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Israel to adjust wall's route in Bil'in

Feb. 6, 2010 3:41 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2010 1:30 P.M.)
Ramallah – Ma'an – Attorney of Bil'in local council, Michael Sfard, said on Saturday that Israeli authorities informed him of the new route of the separation wall, adjusted according to a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice in 2007.

"We were not convinced that it was vital for security reasons to maintain the existing route that passes through a topographically low area of Bil'in land and that there was no fitting security substitute to the construction of the barrier in order to protect the residents of Modi'in Illit," Justice Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote in her decision.

Once the adjusted route is implemented, residents of Bil'in are expected to restore almost half of their 2,300 donums confiscated during the construction of the wall's original route.

However, as the portion of the wall already built will be removed, farmers will expect significant damage to their olive groves located in the area.

The local Popular Committee Against the Separation Wall in Bil'in said the decision to alter the wall's route came too late, and would not change the fact that the wall in unacceptable, wherever it is, members said.

Member of the committee Muhammad Al-Khateib, who was recently released from Israeli custody on bail, said Israel had not respected the Supreme Court decision, nor did Israel respect international resolutions condemning the wall.

He added that hundreds of people have been injured or detained during peace protests against the wall, which have been brutally suppressed, he said. Last year, Basim Abu Raham was killed at one of the rallies.

Nonetheless, Al-Khateib said, the adjustment to the wall's route is an accomplishment achieved by the village, pointing out that Israeli authorities had failed to stop international and Israeli solidarity groups from supporting Palestinians, adding that the popular campaign against the wall succeeded in retrieving part of the village's land confiscated by Israel through the wall's construction.

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