Date published: 08/03/04
This statement reflects the views of the Planners Network Steering Committee. We welcome and encourage further discussion, comments, and involvement in this important issue.
We believe that urban and rural land should be planned in a way that fosters interactions and connections between people and the elimination of social, economic and ethnic barriers. We oppose planning that leads to the displacement of communities, the destruction of homes, and the erection of barriers.
The Israeli Wall is planned to encircle the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and create a series of isolated enclaves of Palestinian Arabs. Most of the wall is being built illegally within the Occupied Territories, enabling the Israeli government and businesses to take control over Palestinian homes, water and farmland. The wall separates many Palestinians from their families, schools, hospitals, and places of work. By dividing Palestinian communities, it prevents the creation of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.
The Wall is the latest tactic to realize the Israeli government’s long-range plan to displace Palestinian people and gain control over the resources of the Occupied Territories. Israel has also built an extensive network of “bypass roads” – freeways that only Israelis can use to drive through the Occupied Territories and to Israeli settlements, which are exclusive ethnic enclaves. The bypass roads and hundreds of internal military checkpoints restrict Palestinians from moving within the Occupied Territories. These tactics are resulting in a segregated arrangement of gated Israeli settlements and isolated Palestinian ghettos, comparable to the Bantustans of South African apartheid. The plan is largely financed through the $3 billion annual military aid of the United States government, making it the largest government-financed urban renewal project since the 1960s.
Planners Network supports efforts to stop the construction of the Israeli Wall, stop the demolition of homes, and end the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. We endorse all efforts that bring together Israelis and Palestinians to promote peace and security with equality. We oppose the use of our tax dollars to fund the Wall and Israel’s vast “urban renewal” program.
The Planners Network Steering Committee
Below is a list of Israeli, Palestinian and international organizations that are currently working to end construction of the Wall and house demolitions:
- PENGON, the Palestinian Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Network (www.pengon.org)
- Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (www.icahd.org)
- The Rebuilding Alliance (www.rebuildingalliance.org)