Olmert Promises New Borders for Israelis and Palestinians
(Because of intense interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, NPR makes available free transcripts of its coverage. View related web coverage or listen to the audio for this story.)
Morning Edition: April 11, 2006
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
When Hamas militants were sworn in as the new Palestinian government, Israel branded it a hostile entity and ruled out any contact with it. Now, Israel's Prime Minister Designate, Ehud Olmert, is planning to taking unilateral steps to set Israel's final borders and close some West Bank settlements.
Many Palestinians fear the moves will deny them a viable state. And as Israel continues to build its barrier with the West Bank, Palestinians point to increasing hardships. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports.
ERIC WESTERVELT reporting:
(See original article for this part)
WESTERVELT: Classics Professor Amiel Vardi is with the Israeli/Palestinian Human Rights Group Ta'Ayush, which supported efforts by local Palestinians to challenge the route of Israel's barrier in a case heard by the Israeli Supreme Court.
Professor AMIEL VARDI (Classics Professor; Member, Ta'Ayush): They ask either to move the route of the wall so they are within the West Bank, or if you insist on the route of the wall, give us residency of Jerusalem so that we can live within Jerusalem. And they were denied both.
WESTERVELT: The court did rule that the Jewish state had to leave an opening in the barrier to allow locals to enter the West Bank under special permission. Vardi charges that across the West Bank daily restrictions on Palestinians and the root of the barrier are deliberate efforts to prepare the ground for the expansion of the large Jewish settlement blocks.
Prof. VARDI: Well, it is quite clear that the fence-the (unintelligible) fence- is used to an annex land, to extend settlements and very often to make the lives of the Palestinians that are included within it so impossible that they are forced to leave. And to tell you the truth, it's working.