Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Very Partial Victory

The Israeli Supreme Court, yesterday, ordered the Israeli government to redraw, partially dismantle and rebuild the route of a 1.7 kilometer section of the West Bank separation fence, which was built on land belonging to Bil'in, a Palestinian village which has become a major focus of opposition to the separation fence.

For nearly three years, the fence, at Bil'in, has been at the focus of weekly demonstrations, punctuated by numerous violent confrontations between protesters and soldiers and police deployed at the site.

But, this is only a partial victory for the residence fo Bil'in and their allies. The re-routed fence, while now allowing Bil'in farmers access nearly 3000 dunam (300 hectares) of their own land that would have been otherwise cut off from their access, will still be allowed to surround the Mattityahu West neighborhood.

Mattiyahu West is the subject of another lawsuit by Bil'in residents, who claim - with quite a lot of justification it would seem, that it sits on land illegally expropriated from them and then transfered to private developers. One of these developers has since gone bankrupt (while its principal owner is lounging on the Italian Riviera) , stranding dozens of Haredei buyers without their money and without legal title to the apartments they thought they had purchased. Of course, those apartments still on land stolen from Bil'in farmers. Yesterday's court ruling does not address this mess.

So as of now, the "wild east" in the West Bank continues. "Every man does as he sees fit; there is no law and there is no judgment"


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