Daily Israel Report

Thousands of Dunams of Jewish-Owned Land Left Outside the Fence

About 5,000 dunam (1,250 acres) of private land owned by Jews have been left outside the separation barrier in the Jerusalem area which was completed earlier this week.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 12/14/2006, 8:06 AM / Last Update: 12/14/2006, 9:57 AM

In the Atarot-Neve Ya'akov area, some of this land has already been seized by Arab squatters, according to local reports. In other areas, such as Har Gilo and Anatot, the land is currently not being used.

Military officials said that fixing the route of the fence sometimes required making difficult decisions that took into consideration High Court decisions as well as the demographic map created by the barrier.

According to the Haaretz news service, the IDF emphasized that the barrier harms Arabs as well as Jews, and that most of the difficulties are the result of decisions based on security factors.

Much of the Jewish land at issue was purchased before the establishment of the Israel in 1948. One large tract beyond the separation fence lies in Abu Dis, immediately east of the city. In north Jerusalem, about 1,000 dunam of Jewish National Fund land next to the Atarot airfield will similarly be cut off.

The High Court also ruled Wednesday on petitions filed by two Jerusalem-area Arab villages that are opposing the route of the fence.

The judges ruled that the current route of the barrier around Jerusalem does not constitute “disproportionate” damages to the residents in the villages of A-Ram and Dahiyat al-Bareed, who filed the petitions against it.

The panel held that the defense of Jerusalem from “murderous acts of terror” constituted a security need “of the highest order” which superceded the difficulties faced by residents of Dahiyat al-Bareed, in which a neighborhood has been cut in half by the barrier.

The two petitions against the route of the security barrier were rejected by a vote of 6 to 1.