Controversy surrounds West Bank tunnel

Tunnels to become sole means of access to outside world for village after Israel completes wall, experts say.

    A separation barrier being built by Israel in the occupied West Bank will further isolate the village of al-Wallaja from the outside world, Palestinians say.

    The Hajajleh family, whose backyard is already bound by an electronic fence, is among those who will be cut off from relatives in al-Wallaja.

    Israel is building the family an $800,000 personal tunnel as the their only connection to the village.

    Palestinians say the move is not out of goodwill - but is part of a grander government plan to squeeze them out of another huge area of the West Bank.

    Jad Isaac, a researcher, says al-Wallaja is standing in the way of Israel’s long-term plan to complete a ring of Jewish settlements that would surround the neighbouring city of Bethlehem.

    The tunnels would eventually become the village's only means of access to the outside world, he says.

    Al Jazeera's Tom Ackerman reports from the West Bank.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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