Ma'an News Agency
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Bilin residents are due to start the construction of a new neighborhood on land returned to them following the re-routing of Israel's separation barrier.

Villagers will start building "Bilin West" on Friday as part of the weekly demonstration against the wall, a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said Thursday.

The Popular Committee announced a new strategy of building community and public buildings on lands that were returned as a way to assert their possession of them.

Six years after the struggle began and four years after the Israeli High Court had ordered the re-routing of the wall, residents will finally have access to 600 dunams of land previously annexed behind the wall, the statement said.

The fight will continue for the 1350 dunams of village land still effectively annexed to the settlements of Modin Illit, the Popular Committee added.

The village of Bilin, west of Ramallah, has been the scene of weekly protests for years as Palestinians have fought to protect their land from annexation.

Israel says the barrier is designed to prevent attacks, but the Palestinians view it as an "apartheid wall" that annexes key parts of their future state.

When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice called for the dismantling of all parts of the separation barrier built on occupied territory.


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