Photo: Tal Cohen
Fence route. To be changed
Photo: Tal Cohen
Photo: Meir Ohayon
Barak. 'Grave phenomenon'
Photo: Meir Ohayon

High Court: Dismantle part of fence

Judges instruct State to dismantle eastern part of separation fence, aimed at protecting settlement of Tzofim, within six months

The High Court of Justice on Thursday morning accepted the petition of the Azon Municipality, the village of Nabi Elias and the Center for the Defense of the Individual, ruling that the fence route on the eastern side of the Arab village of Tzufin will be dismantled.


The route section, which is five kilometers (about three miles) long, is aimed at protecting the West Bank settlement of Tzofim.


In their decision, the judges wrote that the section occupies lands at an overall area of more than 1,000 dunam (about 250 acres), 650 dunam (162.5 acres) of it privately owned by Palestinian residents.


In the ruling, Supreme Court President Aharon Barak criticized the State Prosecutor's Office, saying that "a grave phenomenon has been revealed in this petition. The High Court was not presented with the entire picture in the first petition. The court rejected the appeal based on partial information."


Barak added: "This petition points to an incident that cannot be accepted, according to which the information provided to the court did not reflect the entire considerations contemplated by the judges.


The route in the area was discussed in the past in at the midst of many terror attacks that occurred at the time, and the petition was rejected.


B'Tselem: State lied


The judges accepted the State's request to postpone the operations to dismantle the fence section by six months until the alternative route is built, but stressed that they were not giving a legal authorization for the new route. In addition, the State was required to pay the legal costs, amounting to NIS 50,000 (about USD 11,173).


The B'Tselem human rights organization said in response to the decision that "the High Court of Justice in fact ruled that the State lied when it claimed that the fence route is only based on security considerations. This ruling requires a renewed discussion on all the petitions rejected based on those claims."


The High Court later discussed eight petitions filed against the fence route in the Gush Etzion area. This was the first court hearing on the fence route in that area. The first issue to be discussed is on the environmental level and will refer to the fence route in the Kfar Etzion School.


During the discussion, the petitioners' representatives and State representatives were planning to ask the court to postpone the discussion on the fence route in the area until the alternative route the parties will agree upon will be completed.


In the rest of the petitions submitted, the petitioners offered several alternatives to the route. According to the State's response, the route will be altered near the Kfar Etzion School.


פרסום ראשון: 06.15.06, 12:00
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