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  Court says Israeli fence illegal
Updated 09 July 2004, 19.46
The fence has divided communities
Israel's controversial barrier in the West Bank is illegal, and no more of it should be built, according to a ruling by the International Court of Justice.

Friday's ruling says the barrier takes Palestinian land, stops them from living and travelling freely, and should be torn down.

The ruling doesn't have any direct effect, but it could be used as the base for future United Nations action.

The Israelis say they need the fence to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers.


The court in the Hague rejected Israel's claim that it didn't have the right to decide if the barrier was legal.

The court also said that Israel should give money to people who owned land that was taken to build the barrier.

The Palestinians are expected to try to get the UN General Assembly to demand that Israel take the barrier down.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said: "This racist wall is illegal to the root."

Israel say the barrier has already started doing its job by stopping suicide bomb attacks against Israelis.

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