High Court Rejects Two Petitions Against Security Fence

The High Court continued to consider a series of petitions against the route of the security fence on Sunday. The latest were from Arab residents objecting to the route in eastern Jerusalem.

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Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 19:18

Eleven residents of the Arab village of Kafr Anta said the fence would cut them off from other parts of Jerusalem, in addition to cutting through a cemetery and dividing land that they allege they own.

The State attorneys responded that the fence would include a passage through the barrier that would be open 24 hours a day, allowing the residents access to both the cemetery and their land.

Residents in A-Sheikh similarly argued against the fence on the grounds that it cuts through their land and separates the community from the rest of Jerusalem.

As with the petition from Kafr Anta, the Court accepted the State’s argument that a passage through the fence will be available at all times and is located a short distance – one kilometer – away from their homes. The court said in its ruling that Jerusalem will be available to the residents at all times.

Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, sitting with Judge Dorit Beinisch and Judge Ayala Procaccia, also cited security concerns in the decision. In addition, they said, the damage caused by the current route was relatively minor.

Last week Palestinian Authority Arab village leaders won an appeal to reroute some 5 km of the barrier, relocating it closer to the Yesha Jewish community of Tzufim. The petition was filed by the village of Nebi Elias, the municipality of Azzun and the Center for the Defense of the Individual.

The current route of the fence, which was built to protect the residents of Tzufim, cuts off some 650 dunams (140 acres) that the petition said belongs to private Arab individuals. Approximately 1,000 dunams of land would have been left on the Tzufim side. The court ruled that in a previous hearing, the State had withheld reasons for the route that were not completely security related.

There are a number of petitions against the route of the security barrier that have yet to be heard by the High Court, filed by both Jews and Arabs.

In northern Jerusalem, the IDF has begun to tear down part of the wall in order to widen a new one-way road that is to be used by Jews. The road was wide enough only for one car to drive, and was surrounded on both sides by high walls. It will now be widened to enable emergency vehicles to reach disabled vehicles.