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Israel Pushes ahead with Building Apartheid Wall

Israel Pushes ahead with Building Apartheid Wall in Occupied Jerusalem

Two-Km Section of Gaza 7-Km long Wall Completed

Israel pushed aside Monday Palestinian objections and United States reservations and pushed ahead with work on a new stretch of its Apartheid Segregation Wall (ASW), which Israeli officials prefer to call the “security fence,” deep inside Palestinian land in occupied east Jerusalem.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) bulldozers cleared land east of Jerusalem Monday for the construction of a new segment of its ASW through the West Bank, shrugging off criticism from both the Palestinians and the US.

Both the Palestine National Authority (PNA) and the US Administration say the ASW will complicate the US-sponsored “roadmap” peace plan, drafted and adopted by the EU, the UN, the US and Russia.

Israel began confiscating Palestinian lands for the Jerusalem sections in Abu Dis and other areas east of Jerusalem more than a week ago, and workers broke ground there Friday.

On Monday, with the golden dome of the Al Aqsa Mosque (Islam’s third holiest site) in Jerusalem’s old city visible in the distance, an IOF surveying team lined up the route in Abu Dis. IOF soldiers kept guard around the site as bulldozers moved earth next to an olive grove.

Palestinian olive farmer Youssef Qombar, 62, said he found a confiscation order pinned to a tree and that the Wall will cut through the middle of his property, to the south in Al-Sawahreh Al-Sharkia.

"I don't know why the Israelis are building it,” he told AP. "I think that the only reason is to confiscate the lands.”

Segments east of Jerusalem will force tens of thousands of Palestinians to use just one road to get in and out, and will make travel times far longer.

Israel built a concrete Wall between Abu Dis and occupied east Jerusalem more than a year ago, already separating some residents from the eastern part of the city, and greatly increasing travel times. The new divider is to stretch north and south from the existing Wall.

The Israeli military has declined to reveal details of the route east of Jerusalem. A security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said segments east of Jerusalem will stretch some 13.5 kilometres, AP reported.

The Jerusalem segment is part of a larger Wall — 370 miles (595 kilometers) of trenches, fencing, razor wire and concrete wall — that is meant to keep Palestinians from crossing into Israel. About a fourth of it has been built, mostly on Palestinian land Israel occupied in 1967, including sections north and south of Jerusalem.

The IOF are also building a seven kilometers long Wall near the borderline between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

A Palestinian official said last Monday that a section of two kilometers long of the eight meters high and seven kilometers long Wall has already been established.

The aim of this wall is to swallow more Palestinians-owned lands, like the construction of the ASW, which cuts deep into the West Bank and threatens the establishment of an independent Palestinian state by the year of 2005, said the official.

“Israel is working closely with the United States in order to minimize any negative impact that construction may cause on the Palestinian population in the designated areas,” said Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.

Under a $9 billion loan guarantee deal signed Wednesday, Israel must report its expenditures on the Wall, though Israeli officials have not revealed what the consequences will be.

US President George W. Bush in June called the Wall a “problem” because its planned route would cut deep into the occupied West Bank, complicating the Washington-sponsored “roadmap” peace plan.

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