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Qalqiliya flooding exacerbated by separation wall

Jan. 6, 2013 6:25 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 8, 2013 10:07 P.M.)
QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Rainfall over the last 24 hours has flooded large tracts of land in Qalqiliya, with water unable to drain off in areas near Israel's separation wall, locals said.

Agricultural land and residential properties have been ruined by the excess water build-up, farmer Ahmad Salmi said, with flooding causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Houses near Israel's separation wall, which completely encircles the city of Qalqiliya, suffered extensive damage, engineer Walid Jeedi said, blaming the water build-up on insufficient drainage systems along the separation wall.

The flooding has also caused extensive environmental damage along the wall's route, destroying trees and plants, he added.

Rescue crews from Qalqiliya's municipality did their best to rescue homes, but could not prevent further flooding as the limited drainage system on the separation wall can only be opened from the Israeli side.

Liason official Muhammad Shawer said that local authorities have contacted the Israelis, who promised to fix the problem.

When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank. In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the separation wall was illegal and "tantamount to annexation."

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