More Palestinians made homeless

The Israeli army has embarked on a flurry of house demolitions at a northern West Bank village in an activity apparently related to the continued construction of the separation wall.

    Another 70 more homes may be demolished in the West Bank

    Just last week the controversial barrier was found by the World Court to be in breach of international law.

    Yet, witnesses said Israeli bulldozers had demolished at least six homes in the village of Bartaa, near Janin, making dozens of residents homeless.

    The occupants tried to remove their furniture and personal effects while the bulldozers, guarded by soldiers wielding M-16 combat rifles, went about the demolition work.

    When youths hurled stones at the bulldozers, Israeli troops responded by firing rubber-coated bullets and reportedly also live ammunition.

    The World Court found the wall to
    be in breach of international law

    At least 13 Palestinian protesters were injured in the clashes, including a man who suffered bullet wounds, according to Adil Kabah, a witness.

    One Israeli soldier was lightly injured when hit by a stone.

    Kabah says the occupation army is planning to demolish as many as 70 more homes, adding that the act will be "catastrophic" for the small village.

    An Israeli spokeswoman said: "Any Palestinian who feels he has been harmed or damaged by the wall can submit a complaint to our High Court of Justice. Israel is a law-abiding state."

    Court ruling defied

    On 30 June, the Israel's top court, responding to numerous Palestinian petitions, called on the government to reroute 30km of a 40km stretch of the wall northwest of Jerusalem.

    Subsequently, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague asked Israel to "cease forthwith" the construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian territory, dismantle the structures already built and pay reparations to Palestinians harmed by the barrier and return land seized to construct it.

    Israel says the wall is a purely defensive measure aimed at preventing "Palestinian bombers" from entering Israel to carry out attacks on civilians.

    "It is like a jungle; the bulldozers come and destroy our homes ... without any legal process. And then the world has the audacity
    to call us terrorists"

    Adil Kabah, witness to the
    West Bank demolitions

    But Palestinians and several human rights groups say the real goal of the barrier is to annex as much Palestinian land as possible.

    On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana strongly criticised continued construction of the wall on Palestinian land.

    "Israel has the right to build defensive wall on its territory, but not inside other people's territory," he was quoted as saying.

    However, Israel has rejected all international criticisms of the wall, including the recent ICJ ruling, and has asked Washington to block any UN Security Council resolution that refers to the World Court's ruling.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera



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