Wednesday, January 31, 2007


The barrier is a massive structure consisting of walls and fences. Israeli officials say they are considering proposals to alter part of the route of the controversial barrier Israel is building in the West Bank.
The Haaretz newspaper said the new plans would push the barrier deeper into the occupied West Bank to encompass two isolated settlements.
The move would hem in almost 20,000 Palestinian villagers in two enclaves.
Israel says the barrier is needed for security. Opponents call it an illegal move to grab territory.
Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had already approved the new route, but this was denied by his office.
"The prime minister asked to look into the matter and announced that at the end of the necessary examinations the matter will be discussed by the cabinet," a statement said.
The two settlements, Nili and Naaleh, home to about 1,500 Jewish settlers, had requested the alteration of the barrier route, Haaretz said.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move undermined "everything we're doing to revive the peace process".
The Palestinians want the whole West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, as part of a future independent state.
Settlements are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.



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