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Israel high court orders partial re-routing of West Bank security barrier

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Israel [official website] Tuesday ordered the Israeli government to redraw the route of its West Bank security barrier [official website; JURIST news archive] near the Palestinian village of Bilin within a "reasonable period." Bilin residents had challenged the construction of the wall on the grounds that the barrier's planned route of the barrier prevented some Bilin residents from accessing their fields and orchards, thereby preventing the villagers from earning a livelihood. The court also determined that the separation barrier discriminates against Bilin residents because the Israeli government has seized and uprooted thousands of olive trees along the border to make room for construction. The contested portion in Bilin is just 500 acres of a 410-mile wall along the West Bank border, which Israel began to construct in 2002 to keep suicide bombers from entering Israeli territory. The barrier has been denounced by Palestinians as a land grab and an "apartheid wall" breaking up communities and families, but Israeli officials insist it is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.

Last year, the Israel Supreme Court ordered Israel to dismantle another section of the wall [JURIST report] in the northern West Bank, but Israeli courts have also rejected [JURIST report] petitions by Palestinians when security concerns outweighed the Palestinians' objections. In addition, the International Court of Justice [official website] in 2004 issued a non-binding advisory opinion [text; JURIST report] that parts of the wall should be torn down. AFP has more.

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