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Activists break West Bank barrier

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Palestinians celebrate as they break through Israel's West Bank barrier

Palestinians and foreign peace activists have broken apart a section of the West Bank barrier.

They used ropes and at least one truck to pull down some of the concrete blocks forming the Israeli-built wall.

The activists carried out the protest to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The barrier, is a mixture of fences, barbed wire, ditches and concrete slabs up to 8m (26ft) high.

Israeli armed police, who are reported to have arrived shortly afterwards, are believed to have used tear gas to force the activists to stop.

Incomplete

Abdullah Abu Rahma, who helped co-ordinate the action at Qalandiya near Ramallah, said the event was deliberately timed to coincide with the German anniversary.

He said the aim was to help the Palestinian people to get to Jerusalem, the Reuters news agency said.

"This is the beginning of the activities, which we do, to express our hold on our land, and our refusal to this wall - the wall of torture, the wall of humiliation."

The Israeli government approved the construction of the wall, although around 30% of it is still due to be completed.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an advisory ruling that the barrier was illegal and should be removed.

Israel's official position is that the barrier is a security fence, defending its citizens from attacks by Palestinians.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, view it as as a land grab as the route of the wall cuts deep into the West Bank in places.

Only 15% of the barrier follows the Green Line, the internationally recognised boundary between the West bank and Israel.



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