Israeli Army Sets up ‘Buffer Zone’ in West Bank
The Israeli army on Monday created a "buffer zone" along a northern stretch of the West Bank on the boundary with Israel, the army said in a statement.
"Entry into this zone is from now on forbidden to all (Palestinian) residents of the West Bank unless they have a special permit," the statement said.
Israel decided to create a special closed-off area on September 16.
The army says that the new conditions, which will place severe restrictions on Palestinians, were taken to prevent "terrorist attacks" in Israel and to prevent Palestinians entering Israel illegally to work without permission.
The zone stretches at least 30 kilometers (20 miles) between the northwestern town of Tulkarem and Jenin in the north, and is up to two kilometers deep in places.
Palestinians have strongly criticized the creation of the zone, saying that it is a preparation by Israel to annex the land in the area.
"We condemn this decision by Israel, and Palestinian President (Yasser) Arafat has sent a letter to this effect to the US President George W. Bush, because this will destroy the lives of thousands of Palestinians and the Oslo peace accords," Palestinian information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said at the time -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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