JERUSALEM – Responding to a Supreme Court order, Israel plans to re-examine a 125-mile section of its West Bank barrier (search) that was built months ago, Israeli media reported Sunday.
According to the reports, the state's attorney told the judges at a High Court hearing Sunday that the northern section of the barrier — part of which surrounds the Palestinian town of Qalqilya with concrete walls — will be re-examined.
The High Court ruled in July that a 20-mile stretch of the structure violated Palestinian rights and international law. A U.N. (search) world court nonbinding advisory opinion — also issued in July — declared the barrier illegal and called on Israel to tear it down.
Israel has pledged to continue building the barrier, which it says is meant to prevent suicide bombers and other attackers from entering Israeli towns and cities, but has already rerouted large chunks of the structure. So far, however, it has not pulled down any existing sections.
Palestinians condemn the barrier of concrete walls, razor wire and trenches as a land grab meant to prevent them from establishing a viable state.
Just one-third of the 425-mile barrier has been built, but it already cuts hundreds of Palestinians off from their lands, schools, workplaces and nearby towns and villages.
Sunday's High Court hearing dealt with an area of the barrier near the Jewish settlement of Alfei Menashe, north of Tel Aviv.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (search), which filed the court challenge, said it is seeking to move the barrier near Alfei Menashe because it cuts five Palestinian villages off from their farmland and causes other hardship.