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The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.

Separation Barrier

Also termed the Wall, the Fence, Separation Wall, Security Fence, Annexation Wall and Apartheid Wall. A long structure of connected walls and fences that separates Israel from most of the West Bank, some sections of which run along the Green Line, but most of which cuts into the West Bank. Critics and supporters of the Barrier disagree over the intent behind the structure, its route and its name. Israel began constructing the Separation Barrier in 2002, purportedly as a reaction to the violence of the Second Intifada. Still under construction as of 2014, Israel claims the Separation Barrier is needed for security, and cites decreases in suicide bombings within Israel since its construction as proof that the structure is both effective and necessary. Opponents criticize the structure as an attempt to annex Occupied Palestinian Territory and to unilaterally define future borders. They maintain that the route of the Separation Barrier is a land-grab, stealing privately-owned Palestinian land, and makes certain Palestinian villages and cities economically unviable. The Barrier has imposed new restrictions on movement for Palestinians living near its route or in the Seam Zone, as well as additional restrictions on access to farm land, medical care, education, and more. Popular Struggle Committees in villages along the route of the barrier (such as Budrus, Bil'in, Ni'ilin, and Maasara ) have been organizing unarmed demonstrations against the barrier for years, with Israeli and international allies frequently invited to join the demonstrations. Israel has modified some of the routes in response to various Israeli High Court of Justice rulings as well as in response to international pressure and Palestinian-led demonstrations, but the route is still disputed. The debate over the barrier's legality intensified after the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion in 2004 declaring it a breach of international law. See "Separation Barrier," B'Tselem, Jan 1, 2011; and "10 years Since the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion," United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, July 9, 2014. See also Just Vision's documentary film, "Budrus." See also infographic "Where Law Stands on the Wall," Visualizing Palestine.