Palestinians protest barrier

17 June 2004
Hundreds of Palestinians protested on 16 June against the first day of construction work on Israel's barrier around the 18,000-strong settlement of Ariel.

Four Israeli bulldozers started work in the morning, levelling land and razing trees in the West Bank village of Iskaka, before retreating back into Ariel when protesters hurled stones. 'The bulldozers were already at work when we arrived here but they left 30 minutes later after villagers protested and children threw stones at them,' Iskaka Mayor Samir Hariss told AFP.

Washington has made known its objections to the barrier, reiterating this on 15 June.

'Soldiers fired tear gas canisters and shot in the air. It seems they did not want the situation to degenerate because Ariel is a sensitive area, because [President] Bush is opposed to the wall here, not because they care about us.'

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