In April 2002, following a lengthy series of brutal terrorist attacks, the MinisterialCommittee for National Security (hereafter: the Security Cabinet), headed by PrimeMinister Ariel Sharon, decided to establish a security fence between Israel and theWest Bank.
Two months later, the government authorized the route of the fenceas proposed by the security establishment, between Sallem, in the northwest areaof the West Bank, and Kafr Kassem, as well as two sections in the Jerusalem area.Three major sections have been completed since work began in August 2002: thecentral section between Sallem and Elkana, constituting the main part of the fence;the northeastern section, in the Mount Gilboa region, between Sallem and KibbutzTirat Zvi; and two sections in the south and north of Jerusalem. In addition, partsof the obstacle were built east of Jersualem.Both the decision-making process with regard to the fence and the geographicreality and the political consciousness it has created reflect the problematic andcomplex nature of decisions concerning national security in Israel. Morespecifically, this enormous project will have far-reaching consequences for themutual relations between Israelis and Palestinians and between Israel and thePalestinian Authority, in the shadow of the ongoing violent confrontation betweenthe sides.The initial conception and incipient planning of the fence date back to thesecond government of Yitzhak Rabin, when Moshe Shahal, the Minister of Interior Security, initiated planning for the “seam zone.” However, the security situationbetween 1995 and 2002 did not generate massive public and political pressure to
In this document the terms “security fence,” “seam zone,” “obstacle” (the official ter-minology of the security establishment), and “separation/disengagement fence,” which iscommonly used by the Israeli media, will be used alternatively. In the international mediathe prevalent term is “wall.” It should be emphasized that the Israeli security establish-ment also uses several terms interchangeably, as can be seen, for example, on the officialIsraeli websites relating to the fence project. The Defense Ministry’s site is called “TheSeam Zone” in Hebrew and “The Security Fence” in English.See: