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      Security Fence Route Change Protects 2 More Jewish Towns

      Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved, for the first time, a change in the route of the security/border fence that moves the barrier to the east, protecting the towns of Nili [pictured] and Na’aleh.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 1/31/2007, 3:59 PM / Last Update: 1/31/2007, 9:54 AM

      The new route, located near Upper Modiin, would include the Jewish towns “inside” the fence, which is to be moved five kilometers to the east of the 1949 armistice line.

      If the government approves the proposal, the fence will be extended by some 12 kilometers. It will be the first time that the route of the security fence has been pushed eastward.

      The Prime Minister’s Office says that Olmert will present the proposal to the cabinet when he has completed his review of the plans.

      The defense establishment is also considering other alternatives, such as surrounding Nili and Na’aleh with a security fence and adding protection on the access road connecting the two communities with nearby Kiryat Sefer.

      In the past, route changes have moved the security fence westward in order to address complaints by Arab communities.

      Rani Hernik, Chairman of the Na’aleh local council said that the two communities – both secular – are located on state land, supporting the argument that the new route would not interfere with the “fabric of life” in Palestinian Authority villages.

      The route of this segment of the fence has been debated and changed at least once before. Nili and Na’aleh, which are both located east of the 1949 line, were to be protected by parallel fences to their east and west.

      Residents of five nearby PA villages filed a petition against the route, however, saying their communities would be trapped inside the double fence. At that time, the High Court approved a new configuration in which there would be only one fence located to the west of Nili and Na’aleh, leaving them outside the barrier that is supposed to protect Israel’s Jews