File - The barrier threatens the livelihoods of a 5,000-strong Palestinian community that depends on a Roman-era irrigation system, residents say.
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Israel's separation barrier could soon destroy the livelihoods and redraw the demographics of two Palestinian villages south of Jerusalem, locals say, should an imminent court ruling approve its planned route.If approved, the barrier – in parts an eight-meter-high concrete wall – could cut through ancient irrigation systems relied upon by the West Bank village of Battir, separate residents of nearby Beit Jala from their olive groves and divide a local Christian community.The ministry insists the barrier, whose construction began in 2002 during the bloody second Palestinian intifada and which now snakes some 440 kilometers through the West Bank, is essential for Israeli security. But in Battir, which straddles the 1949 Green Line south of Jerusalem, the barrier threatens the livelihoods of a 5,000-strong Palestinian community that depends on a Roman-era irrigation system, residents say. Only 15 percent of the separation barrier is built along the Green Line, which is recognized by the international community as the border of Israel proper, according to figures from the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA, with most of it jutting into the occupied West Bank.
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