Israel backs plan to delay security fence

Sept. 19, 2003 at 8:26 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Israeli Defense Ministry Director General Amos Yaron is to present U.S. President George Bush with Israel's final plan for the West Bank security fence.

Yaron, who leaves for Washington this weekend, will meet with State Department and White House officials in his two-day visit to the U.S., Israel's Ha'aretz news agency reported Friday.

According to Israel's plan, formed by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and now backed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the section of fence between Elkana and Alei Zahav will not be built, leaving a break opposite Ariel, one of the largest West Bank settlements.

The area left open will be guarded by an increased Israeli Defense Force presence, Mofaz said. Roadblocks and other barriers aimed at protecting the adjacent settlements from Palestinian infiltration will be in place.

Sharon told a meeting of his Likud party ministers Friday Israel should officially adopt Mofaz's plan and postpone construction of the fence around Ariel until the international political climate is more favorable.

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