Israel agrees to dismantle sections of the Wall near Qalqilia

July 29, 2008 9:58 AM Saed Bannoura News Report, The Wall, West Bank 0

Israel finally agreed o dismantle a 2.4 Kilometer section of the Annexation Wall north of Qalqilia in the northern part of the West Bank. The decision came after five years of deliberations in Israeli courts.

The decision will enable the Palestinians regain 2.600 Dunams of agricultural lands that are isolated behind the Wall. The lands belong to residents of Jayyous and Falamia villages.

Israel already bulldozed 100 hothouses that belong to the villagers and constructed the section of the Wall in a way that kept the orchards isolated behind it, near Tzofim settlement.

The court decided that after this section of the Wall is removed and that a fence will be placed closer to the Green Line which separates Israel and the West Bank. The cost is estimated at NIS 50 million.

This new route was proposed several years ago by the Council for Peace and Security but the Israeli government ignored it.

 Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, said that the government and not the army should determines the exact route of the Wall.

 The section of the Wall in question was constructed in 2003 and the residents of Palestinian villages in the area filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice against it.

In a similar ruling issued on 2006, the court slammed the Israeli government for concealing the fact that the Wall was planned in that area to enable settlement expansion and construction and was not meant for security considerations.

In 2007, a court issued a similar ruling regarding the Wall near Bil’in village, close to Ramallah city, and stated that the route of the Wall “must be for security considerations and not for settlement expansion plans”.

The new ruling is considered a partial victory to the villagers as the Wall will according to the new plan annex 400 Dunams instead of 3000 as the original route was meant to enable the construction of a new neighborhood in the illegal settlement, Tzoffin.

In July 2006, the International Court in Lahai issued an advisory ruling which considered the Wall illegal as it was constructed on Palestinian lands. The court also ruled that Israel should compensate the Palestinians for damages to their lands caused by the construction of the Wall. Israel disregarded the ruling.

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Saed Bannoura

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