A new report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the route of Israel's separation barrier is severing East Jerusalem from the West Bank and isolating Bethlehem. When complete, approximately 10.2 percent of West Bank territory, including East Jerusalem, will be isolated by the Barrier and connected to Israel the report said. It continues, the route of the Barrier around the Gush Etzion settlement bloc will sever the last route between Bethlehem and Jerusalem and isolate the majority of Bethlehem's agricultural hinterland. The report looks at several West Bank communities and details the humanitarian impact of the barrier, including access to education and family relations. Humanitarian and religious groups worldwide, have long been raising concerns about the route of the barrier, particularly in and around Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where it threatens the viability of a future Palestinian state and disrupts the Christian narrative in the Holy Land. The UN report, Three Years Later: The Humanitarian Impact of the Barrier Since the International Court of Justice Opinion can be read in full on OCHA's website. www.ochaopt.org/documents/ICJ3_Special_Focus_July2007.pdf. This and other resources related to Jerusalem, including a new Factsheet on Jerusalem: Toward a Negotiated Resolution for the Holy City, can also be found on the Churches for Middle East Peace Shared Jerusalem Resource Centre. Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace is a Washington-based group representing all the major churches in America. For more information see: www.cmep.org Source: CMEP
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