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Orchards affected by the Annexation Wall surrounding Qalqilya, West Bank

Separation wall denies local population means of livelihood and access to natural resources.


Qalqilya, a city recognized as the West Bank’s "bread basket" has been suffering since August 2002 under Israeli government's plans to build the Annexation Wall surrounding the city. The Annexation Wall, built on confiscated Palestinian land, surrounds Qalqilya from three sides leaving a mall access to it. During winter the orchards flood, since the natural flow of water was blocked by the Wall, leaving Palestinian farmers to endure losses. The Annexation Wall is 8 meter high, also surrounded by a trench 4 meters wide and 2 meters deep, barbed wire and a military road patrolled by the Israeli Occupying Forces. In the area within 35 meters from the Annexation Wall, any Palestinian property, including homes, farms, fields and greenhouses or water wells were destroyed. The entrances to the city are blocked by Israeli military with the remaining entrance being turned into a military fortified gateway. Considering overall figures of the land confiscation in this case, approximately 3,000 dunums (a dunam is 1.000 square metres) of agricultural land have been confiscated, representing nearly 50% of the city’s agricultural land. 19 wells in the city were confiscated (approximately 30% of the city's water supply). Due to the specific reliance on agriculture, land and water of the Qalqilya's residents, the impact of the Annexation Wall has led to an increasing impoverishment of the local population, denying them means of livelihood and access to natural resources, and also leading to an increasing migration out of the city. Forcing Qalqilya residents to migrate eastward, it eventually would make Israeli annexation of Qalqilya demographically "acceptable". A good illustration of suffering here is provided by a farming family we visited on the outskirts of Qalqilya. In that case we saw that the Annexation Wall bisected a small farm. The water and drainage facilities (as well as much farming land) lay on the Israel side of the Annexation Wall. What remained of the farm was no longer adequately drained, and indeed it was periodically polluted by sewage from the nearby town that ‘backed up’ against the Annexation Wall, on the occasions when the sluice gate in the Annexation Wall were closed and controlled by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF). The Palestinians had no control over the sluice gate, and thus were at the mercy of the IOF as to its opening and closing, leaving the family powerless in alleviating the adverse conditions.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Orchards affected by the Annexation Wall surrounding Qalqilya, West Bank
State or province:Qalqilya Governorate
Location of conflict:Qalqilya
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:50.000
Start of the conflict:01/06/2003
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
Development of alternatives:It's difficult to imagine a solution to the problems created by the Wall without considering its total dismantling.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Power and Water in the Middle East: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian ..., by Mark Zeitoun
[click to view]

Water and Conflict: Fresh Water Resources and International Security

Peter H. Gleick
[click to view]

Hydropolitics along the Jordan River, Wolf A.
[click to view]

Global Threats, Global Futures: Living with Declining Living Standards, by Thayer Scudde
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Israel's wall in the Qalqilya district
[click to view]

Qalqilya and the wall

Susan Brannon 2002
[click to view]

Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors: Focus on Qalqilya
[click to view]

The mayor of Qalqilya explains the impact of Israel’s apartheid wall. 2003
[click to view]

Other documents

Example of Qalqilya's Losses Under Seige. 2005
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Jesus Marcos Gamero. Environmental Justice in Palestine Project. AlHaq / Heinrich Boll, [email protected]
Last update31/03/2017
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