Last update - 13:02 28/12/2006
Greens, settlers work together to fight West Bank fence route
By Zafrir Rinat, Haaretz Correspondent
Environmental activists and settlers in the Hebron region have set up a joint operation to stop the construction of a section of the separation fence in the Judean Desert.
The defense establishment is planning on building the section in question deep within the Judean Desert, where activists and settlers maintain that it will seriously threaten the ecological balance and views in the region.
Work on this particular section of the fence started a few weeks ago.
A source within the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said Wednesday in response to the complaints that, "the environmentalists woke up too late.'
Mount Hebron Regional Council Chairman Tzvika Bar-Chai recently met with official from the Israel Defense Forces' Central Command in an attempt to persuade them to reroute that section of the fence, or to cancel its construction altogether.
Bar-Chai enlisted the support of one of the founders of the Israeli conservation movement, Ezriya Alon, who in turn contacted GOC Central Command Yair Naveh.
"The essence of the Judean Desert is wholly unique in all of Israel. The fence will amputate the desert and destroy its vistas and appeal for backpackers and tourists, dealing a severe blow to the living world," Alon said in his statement to Naveh.
Dr. Yossi Lashem, former general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and one of the country's foremost aviary researchers, sent a letter on Wednesday to IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Defense Department General Secretary Gabi Ashkenazi. In the letter, Lashem warned that the planned route of the fence would prevent animals from moving freely and would destroy food access for birds of prey.