A UN human rights investigator says Israel's separation wall in the occupied West Bank is more of a tool for grabbing Palestinian lands than a security barrier.
In a report to the UN General Assembly, John Dugard said the hidden intentions behind the barrier ringing the occupied West Bank is to confiscate Palestinian lands and put pressure on their residents to move away.
"There is no compelling evidence that suicide bombers could not have been as effectively prevented from entering Israel if the wall had been built along the Green Line – the accepted border between Israel and Palestine – or within the Israeli side of the Green Line," Dugard said.
"The course of the wall clearly indicates that its purpose is to incorporate as many settlers as possible into Israel," the South African law professor charged with monitoring the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the UN Commission on Human Rights, said.
"This is borne out by the fact that some 80% of settlers in the West Bank will be included on the Israeli side of the wall."
Israeli officials claim the 600km array of fences and concrete walls, of which 200km is completed, is needed to keep out human bombers and that attacks inside Israel have already dropped dramatically as a result of its construction.
Israel's wall cuts off many
Palestinians from their land
Palestinians have always maintained the barrier was a land-grab aimed at dashing their hopes for statehood.
The UN General Assembly in July adopted a resolution demanding that the barrier should be torn down, in line with a non-binding advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice that its route was illegal.
Israel has said it will refuse to comply with the court opinion and the assembly resolution. But it later announced it was reviewing the barrier's planned route in response to a ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice.
The court said that parts of the barrier had to be rerouted to eliminate undue hardship on Palestinians living near it.
Dugard dismissed Israel's stated reasons for the barrier.
"Rich agricultural land and water resources have been seized along the Green Line and incorporated into Israel," he added.