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From the field

New B'Tselem and Bimkom report: Barrier Route was Planned to Enable Settlement Expansion

The expansion of settlements in the West Bank has been a primary consideration in setting the route of many sections of the Separation Barrier. This is the conclusion of a report released today by B'Tselem and Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights, following this morning's High Court decision regarding the Barrier around the settlement of Alfe Menashe. Under the Guise of Security proves that, contrary to the state's claim that the Barrier's route is based solely on security reasons, the main consideration in setting the route in some locations was to include on the "Israeli" side of the Barrier areas which are slated for settlements expansion. In some cases, the expansion amounts to the establishment of new settlements.

The report shows that not only were security-related reasons of secondary importance in certain locations, in cases when they conflicted with settlement expansion, the planners opted for expansion, even at the expense of compromised security. This desire for settlement expansion led to an increase in the violation of Palestinians' human rights.

The report provides an in-depth analysis of the expansion plans in four settlements - Zufin, Alfe Menashe, Modi'in Illit, and Geva Benyamin (Adam)-Neve Ya'akov - and the connection between the plans and the route of the Separation Barrier. The report also presents the principal findings in eight other cases in which the settlement's expansion plans significantly affected the Barrier's route: Rehan, Sal'it, Oranit, Ofarim, Ari'el, Qedumim, Gevaot, and Eshkolot.