Throughout the 1990s, Israel increasingly promoted, encouraged and subsidized building Jewish settlements in the West Bank territory and Gaza, now numbering at least 144. Jews in these settlements are given Israeli citizenship status. This means that these settlers have all of the rights of Israelis, including military protection, voting rights and access to electricity and water. In the minds of Palestinians, the Jewish settlements are "occupied Israeli enclaves" in Palestinian territory. .
In June 2002, Israel began building the first phase of a wall along the West Bank's northern border. According to the Israeli government, the wall is intended to prevent West Bank terrorists from entering Israel. It is not, according to the Israelis, intended to mark a political border or annex land from the West Bank. .
Today, the Israeli Wall is 100 miles long (175 km). As the wall's construction snakes southward, its path increasingly deviates from the Green Line. In plans published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (2003), the wall eventually may push southward for 621 miles (1,000 km.), ranging further and further from the Green Line as it gerrymanders back and forth and taking in some Jewish settlements as much as 13.6 miles (22 km.) from the Green Line. .
Most observers now believe that the Israeli wall will be a de facto annexation of West Bank territory, regardless of its intent. U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice recently stated that the "construction of the fence was seen by the Palestinians as the precursor to the border of the future Palestinian state (and is).a deep concern." .
Such walls have lasting social, economic and political consequences, as well as great historic symbolism to the cultures affected. .