New fence route to run close to the Green Line
The Israel Defense Forces and the Defense Ministry will present within two weeks the new route for the separation fence to replace the one that was rejected by the High Court of Justice. This was decided yesterday after a meeting of the fence project heads with Maj. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
Ashkenazi was shown some of the new portions of the route, and discussed the principles governing the planning. The two-week deadline for presenting the new route is much shorter than previous estimates by the project heads, who said a week ago that it would take three months to replan the route.
The new route apparently will run very close to the Green Line, thus avoiding the large-scale expropriation of Palestinian property necessitated by the previous routing.
Last week, the High Court ruled against the routing of some 30 kilometers of the separation fence northwest of Jerusalem. The ruling cited the disproportionality of the fence as a response to Israeli security needs due to its infringement of the rights of Palestinian landowners and freedom of movement of Palestinians.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered a reevaulation of the entire route of the fence to ensure that it conforms to the spirit of the High Court ruling.
This Friday, the International Court of Justice in The Hague is expected to issue its ruing on the separation fence. Israel expects the ruling to go against the fence, but the prime minister is reportedly encouraged that the High Court recognized that the barrier is a security fence.