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New fence route to go to cabinet vote this week (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Aluf Benn 01/30/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/533481.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will present the changed route of the separation fence in two parts - Gush Etzion and south Mount Hebron - to the cabinet for approval this week.

The cabinet deliberations are likely to take place two days prior to the planned meeting between Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Sharon is expected to present to the ministers a "package deal," in which the fence will move deep inside the territory of Gush Etzion, moving to the Green Line in its southern section.

Government officials assessed that the cabinet will authorize the new route.

The route of the fence in Gush Etzion is expected to upset the Palestinian Authority because it intends to include 10 settlements and the town of Efrat into an Israeli pocket between the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron.

The new route will also include four Palestinian villages with some 18,000 residents, in addition to many properties of Palestinians from Bethlehem.

In recent weeks, Defense Ministry officials and representatives of the Justice Ministry held intensive talks in an effort to formulate a solution that would enable Palestinians with property in Gush Etzion to access their land and allow "normal life" to go on inside the four Palestinian villages.

Gush Etzion council head Shaul Goldstein was active in forcing the fence away from the populated edge of the settlement community.

In south Mount Hebron, the new fence route was planned on the basis of a Supreme Court ruling from July 2004 that said the "principle of moderation" should take precedence in actions that would harm the Palestinian residents. The new route excludes a number of settlements and thousands of dunams of Palestinian land. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/30/05)

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