The High Court has rejected a motion by Our Land of Israel activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, to instruct military authorities allow them to conduct educational tours for visitors in Hevron. The two argued in their motion that the Hevron accords signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority allow for freedom of movement within the city.
They also noted that following a motion by extreme leftist group “Breaking the Silence,” the respondents “allow members of the extreme Left to conduct tours in Hevron, in the name of freedom of expression, freedom of movement and other basic rights.”
Not granting the petitioners the same right to conduct tours of various neighborhoods in Hevron constitutes illegal discrimination, they contended.
In rejecting the nationalists' motion, the High Court stated that “As is well known, Hevron's legal and security-related status is different from that of other cities within the territory of the state of Israel.” Therefore, it said, there is “no basis” for the claim that the nationalists' tours can be conducted if only additional police or military forces are allocated for securing them.
Marzel criticized the judges after the ruling. “The High Court is making a mockery of itself,” he said. “When left wingers want to demonstrate in Hevron, the judges have no problem granting rulings and writing lengthily about the freedom of protest. But when the motion comes from the right side, the High Court judges prove once again that fairness is foreign to them. All of a sudden they claim that 'Hevron's legal status is different from that of other cities within the state of Israel.'”
Marzel said that he and Ben Gvir intend to request permission to join as respondents in a motion regarding Breaking the Silence's tours. There, he said, “We will bring this ruling and argue that leftists must not continue their tours of the City of Patriarchs... The High Court judges need to decide: if there is freedom to protest, it is freedom for everyone, and if not, then the leftists can't protest in Hevron either.”
Jews in Hevron have long claimed that leftist tours of Hevron incite the Arab population to attack and terrorize the Jews.