The wall has received much criticism from the international community, which has described the fence as illegal. ‘The time has come to condemn the wall as an unlawful act of annexation in the same way that Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan heights has been condemned as unlawful,’ said a report by John Dugard, the UN special rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights for the Occupied Territories. The US administration has on more than one occasion questioned the need for the fence, saying that it could prove a barrier in the peace process. However, the cabinet approved the plan by a sweeping majority, despite apprehension from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (MEED 22:9:03).

News surrounding the security fence was preceded by the arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad militant at a refugee camp near Jenin. Israeli military sources confirmed that they had arrested Sheikh Bassam Saadi, who had been wanted by the authorities for more than two years.