Section of West Bank barrier near Jerusalem collapses in rainstorm

Residents of abutting Palestinian village cheer the falling of the wall; Border Police say they will step up patrols in the area

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Heavy rains caused a segment of the West Bank security barrier to collapse east of Jerusalem on Wednesday, prompting cheers from residents of the nearby Palestinian village.

The showers, which began Wednesday morning, appeared to wash away the ground beneath the wall outside the village of Anata near Jerusalem, causing the large concrete slabs that make up the barrier to tumble into a roadway lower down the hill.

A video posted on social media by residents of the village show people gathered around the fallen section of the contentious security barrier, applauding and hollering after its collapse.

Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi tweeted that “Nature abhors racist #ApartheidIsrael walls that violate its integrity & #Palestinian human rights.”

The Border Police said they were aware of the situation and that officers would guard the area until it is repaired.

The West Bank security barrier is a combination of walls and fences that Israel credits with stopping terrorist attacks. The section around Anata is made up of tall concrete slabs.

Israel says the barrier, which it began building amid a wave of Palestinian terror attacks in 2002, is crucial for its security. Israel was battered by an onslaught of Palestinian suicide bombers, who killed hundreds of Israelis, in a stream of attacks from late 2000 to 2003. Palestinians see the barrier, which extends into about 7 percent of the West Bank, as a land grab of territory they want for a future state.

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