fertile areas in the West Bank. The harm to the farming sector is liable to have drastic economic effects on the residents – whose economic situation is already very difficult – and drive many families into poverty".

On two occasions the Israeli government has been instructed by the Supreme Court of Israel to alter the route of the barrier to ensure that negative impacts on Palestinians would be minimized and proportional.

In 2004, the United Nations passed a number of resolutions and the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion calling for the barrier to be removed, and for Arab residents to be compensated for any damage done: "The Court finds that the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law".

Israel submitted a 246 page written statement containing the views of the Government of Israel on Jurisdiction and Propriety to the Court, but chose not make any oral statements. The case was viewed by many governments (including the United States and the European Union) as lacking standing, because the jurisdiction of the ICJ is limited to member states to the body, and the plaintiffs in the case lacked this designation (citation needed).

Israeli public opinion has been very strongly in favor of the barrier, partly in the hope that it will improve security and partly in the belief that the barrier marks the eventual border of a Palestinian state. Due to the latter possibility, the settler movement opposes the barrier, although this opposition has waned since it became clear the barrier would be diverted to the east of major Israeli settlements such as Ariel. According to Haaretz, a survey conducted by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research, Tel Aviv University, there is an overwhelming support for the barrier among the Jewish population of Israel: 84% in March 2004 and 78% in June 2004.

Most Israelis believe the barrier and intensive activity by the Israel Defense Forces to be the main factors in the decrease in successful suicide attack from the West Bank. The proponents of the barrier insist that reversible inconveniences to Palestinians should be balanced with the threats to lives of Israeli civilians and believe that the barrier is a non-violent way to stop terrorism and save innocent lives.

Additionally, many Israelis living in settlements, such as the Gush Etzion area, oppose the fence because it separates them from the rest of Israel. They argue that building the fence defines a border, and that they are being left out. According to most settlers, all of the West Bank belongs to Israel, and separating any of it with a fence is the first step in giving the land away.

Some Israeli left wing activists, such as Anarchists Against the Wall and Gush Shalom are active in protests against the barrier, especially in the West Bank towns of Bil'in and Jayyous.

The Palestinian population and its leadership are essentially unanimous in opposing the barrier. A significant number of Palestinians have been separated from their own farmlands or their places of work or study, and many more will be separated as the barriers near Jerusalem are completed. Furthermore, because of its planned route as published by the Israeli government, the barrier is perceived as a plan to confine the Palestinian population to specific areas. They state that Palestinian institutions in Abu Dis will be prevented from providing services to residents in the East Jerusalem suburbs, and that a 10-minute walk has become a 3-hour drive in order to reach a gate, to go (if allowed) through a crowded military checkpoint, and drive back to the destination on the other side.

More broadly, Palestinian spokespersons, supported by many in the Israeli left wing and other organizations, claim that the hardships imposed by the barrier will breed further discontent amongst the affected population and add to the security problem rather than solving it.

In October 2003, a United Nations resolution to declare the barrier illegal where it deviates from the green line and should be torn down was vetoed by the US in the United Nations Security Council. In December 2003, it was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly (with four votes against). Consequently, the International Court of Justice was asked for an advisory opinion.. It concluded that the barrier violated international law. On 20 July 2004, the UN General Assembly accepted another resolution condemning the barrier with 150 countries voting for the resolution. Only 6 countries voted against: Israel, the US, Australia, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau. The US and Israel rejected both the verdict and the resolution. All 25 members of the European Union voted in favour of the resolution after it was amended to include calls for Israelis and Palestinians to meet their obligations under the "roadmap" peace plan.

The Red Cross has declared the barrier in violation of the Geneva Convention. On February 18, 2004, The International Committee of the Red Cross stated that the Israeli barrier "causes serious humanitarian and legal problems" and goes "far beyond what is permissible for an occupying power".

Since the summer of 2002 the Israeli army has been destroying large areas of Palestinian agricultural land, as well as other properties, to make way for a fence/wall which it is building in the West Bank. In addition to the large areas of particularly fertile Palestinian farmland that have been destroyed, other larger areas have been cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the fence/wall. The fence/wall is not being built between Israel and the Occupied Territories but mostly (close to 90%) inside the West Bank, turning Palestinian towns and villages into isolated enclaves, cutting off communities and families from each other, separating farmers from their land and Palestinians from their places of work, education and health care facilities and other essential services. This in order to facilitate passage between Israel and more than 50 illegal Israeli settlements located in the West Bank.

On February 20, 2004 the World Council of Churches adopted a statement demanding that Israel halt and reverse construction on the barrier and strongly condemning what they believe to be violations of human rights and humanitarian consequences that have resulted due to construction of the barrier. While acknowledging Israel's serious security concerns and asserting that the construction of the barrier on its own territory would not have been a violation of international law, the statement rejected what it saw as the creation of a new political boundary that confiscates Palestinian land.

On July 25, 2003, then-President of the United States George W. Bush said "I think the wall is a problem. And I discussed this with Ariel Sharon. It is very difficult to develop confidence between the Palestinians and Israel with a wall snaking through the West Bank." The following year, addressing the issue of the barrier as a future border, he said in a letter to Sharon on April 14, 2004 that it "should be a security rather than political barrier, should be temporary rather than permanent and therefore not prejudice any final status issues including final borders, and its route should take into account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in terrorist activities." President Bush reiterated this position during a May 26, 2005 joint press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Rose Garden.

In 2005, Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the time a U.S. Senator from New York, said she supports the separation fence Israel is building along the edges of the West Bank, and that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism. "This is not against the Palestinian people," she said during a tour of a section of the barrier being built around Jerusalem. "This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism." Clinton's comments echoed Israel's position that the Palestinians must crack down on militants or Israel will find ways to prevent attacks on its citizens. Israel Defense Forces commanders explained the security considerations of the barrier to Clinton at an observation point in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.

Canada recognizes Israel's right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including through the restriction of access to its territory, and by building a barrier on its own territory for security purposes. However, Canada opposes the barrier's incursion into and the disruption of occupied territories. Regarding the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as "occupied territory", Canada considers the barrier to be contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Canada opposes the barrier and the expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure preceding its construction.

Graffiti on the Palestinian side of walled sections of the barrier has consistently been one of many forms of protest against its existence. Large areas of the walls feature messages relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, demanding an end to the barrier, or criticizing its builders and its existence ('Welcome to the Ghetto-Abu Dis'). In August 2005, the U.K. graffiti artist Banksy painted nine images on the Palestinian side of the barrier. He describes the barrier as "the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers", and returned in December 2007 with new images for "Santa's ghetto" in Bethlehem. The Times headlined the graffiti project "Let Us Spray". On June 21, 2006, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters wrote "Tear down the wall" on the wall, a phrase from the Pink Floyd album "The Wall".

On March 9, 2006, The New York Times quoted then-acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as stating that if his Kadima party wins the upcoming national elections, he would seek to set Israel's permanent borders by 2010, and that the boundary would run along or close to the barrier.

Some opponents of the barrier claim that building and maintaining the wall is a crime of apartheid, isolating Palestinian communities in the West Bank and consolidating the annexation of Palestinian land by Israeli settlements. However, this is disputed by others.

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West Bank (Metro Transit station)

West Bank Station is a current proposed station on the upcoming light rail line, Minnesota's Central Corridor. It would be located in the West Bank of the University of Minnesota near the Law School.

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East West Bank Classic

Eastwestbankclassic logo.png

The East West Bank Classic presented by Herbalife is a Tier II tennis tournament on the WTA Tour held in Carson, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. The 2009 event is being held from 3 August to 9 August. The tournament is played on outdoor hard courts.

The tournament started out on the inaugural Virginia Slims Tour in Long Beach, California in 1971. In 1973, it moved to Los Angeles. The event was off the tour calendar for three years (1974-1976) when the season-ending championships were played in Los Angeles. The tournament was an indoor event until 1983, when it switched to outdoor hard courts in Manhattan Beach. After 20 years there, the event was moved to its present location in Carson in 2003.

This tournament is a part of the United States Open Series.

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West Bank Story

West Bank Story is a comedy/musical short film, directed by Ari Sandel, co-written by Sandel and Kim Ray, produced by Pascal Vaguelsy, Amy Kim, Ashley Jordan, Ravi Malhotra, and featuring choreography by Ramon Del Barrio. The film is a parody of the classic musical film West Side Story, which in turn is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. The film follows the romance between the relatives of the owners of rival falafel restaurants, one Israeli and the other Palestnian, respectively named the Kosher Kings and the Hummus Hut, in the West Bank. The film stars Ben Newmark as the IDF soldier, Noureen DeWulf as the Palestinian cashier, A.J. Tannen as the Israeli restaurant owner and Joey Naber as his Palestinian rival.

The film premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and was screened at numerous additional film festivals across the world, garnering several awards. In 2007, at the 79th Academy Awards, it won the Oscar in the category Best Live Action Short Film.

The film begins with a scene in which both the Palestinians and Israelis are both snapping, similar to the opening scene of West Side Story. The two parties head in to their own stands and tell about their own family-owned falafel stands, Hummus Hut ("Our People Must Be Fed") and Kosher King ("Our People Must Be Served"). During the day, Hummus Hut employee Fatima and Kosher King relative David are daydreaming about each other ("When I See Him). Fatima then runs out to give a customer their forgotten leftovers, at which point she has a chance encounter with David, when they both realize the other likes them.

Upon returning to the shop, Fatima finds the Israelis have built a large machine that encroaches onto their property. The head of Hummus Hut throws a rock into the machine, making it malfuncton, provoking a standoff between the two families (including David and Fatima). Ariel, head of the Kosher King, decides he is going to build a wall. After they leave, David and Fatima stay and David says he plans to come to her balcony tonight.

The construction begins, and the Palestinians plan to end it abruptly ("We're Gonna Build It"). As such happens, David goes to Fatima's house ("This Moment Is All We Have"), wanting to kiss her, but Fatima refuses, saying it will only elevate. They head over to stop the fight. As they do, it is revealed to Fatima's family that they are in love. The following fight tips over a canister of gasoline, causing the entire stand to catch fire. David goes to warn the Israelis, who celebrate- until an ember reaches the Kosher King, which proceeds to catch on fire. As both celebrate, Fatima points out to everyone that they are only making their lives worse.

The next morning, expectant falafel customers are oblivious to the fire, and still want food. Ahmed and Ariel have nothing, but David and Fatima scrap together some of the remaining food, sort of merging the two falafel stands. After the others are working, David and Fatima kiss. At the very end, Fatima asks what will happen if their families cannot stop fighting. David says he will "take you to a place called... Beverly Hills", alluding to "There's a Place for Us" in West Side Story.

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Source : Wikipedia