Bil'in demonstration 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
The IDF announced on Wednesday that the route of the West Bank security barrier that passes near the Palestinian village of Bil'in will soon be altered in compliance with a court order.
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In a move ordered by the High Court nearly four years ago and approved by the Defense Ministry three years later, the army plans to move the fence west, away from the village's land and closer to Modi'in Illit.
Bil'in has been the site of weekly demonstrations against the security
barrier for years, in which many IDF soldiers and protesters have been
injured. Some activists and demonstrators have also been killed over the
The IDF, however, said it did not expect the weekly demonstrations to
end once the barrier has been moved. "We do not expect that this will
influence the demonstrations," Lt. Col. Shahar Sheetrit said of the
Sheetrit added, "The Palestinian residents have been interested in
getting their land back. During weekly demonstrations, they complained
that we had not begun the work to do this. Now they are seeing with
their eyes that the planned work is being completed and that it's going
to happen soon."
The barrier's new neighbors, however, are also not thrilled about its
impending arrival. According to Bemahane, the barrier's new route will
take it some 400 meters from Modi'in Illit. The IDF, in order to placate
residents, will be lining the barrier with stone tiles on the side
facing Modi'in Illit to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
In the 2007 ruling that prompted the relocation of a relatively small
portion of the West Bank barrier, the High Court said that the route of
the security barrier was actually intended to allow for growth in
Modi'in Illit and not exclusively for security purposes.
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