A new map of the West Bank, 40 years after its conquest by Israel in the Six Day War, gives the most definitive picture so far of a territory in which 2.5m Palestinians are confined to dozens of enclaves separated by Israeli roads, settlements, fences and military zones.
Produced by the United Nations’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it is based on extensive monitoring in the field combined with analysis of satellite imagery. It provides an overall picture officials say is even more comprehensive than charts drawn up by the Israeli military.
The impact of Israeli civilian and military infrastructure is to render 40 per cent of the territory, which is roughly the size of the US state of Delaware or the English county of Norfolk, off-limits to Palestinians.
The city that was mostly destroyed by the U.S. military operation Phantom Fury in November 2004 has been under curfew for over two weeks, with no signs of relief.
Located 70 kms west of Baghdad, the city made headlines when four Blackwater USA security mercenaries were killed and their bodies horrifically mutilated on Mar. 31, 2004.
That April the city was attacked by the U.S. military, but resistance fighters repelled occupation forces. That set the stage for the November siege which left approximately 70 percent of the city destroyed and turned a quarter of a million residents into refugees.
A recent spike in attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces in and around the city has prompted harsh measures by the U.S. military, including imposing curfews, limiting movement in and out of Fallujah, and setting up more checkpoints throughout the city — moves which have greatly angered residents.