Protesters tear down parts of security fence

Bil'in demonstrators say seven hurt by security forces, claim High Court ruling on barrier not implemented.

Bilin fight 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Bilin fight 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Protests against the route of Israel's West Bank security barrier, which have been a weekly occurrence in the village of Bil'in for over three years, took an unusually violent turn on Friday, as hundreds of activists tore down sections of the fence. According to the demonstrators, security forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets against the crowd, leaving seven people wounded. There was no confirmation of that report from the army. Protesters said that a ruling by the High Court of Justice in September 2007 ordering the IDF to change the route of the fence around the neighborhood of Modi'in Illit, near Bil'in, has yet to be implemented. The neighborhood in question is Matityahu East, which has also been the focus of another petition against allegedly illegal housing construction in the western part of the neighborhood by a number of building companies. The court ruled that the barrier, as it had been planned, would cause disproportionate harm to Bil'in residents because it occupied 260 dunams (65 acres) of Palestinian land and left about 1,700 dunams of Palestinian orchards and pasture land belonging to the village or individual farmers on the Israeli side. In November 2007, Palestinian demonstrators against the security barrier won the first Yasser Arafat Achievement Award for their activity. A 30-member group representing Bil'in residents received the award, worth $25,000, contributed by wealthy Palestinians, organizers said.