IDF says it'll soon complete moving Bil'in security barrier

Army expects weekly protests to continue despite compliance with court order returning village lands; barrier will approach Modi'in Illit.

Bil'in demonstration 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
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.
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.
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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 years.
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 planned move.
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.