Israeli Separation Wall Threaten’s Battir’s Ancient Terraces
The future of an ancient agricultural landscape, incorporating extensive stone-walled terraces and a unique natural irrigation system, could be decided on Wednesday when a petition against the planned route ofIsrael's vast concrete and steel separation barrier is heard by the high court.
The terraces of the Palestinian village of Battir, near Bethlehem, are expected to be declared a world heritage site by Unesco, the United Nations' cultural body, in the coming months.
But, Friends of the Earth, which filed the petition, says Israel’s decision to construct the West Bank barrier through a valley running between the terraces threatens to inflict irreversible harm to the landscape.
The case has been bolstered by a last-minute U-turn by Israel’s nature and parks authority, which called on the court on Tuesday to accept the petition, saying the “special and valuable area” should be protected in the public interest. The authority argued there was no longer an emergency security environment requiring environmental considerations to be cast aside.
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