Israel agrees to move security fence

July 28, 2008 at 7:42 AM
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QALQILYAH, West Bank, July 28 (UPI) -- A legal battle over the route of Israel's West Bank security fence has been settled in favor of Palestinian farmers, the Haaretz newspaper reported Monday.

Without naming sources, the newspaper said the Israeli government has agreed to move the controversial fence closer to the Green Line north of Qalqilyah, returning 642 acres of land to a group Palestinian farmers who had waged a four-year battle over the fence's route.

After it resisted making the changes, the Israeli military has given in to the Palestinians' demands, apparently partly because new Israel military Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has said the government and not the military should determine the precise route of the fence, the newspaper said.

Israel's High Court of Justice ruled in 2006 that the fence was built over the Palestinians' land not because of security reasons but because the route conformed to the expansion plans of a nearby Jewish settlement, Haaretz said.

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