In June 2002, the government of Israel decided to erect a physical barrier to separate Israel and the West Bank, its declared objective being to prevent the uncontrolled entry of Palestinians into Israel. In most areas, the barrier is comprised of an electronic fence with dirt paths, barbed-wire fences, and trenches on both sides, at an average width of 60 meters. In some areas, the defense establishment decided to build a concrete wall six to eight meters high in place of the barrier. The length of the system – already built, under construction, or in planning – is 709 kilometers, a distance twice as long as the Green Line.

Israel’s Separation Barrier, dubbed the “Apartheid Wall” or “Berlin Wall” by Palestinians, has increasingly attracted international media attention, largely due to the hard-to-ignore scale of the project. The closest historical parallel to the barrier is the Berlin Wall, which was 96 miles long (155 kilometers). Israel’s barrier, still under construction, is expected to reach at least 403 miles in length (650 kilometers). The average height of the Berlin Wall was 11.8 feet (3.6 metres), compared with the maximum* current height of Israel’s Wall — 25 feet (8 metres). Israel’s barrier is therefore planned to be four times as long and in places twice as high as the Berlin Wall.