A section of Israel's West Bank separation barrier will leave 17,000 Palestinians on the Israeli side, hampering their access to the West Bank, settler and security officials said Thursday.
The barrier will encompass the Etzion settlement bloc in the southern West Bank, as originally planned -- despite a Supreme Court ruling to move the route closer to the "Green Line" 1949 border, said Shaul Goldstein, the Etzion bloc council head.
However, in one change introduced since the court ruling, four Palestinian villages near the Etzion bloc will no longer be completely encircled by the barrier, said Goldstein.
Goldstein said the army consulted with the settlers on the route. He said the settlers asked not to encircle the villages because it would create additional animosity. "At the moment we have some kind of coexistence," Goldstein said.
A senior security official said the Defense Ministry was in talks with the attorney general to try to reduce hardship to the Palestinians.