Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin called for the government to postpone continued
construction of the separation barrier, during a visit to Gush Etzion on
“The planned path of the separation barrier is no longer
relevant,” the Knesset speaker said. “It was planned under security
circumstances that no longer exist, and there is no need to revive
Rivlin toured the planned locations of the barrier in the Gush
Etzion region of the West Bank with local authority leaders.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to make a decision about the barrier’s
path in the coming days.
“Building the barrier will create a new
diplomatic front and cause distress to Jewish and Arab residents,” Rivlin
The Knesset speaker said an agreement with the Palestinians will
come from coexistence, and that shopping at the Gush Etzion Junction is a great
example of that.
“We are in one land, and we must continue to develop
ways to live together, rather than separate from one another,” he
Rivlin said Netanyahu should reconsider implementing the plans for
the barrier, because it was not built when it was needed, in 2003, and that the
cost would be over NIS 1 billion.
The construction of the 40-km. barrier
was halted in 2011 due to budgetary considerations as well as legal challenges
in the High Court of Justice, according to an internal Defense Ministry document
obtained by Army Radio at the time.
Gush Etzion Local Council chairman
Davidi Perl pointed out that the planned barrier would surround Gush Etzion,
saying it would cut the region off from Jerusalem, Hebron and the Cave of the
In addition, Perl said, the barrier would harm coexistence
with Palestinians, calling the plans “intolerable.”
“Hebron and Nablus
are flourishing and there is unusual economic development in the region,” South
Hebron Local Council chairman Tzviki Bar-Hai stated. “It would be a shame for
the barrier to ruin what was built with hard work.”
Jerusalem Post staff
contributed to this report.