Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso: Government seeks referendum

Read more

ENCORE!

All the fun of the FIAC: Contemporary art fair rolls into town

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Whistleblower James Wasserstrom slams UN over its failure to fight corruption

Read more

LIFESTYLES

New garden concepts

Read more

FOCUS

Indian uranium mines take heavy toll on locals and environment

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for Mexican president to resign gain traction

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Brazil: The battle for undecided voters

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Drugmakers to join forces in tackling Ebola

Read more

DEBATE

Rape as a weapon of war: How to stop impunity in eastern Congo? (part 2)

Read more

Middle east

Israeli court halts construction on section of West Bank barrier

© Michal Fattal

Text by HAARETZ

Latest update : 2013-05-03

Israel’s High Court ordered the Defense Ministry to cease construction of a concrete barrier near the West Bank village of Batir, after villagers and environmentalists successfully argued it would damage ancient agricultural terraces.

The High Court ordered Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon Thursday to halt work on the construction of the West Bank security barrier near the Palestinian village of Batir.

The petition against the fence was submitted by Batir residents and Friends of the Earth Middle East. They are arguing that a barrier would irreparably damage the agricultural terraces in the region, which seem to be thousands of years old and which may be declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) when that body meets next month.

In an unusual step, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority was given permission to join the petition and also opposed the state's plans.

On Wednesday, the INPA submitted an alternative proposal, whereby a simple chain-link fence, backed by security systems, would be erected instead of the concrete wall the ministry wants to build.

In their ruling, the panel of three justices ordered the Defense Ministry to examine the alternative proposal and to report back with its findings by July 2.

The ministry is planning the 500-meter segment of the separation barrier to protect the train line to Jerusalem, which passes close to a school and several houses in the village. Batir lies about five kilometers west of Bethlehem.

At UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meeting next month, the terraces at Batir will come up for recognition as a World Heritage Site. The terraces are watered by an ancient system of springs, pools and wells. In addition to destroying the watering system, residents say, the part of the barrier in the Refaim streambed next to the Green Line, or Israel's pre-1967 border, could separate the villagers from 740 acres of their land.

© Read premium content from leading Israeli daily Haaretz on FRANCE 24

Date created : 2013-05-03

COMMENT(S)