Wall and Checkpoints in Palestine

The military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip imposes severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinians. Since the early 1990s, Israel instituted a permit system, requiring that all Palestinians obtain military issued permits to travel between the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem or to travel abroad. This permit regime, along with the walls around the Gaza Strip and inside the West Bank, accompanied by the system of roadblocks, gates, checkpoints, and other obstacles to movement, severely limits Palestinian access to basic resources including land and water and basic services including health care and education, and perpetuate a system of segregation and legal and structural inequality between Palestinians and Israelis.

This section of Investigate includes companies that are involved in the various components of the system of restrictions on the movement of Palestinians as individuals and the fragmentation of the Palestinian society as a whole. This encompases the wall that blockades the Gaza Strip,. Corporate involvement in this system takes various forms, chief among them are:

  • Engineering firms involved in the planning of construction of the Gaza and West Bank walls
  • Companies that provide materials for the construction or maintenance of the Gaza and West Bank walls
  • Companies that operate or maintain checkpoints
  • High tech companies that provide surveillance equipment for the walls or checkpoints

The Gaza Wall

The border between Israel and the Gaza Strip is one of the most militarized in the world. The separation wall that blockades the Gaza Strip consists of several physical barriers. Construction of the barrier started in 1994, after the signing of the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area. The initial barrier consisted of a metal fence with barbed wire along the Green Line, Israel’s internationally recognized border. In 2000, after the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel rebuilt the fence and outfitted it with high tech observation towers. In proximity to populated areas and to border crossings the wall consisted of concrete slabs.

After Israel unilaterally withdrew its settler population from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it placed new and increased restrictions over the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza. Since 2007, Israel has imposed a military blockade over the Gaza Strip, and does not allow anyone to get in or out except for some humanitarian cases. The United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross have both declared the blockade to be an illegal form of collective punishment against the Gaza population. To enforce the blockade, Israel also cleared a no-go buffer zone along the fence perimeter, on the Gaza side, and instructed its soldiers to kill anyone who enters it, regardless of any indication of a security threat, a flagrant violation of international law. Over the years, Israel gradually expanded the width of the buffer zone, destroying in the process thousands of Palestinian farms, more than a thousand homes, several hundred water wells, and a few mosques, schools, and factories.

To enforce the blockade more efficiently, Israel introduced two new unmanned weapon systems designed to guard the Gaza border. The first, Sentry Tech, designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli-government-owned defense technology company, consists of remote-controlled machine guns mounted on pillbox guard towers that were erected every few hundred feet of the border. The second was Guardium, a weaponized autonomous armored border patrol vehicle, designed by a joint venture of Elbit Systems and the Israel Aerospace Industries. The latter was replaced in 2016 by an Elbit-designed combat vehicle based on a Ford F-350 truck.

The third phase of building the Gaza border wall began in 2017, to prevent tunnels from crossing the barrier underground. The new wall is comprised of 20-feet-tall concrete slabs above ground and 130-feet-deep concrete slabs reinforced with iron rods underground. The wall’s high tech components include surveillance cameras above ground and motion detection sensors underground. This aspect of the construction is headed by Elbit Systems, with several subcontractors. The new wall is scheduled to be completed in 2019, at a total cost of about $1 billion. According to news sources, several European and Chinese companies refused to be involved in this project because of its “political sensitivities.”

While Israel no longer maintains a civilian population and permanent military presence inside the Gaza Strip, and despite Israeli declarations that the wall around the Gaza Strip is an international border, Gaza is still considered occupied territory under international law. Israel still retains exclusive control over the Gaza Strip’s airspace, territorial waters, population registry, and tax revenues, among others. Since 2006, AFSC has called for an end to the Gaza blockade. We’ve called for action by both Israel and the international community, noting that both bear responsibility for the disaster in Gaza.

The West Bank Wall

In 2002, Israel started to construct a system of separation walls and barriers in the West Bank. Unlike the wall in Gaza, the West Bank wall is not constructed on the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border. Instead, roughly 85 percent of the wall’s path runs inside the occupied West Bank, placing most illegal settlements on the Israeli side of the wall. As early as 2003, John Dugard, at the time the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, referred to the construction of the wall as a “visible and clear act of territorial annexation under the guise of security.” Annexation of an occupied territory is strictly forbidden under international law.

While some parts of the wall separate Israeli communities from Palestinian ones, in other places it separates Palestinians from Palestinians. In Jerusalem, parts of the wall run inside the municipal boundaries, cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods from their communities and means of livelihood. In many places in the West Bank, construction of the wall was accomplished by massive land confiscation and destruction of Palestinian communities and means of livelihood. The West Bank barrier is not yet complete. It is complemented by a permanent system of roadblocks, gates, checkpoints, and other obstacles to movement of Palestinians.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that, by building the wall, Israel has breached “various of its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law and human rights instruments,” and that therefore the construction of the wall and its associated regime “are contrary to international law.” In accordance with this decision, AFSC believes that “construction of the wall should be halted, sections already completed should be dismantled, legislation and regulatory acts related to the wall should be canceled, and reparations should be made for all damages caused by the wall.”

Related Databases and Resources

More Information about Publicly-Traded Companies

An Israeli company specializing in control and automation technologies for electromechanical systems and infrascuctures. Supplied metal detectors to military checkpoints in the West Bank and Involved in the Jerusalem light rail project, which connects Jerusalem with the illegal settlements around it.

One of the largest construction and real estate companies in Israel. Carried out residential and infrastructure projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Involved in the construction of military checkpoints, the West Bank separation wall, and the Ofer military prison. Operates two quarries in the West Bank.

Israel's largest telecommunications company. Has infrastructure throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and Golan Heights. Services all illegal settlements as well as military bases and checkpoints.

A telecommunication, security, and infrastructure company. Its surveillance systems are used in military bases and checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. Company products are installed in multiple wepaons systems used by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians.

A US multinational manufacturer of heavy engineering machinery. Its equipment is customized for the use of the needs of the Israeli military occupation and is used in home demolitions, the construction of the West Bank and Gaza walls, and the construction of illegal settlements.

A Mexican multinational manufacturer and distributor of cement, concrete, and other construction materials. Has factories in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights. Its materials has been used to build multiple military checkpoints and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

An Italian manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment. Its equipment has been used to demolish Palestinian homes under military occupation and for the construction of the West Bank separation wall and illegal settlements.

South Korea

A Korean multinational conglomerate of power, desalination, heavy machinery, and construction companies. Its subsidiary Bobcat has been used in the construction of the West Bank separation wall and infrastrucure projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A US multinational IT company, born as the merger of CSC with a division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Operates the Israeli discriminatory population registry. Has a R&D center in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Israel's largest weapon company. Makes killer drones, large weapon systems, and ammunition used against civilians. Monitors walls and borders in Palestine and the US-Mexico border.

A US technology company that services government and defense, industrial, and commercial markets. Provides surveillance tools and technologies to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

A US multinational car and truck manufacturer. Its trucks are used by the Israeli military and border police to patrol the Gaza wall and for other military occupation-related purposes.

A US multinational car and truck manufacturer. Its trucks are used by the Israeli military and border police to patrol the Gaza wall and for other military occupation-related purposes.

An Israeli provider of satellite communication services. Its equipment is installed in military checkpoints across the occupied West Bank and in Israeli military armored personnel carriers.

A US multinational high tech company, previously part of defunct Hewlett-Packard Company. Provides equipment to the discriminatory Israeli population registry and prison system.

One of the world's largest IT companies. Develops the new discriminatory population registry of Israel.

One of the world’s largest military contractors. Supplies equipment for military checkpoints in occupied Palestine and for surveillance of the US-Mexico border and immigrant communities in the US.

An Israeli company specializing in high tech security systems for fences and walls. Its systems are installed in the West Bank and Gaza walls.

France

A French manufacturer of heavy machinery and construction equipment. Its cranes have been used in the construction and maintenance of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank.

A US data and telecommunications equipment manufacturer. Its equipment is installed in illegal settlements and the separation wall in the occupied West bank, and it is used by the Israeli military, police, and prison service.

Israel

An Israeli manufacturer of electronic detection systems. Its equipment is installed in the separation wall and illegal settlement roads in the occupied West Bank.

A US manufacturer of security and inspection systems. Its X-ray machines and metal detectors are used in military checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian Territory and on the US-Mexico border.

An Israeli infrastructure and construction company. Builds infrastructure and residential projects in multiple illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and has a factory a factory in a settlement. Involved in building military checkpoints and the Gaza wall.

A US manufacturer of trucks and construction equipment. Its products have been used in the construction of the separation wall and railway tracks in the occupied West Bank.

Owns Reshef Bitahon, a private security company. Provides security services to the Ma’ale Adumim settlement in the occupied West Bank. Has office in Katzrin in the occupied Golan Heights.

Sweden

A Swedish manufacturer of cars, trucks, buses, construction equipment, and industrial engines. Its equipment has been used in the demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of illegal settlements and of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank. Its buses are serving settlements and transport political prisoners.

An Israeli development and construction company. Constructed parts of the separation wall and residential projects in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.