Friday, September 03, 2004

Israel raises wall on Jerusalem - West Bank Road

After the War...? Israel raises wall on Jerusalem - West Bank Road
Posted Sept, 3 2004

By Cynthia Johnston
AR-RAM, West Bank, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Israel erected the first sections of a towering concrete wall on the middle of a main street linking Jerusalem to the West Bank on Thursday, adding to growing Palestinian feelings of isolation and gloom.
The construction came days after two suicide bombers who sneaked into Israel from the West Bank killed 16 people in twin explosions on buses in the southern town of Beersheba .
Witnesses said workers protected by soldiers and armed guards came overnight and began raising the 6-metre high blocks down the divide of the urban street as residents and merchants watched in silence.
The wall will cut off Palestinians living on one side of the street in East Jerusalem , captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally, from neighbours across the road in the West Bank .
"They did it today because of the (suicide) attack, without a doubt," said lawyer Muhammad Dahleh, who is representing ar-Ram residents in Israel 's High Court.
" Israel thinks now the international community will not be as aggressive in criticising this wall, which is being built in the middle of Palestinian society."
Israel says the partially completed barrier, a network of razor-tipped fencing and concrete walls, is necessary to block its cities to suicide bombers, who have killed more than 450 Israelis during a nearly four-year-old Palestinian uprising.
Palestinians call the barrier, which the World Court has ruled illegal, a land grab on territory they seek for a state.
Israel 's Defence Ministry and army had no immediate comment. Israel 's High Court has yet to issue a final ruling on the course of the wall in ar-Ram.
Palestinians living and working on the West Bank side of the street -- who for the past three months have watched bulldozers tear up the street and workers lay the groundwork for the wall -- said they felt hopeless.
"They are burying people alive. The people here are conscious and they are putting us in the ground ... This is killing us slowly," said ar-Ram tyre dealer Nabil, whose shop is just across the street from one of two new sections of wall.
Palestinians say the wall in ar-Ram will cut off from Jerusalem tens of thousands of Palestinians -- many of them legal residents of the city who moved to the suburbs as their families expanded.
Israel said in July it would reroute the barrier closer to its boundary with occupied territory under an Israeli High Court order that Palestinians must not be cut off from their lands.
But the court said Israel may erect the barrier on land it considers "disputed". It was not immediately clear how the ruling would affect the barrier around East Jerusalem .
Palestinians said they expected the ar-Ram wall to be completed within days if work to raise it, which stopped early in the morning, resumes nightly.
"I was shocked. It is as if the whole world changed," said Taleb Abu Aysha as he drank tea in his butcher shop on the West Bank side of the street.
He feared he would have to close his shop for lack of customers. "Economically and spiritually, this wall kills people," he said.

No comments:

Post a Comment