Friday, December 23, 2005

What is the impact of Israel's "wall"?

ANERA: Peter Gubser's Middle East Trip Report - November 2005: "149 West Bank Palestinian localities are affected by the Barrier including 15 located in closed areas. PCBS reported that a total of 47, 921 dunums (4,792 hectares) of Palestinian land has been requisitioned by the Israeli military duing the building of the Barrier. As of June 2005 the survey found that 301,122 dunums (30,112 hectares) of West Bank land is located between the Green Line and the Barrier. A total of 2,448 households were displaced from the affected localities since the beginning of construction and 1,702 economic establishments closed. Survey results show that 124 localities affected by the Barrier are receiving humanitarian assistance. [Data from Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics]
During my trip, the PNA deployed a large number of police. I witnessed a significant presence in Gaza City, Ramallah, Nablus, and Hebron, the cities we visited. It is obvious that PNA President Mahmoud Abbas is making a statement and hoping to eventually establish more state order.
From our conversations, it was apparent that the lack of order was particularly acute in Nablus. We were told that groups of thugs - some attached to factions, others not - were quite disruptive and that people and institutions were, at times, intimidated. With the deployment of the police in force during the week of November 14, 2005, gun fights started breaking out, especially at night, between the groups of thugs and the police. The latter will have to have strong leadership and the will to remain in the streets, i.e., staying power to re-establish order throughout Nablus.

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