Israeli high court orders “Apartheid Wall” rerouted at restive village

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 15 that the route of the West Bank “separation barrier” cannot be based on plans to expand Jewish settlements. The court rejected a plan that would route the wall through Bil’in village, on the grounds that this route was not motivated by “security concerns.” The ruling will return 250 acres to the village, noting that the Israeli state has still failed to implement a 2007 high court ruling that would also have returned some of the village’s lands. Already two-thirds complete, Israel’s 723-kilometer wall currently snakes through the occupied West Bank, fragmenting Palestinian territory. Bil’in has become a symbol of popular opposition to the wall for its persistent weekly protests against the enclosure of its lands. (Ma’an News Agency, Dec. 16)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay meanwhile condemned Israel’s refusal to admit special envoy Richard Falk into the country, calling his expulsion “unprecedented” and “deeply regrettable.” Falk was detained upon his arrival at Ben Gurion airport, accused of “legitimizing Hamas terrorism.” Falk was separated from two UN staff members accompanying him, had his mobile phone confiscated, and was held overnight in an airport detention facility before being deported on a flight to Los Angeles. Pillay said in a statement that “it is the responsibility of states to cooperate with the independent UN experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.” (AFP, Dec. 17)

See our last post on the West Bank.

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  1. Palestinian Santa Claus protests Apartheid Wall
    From the Canadian Press, Dec. 19:

    MAASARAH, West Bank — A Palestinian dressed as Santa Claus has scuffled with Israeli soldiers during a protest of Israel’s separation barrier near Bethlehem in the West Bank.

    The soldiers pushed the costumed protester, but no one was injured. About two dozen Palestinians marched toward the barrier during the regularly held protest, and many carried Palestinian flags and shouted at the soldiers.

    After today’s protest, the Palestinian in the Santa suit handed out candy to children in the village of Maasarah.

    Israeli officials say the barrier is designed to keep out Palestinian attackers, including suicide bombers.

    But the Palestinians and Israeli critics say the barrier is part of a land grab.