High Court: Disengagement Legal Despite Human Rights Violations

Israel’s Supreme Court declared Wednesday that Judea, Samaria and Gaza are not part of Israel and that political and security goals override the human rights of the 9,000 residents facing expulsion.

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, | updated: 13:28

An eleven member panel of Supreme Court Justices, led by Chief Justice Aharon Barak, rejected twelve petitions from members of Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria. Ten of the Justices ruled that the Disengagement Plan violates the human rights of “property, freedom of occupation and proper respect for the evacuees,” but is acceptable in order to achieve political and security aims.

The only Justice to rule against the plan was Justice Edmund Levy, who said the entire plan should be struck down. Justice Levy added that he was critical of his colleagues for making such a significant ruling without first visiting Gush Katif to obtain a true understanding of what is taking place. Levy stated that at the very least, the High Court justices should have visited a number of the communities slated for evacuation.

Despite repeated invitations and an initial statement of intention to do so, the Justices refused to visit Gush Katif before ruling.

The panel of judges also rejected lawyers’ requests to have former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon explain to the court the security reasoning for the withdrawals. The court in their decision ruled that security concerns override the human rights of the Jewish residents.

The Supreme Court did, however, order changes of several aspects of the Evacuation-Compensation Law: It rejected a clause barring recipients of compensation from filing a standard lawsuit for damages; rejected a deadline allowing evictees only thirty days to choose the nature of the compensation plan they prefer and ruled that residents under twenty-one years may receive compensation--rejecting the law’s stated minimum age of twenty-one for receipt of compensation funds. Furthermore, the court ruled that the day of the actual evacuation should be used as the date for determination of certain elements of the compensation package instead of June 4, 2004, as stated by the current law.

MK Effie Eitam (Engagement Party) blasted the ruling. “The Supreme Court is facilitating the government corruption that gave birth to the Disengagement and the affliction of a populace that has built their lives upon the rule of law and the decisions of the Israeli government. It has crumbled the last remaining vestige of Israeli democracy.”

“The legal battle is not over, we are considering additional petitions,” said Attorney Yitzhak Meiron of the Land of Israel Legal Forum. He claims that the court created a legal opening for additional petitions with regard to compensatory lands for farmers and the proposed plan to relocate residents in the area of Nitzanim, between Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Meiron stressed that at the core of the ruling lay the basic worldview of the Supreme Court Justices. “It is too bad there are not more judges like Edmund Levy on the court,” he said. The attorney also pointed out the discrepancy between the time spent discussing the affects on human rights of Arabs effected by the Separation Fence Israel is building, as opposed to the time allotted to the 9,000 Jewish citizens being expelled from their homes.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said the ruling demonstrates the courts increasing distance from the concept of justice. “They are prepared to sacrifice human rights and freedom on the altar of their leftist world-view,” he said. “But even in Sodom there was one righteous man [referring to Justice Levy –ed.] and the world continues to exist, due to the righteous.”

The complete Supreme Court ruling can be viewed (in Hebrew) by clicking here.