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Israeli PM: West Bank Barrier Will Remain

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel's barrier in the West Bank will not be taken down, despite a drop in violence in the occupied territory.

Mr. Netanyahu told Israeli's parliament Wednesday that the situation was calm in the West Bank because of the barrier and an improvement on the part of Palestinian security services.

The remarks came after Israel's Maariv newspaper ran a report saying Palestinian officials had pressed the United States to push for the dismantling of the barrier because of the West Bank's improving security situation.

Israel began erecting the barrier during the height of a Palestinian uprising, saying the project was necessary to stop suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities. Palestinians say the barrier's purpose is to grab land that could deny them a viable state.

The International Court of Justice issued a non-binding decision in 2004, saying the barrier was illegal because it crossed occupied territory.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.