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The High Court of Justice yesterday rejected a petition filed against the Israel Defense Forces' plan to demolish 20 Palestinian houses in the West Bank city of Hebron, but decide to accepted the army's revised request to raze only two of the houses.

The IDF's originally intended to demolish 20 houses, located on a road called the Worshipers' Way, between Kiryat Arba and the Cave of the Patriarchs, but after the petition was filed, it changed its position and notified the court that it intended to demolish just two.

The IDF decided to destroy the houses after numerous shooting incidents occured on the route, the latest of which claimed the lives of 12 soldiers and settlers in November 2002.

The petition was filed some 18 months ago by Mussi Raz, the Yesh Gvul (There's a Limit) movement, which opposes Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as by the Hebron municipality and Yoav Hess, who protested the demolitions on the southern part of the route.

Though the court formally rejected the appeal, it in fact adopted the IDF's final, revised position, by which only two houses needed to be torn down.