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Etzion Bloc Renews Protest against Security Fence

Local residents say the fence, planned 10 years ago, is no longer necessary.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/27/2012, 10:29 PM

Planting near Efrat (file)
Planting near Efrat (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Activists in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem have renewed their struggle against the construction of security fence in their region. The fence was planned 10 years ago as part of the effort to keep suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities. However, local residents say the security situation is much improved and the fence will create unnecessary problems and be an eyesore.

The Kfar Etzion Field School will be giving guided hikes in the area of Nahal Refaim Friday, in order to introduce the general public to the region that they say "is about to be crushed beneath a skirt of concrete and iron."

The Defense Ministry is about to embark upon the construction of two stretches of fence totaling 45-kilometers in length in the Etzion Bloc. One part will pass through Nahal Refaim, Nahal Maayanot, and Wadi Foukin.

The other stretch will begin near Efrat and pass through Mitzpe Oz to Emek Habracha and Nahal Tzufit.

The Field School says that the fence will cut off Betar – the capital of the Bar Kochva rebellion – from Jerusalem, and destroy the environs of the ancient community.

The activists also note that the construction of the fence is to cost NIS 1.25 billion. This money, they say, can be saved and invested instead in protecting the home front against missile attack. In a letter to the defense establishment, the activists wrote that "the suicide terrorists are yesterday's war and the budget should be invested in tomorrow's war."