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Israel Considers Fencing Off Occupied West Bank

In the wake of the suicide bombing that killed 19 this week, Israel is nearing a momentous decision: fencing off the occupied West Bank to protect its heartland from further terrorist attacks.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Tuesday he would appoint a committee Sunday with a mandate to begin the gradual separation of Israel from the Palestinian territories.

The proposed security frontier on the West Bank will include a fence, electronic surveillance, patrolling, and checkpoints.

A decision to proceed with the “military separation line” will have far-reaching political implications for it would effectively define what Israel wants as its borders with a future Palestinian state in advance of negotiations, due in May 1996.

Establishment of such a frontier also would imply Israeli abandonment of scores of Jewish settlements that would lie beyond it.


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