Mofaz Orders Resumption of Separation Fence Around J'lem

Defense Minister ordered work be resumed on sections that have been frozen by the High Court.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered on Tuesday that work be resumed on three sections of the separation fence in Jerusalem that have been frozen by order of the High Court of Justice.

But according to officials in Mofaz's office, the minister merely ordered the construction of a "temporary fence" that later will be moved to wherever the court decides, and that even this will not be built without first obtaining court permission.

Mofaz toured the Jerusalem fence Tuesday, and received updates about the court-ordered delay on three sections: near Bir Naballah, northwest of Jerusalem, near Shuafat, northeast of the city, and near Jebel Mukhaber, south of the city.

Channel 1 television later reported that Mofaz had ordered work to be resumed on those sections and be completed by March, due to grave intelligence warnings about plans to infiltrate suicide bombers through these gaps.

Bombers entered Israel through Jerusalem in a few recent attacks in the center of the country, and army officers told Mofaz they have no way to prevent such infiltrations as long as the gaps remain open.

In response to the Channel 1 report, officials in Mofaz's office said that the minister had been accompanied on the tour by Deputy Attorney General Malkiel Blass, and had asked him to raise the idea of a temporary fence with the court, which Blass promised to do.

Only if the court agrees, will the temporary fence actually be built, the officials said.