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Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Israel approves security barrier route, sort of

The story from Reuters:
JERUSALEM - Israel's government approved the next stage of its vast security barrier in the West Bank on Wednesday, despite international criticism that it cuts deep into Palestinian territory and undermines peace moves.

Political sources said the cabinet had decided to press on with construction of what it calls a security fence to keep out suicide bombers, but that it had opted for now to leave a gap at one point under U.S. pressure.

Leaving the gap patrolled by troops delays a decision on whether the barrier will loop around the sprawling Jewish settlement of Ariel, 12 miles inside the West Bank.

Instead, the government approved the construction of a separate fence near Ariel which could later be joined up with the main barrier, the sources said.

"It kicks the problem down the road a little bit. Eventually they're going to have to decide whether they'll build the rest of the fence or not to fill the gap, and that will bring the problem back to the forefront," a Western diplomat said.

Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said in a radio interview before the vote that the building work would be coordinated with the United States and that its sole intention was to protect Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers.

This is the Jewish settlement of Ariel.
Officially designated a city in 1998, with a population of 18,000 Israelis, and home to the College of Judea and Samaria, Ariel is called a settlement.

These are five of the 18,000 Jewish settlers who obstruct peace by living in Ariel.

Ariel is 25 miles from Tel Aviv and 12 or 13 miles inside the "West Bank." (Do the math.)

The "Ariel bloc" includes Ariel, Karnei Shomron, Kedumim, Emanual and a number of smaller communities.
Almost 50,000 Jews and 7,000 Arabs live in the Ariel bloc.