Israel speeds up the building of its West Bank separation barrier despite Palestinian protests against the project that devours hectares of their farmland.
Residents in the Palestinian village of al-Walajeh said the Israeli army picked up the pace of work on the "apartheid wall" near the town — south of al-Quds (Jerusalem) — this week, Haaretz said in a report published on its website on Thursday.
On Wednesday, five bulldozers and other heavy machines were working on a half-kilometer stretch of the fence, and other heavy equipment working elsewhere around the village.
The move comes after the Palestinians petitioned the High Court of Justice, asking it to order Tel Aviv to find an alternative route for the wall.
The current course would surround al-Walajeh on three sides and strip its residents from large swathes of their land.
During a court hearing on Sunday, it came into light that the order to expropriate village land for the fence, which enabled the work to begin, had expired a year ago.
Tel Aviv’s representative had no satisfactory explanation for this, which prompted the court to issue an injunction requiring an explanation within 45 days why the work should not halt. The court, howver, did not order the work to be stopped.
The United Nations has condemned Israel’s plans to build the separation wall. The world body argues the barrier will seriously influence the life of the Palestinians residing in the nearby towns and villages.
Israel already has dozens of checkpoints in the occupied West Bank which have caused numerous difficulties for Palestinians living in the region.