09/15/2005, 00.00
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Israeli High Court rules the state change wall route, it imprisons Palestinians

The ruling covers section near Palestinian town of Qalqilyah in the northern West Bank.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israel's High Court of Justice unanimously upheld a petition submitted by Palestinian residents of several West Bank villages against the wall that is being built to "defend" Israel. The court ruled that the government must reconsider within a reasonable timeframe an alternative route for the wall near the northern West Bank Jewish settlement of Alfei Menashe.

The section that must be moved surrounds the Palestinian city of Qalqilyah and, according to the judges, imprisons the residents of five villages, cutting them off from the rest of the West Bank.

The Israel Defence Forces must come up with new solutions that would not adversely affect the quality of life of Palestinian residents as severely as the current route does, the justices ruled.

The court's ruling was unexpected but it did reiterate Israel's authority to continue building the fence beyond the Green Line for security reasons.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague had ruled that the whole fence was illegal.

Israel has ignored the International Court's decision, claiming that the fence stops terrorists. Palestinians have countered saying that the wall cages them and is politically motivated.

More than half of the 650 kilometres fence has been built.

Legal sources have predicted that such a ruling will force Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is in New York for the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, to address the High Court's ruling in public.

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