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Friday Feb. 12, 2010 5:54 PM (EST+7)
Israel moves W.Bank barrier at flashpoint village

Read more: Bilin, Wall, barrier, security fence, Biilin, high court, Israeli high court

JERUSALEM, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Israel is rerouting part of its West Bank barrier near a flashpoint Palestinian village, Israeli officials said on Friday, after a court heard residents' complaints over land seizures for the controversial project.

'Construction work to measure and alter the security fence in Bilin began in accordance with the directives of the High Court of Justice,' an army spokeswoman said.

The High Court was responding to a petition filed in 2007 by Bilin residents against the loss of farmland to the barrier.

Bilin is the site of often violent protests against the barrier, a network of fences and concrete walls that takes in some West Bank land.

A non-binding ruling by the World Court in 2004, which Israel rejected, said the barrier was illegal. It has since become a symbol for Palestinians' struggle to set up a state on territory occupied by Israel in a 1967 war. Israel says the project, launched in 2002 at the height of a Palestinian suicide bombing campaign and projected to be some 720 km (450 miles) long when finished, is a security bulwark.

The new route of the barrier at Bilin was in line with an April 2009 review submitted by Israel's Defence Ministry on the High Court's orders, an official involved in the case said.

Objections filed against the Defence Ministry review plan by Palestinians and by residents of a nearby Israeli settlement, Modiin Illit, were rejected by the High Court, the official said. That culminated in this week's rerouting move.







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