Israel OKs barrier in Palestinian Christian area

JERUSALEM (AP) — A lawyer for a convent in a Palestinian Christian town near Bethlehem says she will appeal an Israeli court ruling allowing construction of a segment of Israel’s separation barrier through properties owned by the Vatican and Palestinian residents.

Lawyer Manal Hazzan Abu Sinni said Monday the barrier’s route will separate the Beit Jala convent from a monastery, leaving the convent’s land on Israel’s side of the barrier.

The district court ruling last week dismissed alternative routes for the barrier, citing security concerns. The decision comes after a seven-year court battle by area Palestinians.

Israel has been erecting the barrier in the West Bank since 2002 to keep out Palestinian attackers. Palestinians say the barrier is a land grab because much of it is built on West Bank territory.

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