West Bank barrier removed as security improves

Israel has begun work to remove a concrete barrier at the border between a Jewish Jerusalem neighbourhood and the West Bank town of Beit Jalla.

The barrier outside the southern Jerusalem neighbourhood of Gilo, which has a population of 40,000, was constructed during the second intifada to protect residents from frequent attacks by Palestinian gunmen and bombers.

But in a sign of improved security conditions, Israel is to take down the three metre high barrier.

Lieutenant Colonel Avital Liebovich said the barrier was no longer necessary because relations with West Bank security forces were strong enough to prevent attacks.

She added: "This is the first time that we have moved such a structure from a neighbourhood that was directly hit by sniper fire and shells.”

Last updated: 9:56am, August 16 2010