Defense Ministry Begins Dismantling Section of West Bank Barrier

High Court ruled in 2007 that route of barrier by village of Bili'in must be changed, as it cut off villagers from their land; villagers, activists have held weekly protest against the barrier for years.

The Ministry of Defense has begun in recent days dismantling a section of the West Bank separation barrier near the village of Bili'in, four years after the High Court of Justice ruled that the barrier's route must be redrawn.

Citizens of the village, which has become a focal point of opposition to the barrier, were cut off from their land by the barrier.

Protest in Bil'in - Tomer Appelbaum
Tomer Appelbaum

This week, staff from the Defense Ministry began taking apart approximately three kilometers of the barrier that lay west of Bili'in.

In the past six years, the village has become a symbol for the Palestinians with left-wing Israelis and activists from across the world joining the villagers every Friday for a protest. The protests have at times become violent, with activists throwing stones at Israel Defense Forces troops, who respond by firing tear gas.

Two Palestinians have been killed in the protests up until now.

The security establishment hopes to finish taking apart the section of the barrier by the end of the coming week. Yet, left-wing activists are already planning on joining the villagers in a march towards the new path of the barrier, which they say is still blocking off thousands of dunams of land from the village.

Israel began building the 680-kilometer barrier along the West Bank in 2002, crediting the fence with contributing to a decline in suicide bombings.