"The wall is there to keep Arab and Jew apart." South African President Thabo Mbeki said in a message read to an audience marking the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"It has nothing to do with security or protection," he said. "It should be identified for what it is, an apartheid wall and it should be dismantled like apartheid had to be."

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said last month that construction of the "security fence" along the West Bank could come to a halt if peace were to be reached between the Jewish state and the Palestinians.

"This fence is a security fence. It's reversible. If we will have any kind of agreement, of a final status agreement... it can move," Shalom told the European television news channel Euronews in Brussels.

The Israeli government says the wall is a security barrier designed to keep out Palestinian bombers, but almost universally there has been condemnation of the construction.