The Israeli army began issuing land confiscation orders for the construction of the Wall around the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem after most of the sections of the wall in that area, were approved by Menachem Mazuz, the Israeli Attorney General, Israeli sources reported on Wednesday.

This section of the wall is strongly opposed by the United States, since constructing a wall around this huge West Bank settlement would impede the establishment of the viable Palestinian State with territorial contiguity as stated in the US-backed Road Map.

Building this section of the wall as planned, would make movement of Palestinians between the north and the south of the West Bank very hard.

The Wall will lead to the annexation of 1585 Dunams of Palestinian farmlands and will route 14km east of Jerusalem. 

This section of the wall would be built 25 kilometers from the green line, which is about half of the width of the West Bank in its maximum width.

The U.S. has strongly opposed building the wall around the settlement of Ariel, yet Israel did build it there, also 25 kilometers deep into the West Bank.

The planned route of the wall has been presented to some Palestinian Mayors on Tuesday by the Israeli army and the civil administration.  They told the mayors that exact route would depend on the Israeli Justice Ministry’s approval.

Israeli Diplomatic sources said the confiscation orders issued this weekend ‘are being carefully examined by the most senior officials in the American administration,’ and the issue is likely to be raised at Wednesday’s meeting between Israeli Finance Minister Ehud Olmert and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Haim Ramon, a strong supporter of the wall from Labor, said building the wall around Ma’aleh Adumim does not prevent territorial contiguity.  He suggested that Israel builds a new road that connects the south with the north of the West Bank as a solution to the problem.

Palestinian officials said constructing the wall there as planned, will also leave a wide area of land and olive groves, and 250 water wells that serve the Palestinian population on Israel’s side of the wall.

Palestinians argue that this will imprison Palestinian residents of the villages around Jerusalem.

Salah Bader, head of the Palestinian liaison office for the Jerusalem area, said that the PA plans to appeal the route to the Israeli courts. ‘It will put us in prison,’ he said. ‘The distance between the existing wall west of Al-Azzariyeh, which separates it from Jerusalem, and the new fence to be built east of Al-Azzariyeh will not exceed two kilometers. There’s more space than that in Ketziot Prison.’

Lawyer Danny Seidemann of the Ir Amim organization said that Israel was exploiting the withdrawal from Gaza to build the wall around Ma’aleh Adumim. A similar analysis was offered by attorney Mohammed Dahla, who has represented many Palestinians in petitions to the High Court of Justice against land confiscation orders for the construction of the wall in the West Bank.

The planned route from Jerusalem side will leave around 55,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem area, outside the wall and will include some 30,000 Jewish settlers inside Jerusalem border.

Local Palestinian observers said, Israel has been building the coffin of the Palestinian state when it started building the wall.  Constructing this section around Jerusalem in Ma’aleh Adumim area would be the last nail in the coffin of the Palestinian state and the peace process at the same time.