Slow Going for Security Fence

Ad Feedback—JERUSALEM—Construction of Israel's security barrier in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) moved very slowly in 2008.  Crews built only 7.5 miles of fence during the year, making it unlikely that work on the barrier can be completed as scheduled by the end of 2010. Approximately 312 miles of the proposed 520 mile barrier have been completed.  Israel's government approved the fence in 2003 to prevent Palestinian terrorists from killing Israelis in Jewish population centers.  Since then, the number of terrorist attacks in Israel has dropped dramatically, and the fence has wide public support. 

But decisions from Israel's High Court of Justice have forced the Defense Ministry, which supervises construction, to change and re-route nearly 38 miles of the barrier.  Work is suspended on another 63 miles of the fence pending court challenges from Palestinians.

In recent months, the Defense Ministry has concentrated on the areas around Jerusalem because the terrorist threat is so high in the capital.  The largest Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, including Ma'ale Adumim, Gush Eztzion, Ariel and the South Hebron Hills are also vulnerable.

The left-wing activist group Peace Now accused the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Tuesday of taking dangerous shortcuts in the route of the fence, and of using the distraction of the Operation Cast Lead incursion into Gaza as a distraction to confiscate more Palestinian land in the barrier's path.

Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror strongly denied the charges, saying "We do not need the cover of war" to provide for Israel's security needs.

Source:  The Jerusalem Post

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