Israel to proceed West Bank wall by rerouting despite ICC ruling

Israel has begun work on rerouting a part of its controversial West Bank wall more than two years after a Supreme Court order.

Israel to proceed West Bank wall by rerouting despite ICC ruling

Israel has begun work on rerouting a part of its controversial West Bank wall more than two years after a Supreme Court order, the defence ministry said on Thursday.

The Supreme Court ruled in September 2007 that demanded that the government map out an alternative route "within a reasonable period."

In its ruling, the court said the villagers had been discriminated against by having land seized and being cut off from their farmland by the barrier.

However, Israeli decision does not comply with the ruling of International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague dated on 9 July 2004, that "Israel's separation wall should be demolished in a decision that were all agreed by the judges by a margin of 14-1."

The new route of the barrier near the village of Bilin, where residents hold weekly protests against the wall, will be moved hundreds of metres (yards) to the west, ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said.

The ICC verdict, requested by the UN's general assembly says "Israel's wall is illegal, it must be removed and adequate compensation paid," Israel has ignored this and has pressed on with its construction.

The network of concrete walls, fences and barbed wire snakes through the West Bank, territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

The residents of Bilin were among the first to hold weekly demonstrations against the wall, developing a campaign that has since spread to other West Bank villages.

To date, Israel has completed 413 kilometres (256 miles) of the planned 709-kilometre (435-mile) barrier, according to UN figures.

The wall leaves 85 percent of Jewish settlements in occupied West Bank on the Israeli side, leading the court to conclude that the route of the wall threatened to create "de facto annexation", with the wall itself described as severely impeding "the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination".

Palestinians refer to the barrier as the "apartheid wall" and view it as nothing more than a land grab by Israel to help support and expand settlements in the West Bank.

The landmark ruling had dismissed Israel arguments, saying "that the wall cannot be justified by security concerns, is detrimental to the rights of local Palestinians and violates international law.

Protesters have gathered every Friday in the village for the past five years to protest against the barrier, often leading to clashes with Israeli security forces.

Soldiers have fired tear gas, stun grenades and live rounds to disperse the demonstrations, saying that the protests are illegal.

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and foreign demonstrators have been injured in the clashes over the years and one Palestinian protester was killed.


Agencies

Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2010, 16:03
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