Territorial fragmentation
The intensification of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since late September 2000 has brought a tightening of the Israeli closure policy and restrictions on the movement of Palestinian goods and labour. These restrictions involve a complex system of physical barriers in the form of permanent checkpoints, metal gates, earth mounds and walls, roadblocks as well as trenches within and between the occupied Palestinian territory´s main cities and villages.
Compounding the impact of these measures is the Israeli Separation Barrier, which intrudes into the territories of the West Bank. Approximately 86 per cent of the barrier has been constructed as at end 2008; effectively reshaping the oPt´s 1949 border and involving the confiscation of almost one fifth of the West Bank´s most fertile land.
The combined effect of the Israeli measures and Separation Barrier, coupled with Israeli settlement activities, has been the fragmentation of the oPt and the isolation of Palestinian enterprises from the rest of the world, breaking down local commercial networks and impairing production and trade activities by prohibitive transaction costs.
At the same time, Gaza remains separated from the West Bank pending the re-opening of the safe passage connecting the two regions in conformity with the Protocol Concerning Safe Passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed in October 1999 but suspended a year later. In addition, since September 2007, Israel has imposed a complete siege on Gaza, allowing in only the bare minimum of essential humanitarian supplies.

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