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Jordan to mount anti-barrier case

Relatives of victims from Sunday's suicide bombing demonstrated their support for the barrier on Monday.
Relatives of victims from Sunday's suicide bombing demonstrated their support for the barrier on Monday.

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Israeli troops fired tear gas at stone-throwing Palestinians protesting the barrier on what they called a 'day of rage'.
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An Israeli man wonders if his daughter would still be alive if Israel had a security barrier a few years ago.
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Palestinian farmers must get permits and go through an Israeli barrier to get to their farmland.
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CNN) -- Jordan is set to make its case against Israel's controversial barrier after Palestinians delivered their objections to the structure at a world court hearing.

The Palestinians argued the barrier makes the viable creation of a seperate state impossible.

Jordan, unlike other countries supporting the Palestinians during the hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, views the barrier -- which is part wall and part fence -- as a direct threat.

It is felt the barrier could make life difficult for Palestinians, prompting them to flee the West Bank into neighboring Jordan and strain its resources putting pressure on its demographic balance.

The hearings, expected to last three days, follow requests from Palestinian leaders and the U.N. General Assembly that the world court consider the bitterly disputed matter and provide an opinion. A decision is expected within a few months.

Israel calls the long, winding barrier, which juts into sections of the West Bank, a necessity to protect its citizens from Palestinian terrorism that has claimed hundreds of lives.

Eight people were killed in a bus bombing in Jerusalem on Sunday.

The Palestinians say the barrier amounts to an illegal land grab of Palestinian territory because it does not match the line of Israel's border with the West Bank before the 1967 Six Day War.

Speaking before the court, Nasser al-Kidwa, Palestinian observer to the United Nations, quickly condemned the barrier.

"This wall is not about security. It's about entrenching the occupation and the de facto annexation of large areas of Palestinian land," al-Kidwa told the court.

"This wall, if completed, will leave the Palestinian people with only half of the West Bank within isolated, noncontiguous walled enclaves," he said. "It will render the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict practically impossible."

The two-state solution is part of the so-called "road map" to Mideast peace backed by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

Palestinians want a negotiated two-state solution, with Israel returning to the borders it had before the 1967 war -- which did not include the West Bank.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said the barrier is counterproductive to the road map, which calls for steps by Israel and the Palestinians to end the Mideast conflict and establish an independent Palestinian state by 2005.

The U.N. General Assembly has demanded that Israel halt construction of the barrier and dismantle what has been built.

The international court, created in 1946, is the main legal body of the United Nations and is usually called upon to settle disputes between states.

Israel is not participating in the hearings, saying the barrier is a defense maneuver over which the world court has no jurisdiction. Forty-three countries have said they agree with that argument.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the United States and other Western countries sent a brief to the international court saying it should not be involved in the issue.

"It is our view that this is a political issue and should be resolve through dialogue and negotiation between the parties," McClellan told reporters in a White House briefing.


Palestinians staged a protest against the barrier from their side of the wall.
Palestinians staged a protest against the barrier from their side of the wall.

Israeli officials also said they do not believe the court would seriously consider their side. But Israel did file written arguments saying the barrier is temporary and is helping block out terrorists.

Representatives of several nations and organizations plan to address the court in the coming days in support of the Palestinians' position. Algeria, Saudi Arabia and South Africa spoke Monday.

The world court's decision will be nonbinding, but Palestinians say it could lead to international sanctions against Israel. It also could strengthen Palestinian arguments -- and the arguments of other Arab leaders who support the position -- in the eyes of many in the world.

The Israeli government began building the barrier in 2002, about two years after renewed violence erupted in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Under current plans, the barrier would be completed by 2005.

In the latest violence, a Palestinian terrorist bombing of a crowded Jerusalem bus on Sunday killed at least eight people and wounded more than 50 others. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- a military offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement -- claimed responsibility for the blast. (Jerusalem blast)

On Monday, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled stood near the barrier at Abu Dis in the West Bank. Alongside him was the Israeli bus that was destroyed Sunday.

"I don't know who brought the bus here, but I think that it is a very clear message that we would like, or prefer not to see, these kinds of buses," Peled said.

"And obviously we would prefer not to see these kinds of walls and fences, and that is very simple. The minute there is a cessation of terror, we won't see these things anymore."

Daniel Shek, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, also defended the barrier.

"Most of what is being said about the security fence, the anti-terrorist fence, in Israel is absolutely unfounded," Shek said.

"It is a nonoffensive, nonlethal, defensive, removable, temporary measure which, I must add, works very well. Had we had the fence around Jerusalem yesterday we wouldn't be burying eight of our children today."

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