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  What is the West Bank "security fence"?
Updated 09 February 2004, 14.58
A giant fence has been built between Israel and Palestinian territories
In 2002, Israel decided to build a "security fence" in the West Bank in a bid to crack down on Palestinian suicide bombers.

The Palestinians were annoyed by the project, claiming it cut people off from the rest of the community.

They also saw it as an attempt to seize their land.

The row over the fence has now been taken to court.

A hearing into whether the fence is legal has opened in Israel.

The case is also set to be heard in the International Court Of Justice later this month.

The fence
The fence

What is the fence?
In fact, it's part-wall, part-fence. Most of its 440-mile length is made up of a concrete base, topped by five metres of wire. Ditches and rolls of barbed wire are on either side of the fence.

Why is Israel building it?
It says the fence will stop Palestinian would-be suicide bombers from entering Israel and attacking Israeli people.

What are the main objections to the fence?
Palestinian land has been taken away to build the fence and hundreds of Palestinians have been cut off from their land, schools or places of work.

What does Israel say about the fence?
It says the fence is purely for security. It says it has nothing to do with a future border and there's nothing to stop the fence being removed once the two sides agree who's having what land.

What does the United Nations think about the fence?
It's not happy. It's issued a report saying the fence is illegal. It has warned that thousands of Palestinians could end up as refugees if they end up cut off by the fence.


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