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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
West Bank barrier to be re-routed
Men working on the West Bank barrier
About one third of the nearly 700km barrier has been completed
Israel has said it will re-route part of the West Bank barrier, bringing it closer to Israel's 1967 border with Palestinian territories.

Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said a new section of the barrier would encroach less on Palestinian land.

The re-routing follows a ruling in June by the Israeli High Court that existing plans had to be amended, to reduce the disruption to Palestinian communities.

In July, the World Court issued an opinion that the barrier was illegal.

According to Israeli officials, the new planned barrier route would encroach less on Palestinian territory. Only 15 sq km of Palestinian land would lie on the Israeli side of the barrier, as compared with 34 sq km under previous plans.

Guide to the route and structure of the West Bank barrier

The alterations in the section of the fence - to the north-west of Jerusalem and the east of Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv - have been made to bring the barrier route into line with a recent ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court.

Israel's High Court on Friday ordered the government to respond within 30 days to a World Court ruling that the West Bank barrier is illegal.

Also in Friday, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has advised the government to re-route the barrier. He argued that this will help Israel to avoid international sanctions, it says.

Israel argues that the barrier is needed to stop attacks by Palestinian militants.

The Palestinian Authority says the real goal of the barrier is to grab more Palestinian land. The wall is built inside the West Bank and, in parts, cuts a long way into the territory.

Under current plans, the barrier will be nearly 700km long. About a third of it has been built so far.


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