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Bittersweet Victory for Anti-Wall Protestors in West Bank

September 2007

The BBC reports that, “Israel’s supreme court has ordered the government to redraw the route of the West Bank barrier near Bilin village, a key focus of anti-barrier protest.”

The Separation Wall is often used as a tool to destroy Palestinian villages, separating farmers from the fields that surround their communities, shutting producers off from local markets and depriving communities of access to traditional sources of water.

This victory is bittersweet, in part because thousands of mature, productive olive trees have already been bulldozed to prepare for construction, and more so because Bil’in is just one of many places where the planned route of the Wall will devastate a community. In addition, the Israeli Supreme Court gave its nod of approval to the Israeli settlement of Mattityahu east, also built on Bil’in lands. This part of the decision was not covered by a lot of mainstream media.

The International Court of Justice in the Hague declared in 2004 that the entire route of the wall, falling as it does on occupied territoy, is in violation of international law, that the wall should be removed and that Israel should be required to make reparations for any damage that was done during construction of the Wall.

Protestors have been contesting construction at Bil’in for two years. Grassroots’ partner, the Stop the Wall Campaign is a coalition of Palestinian non-governmental organizations and neighborhood committees that works to stop the construction of the Separation Wall inside the 1967 borders of the West Bank.

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