High Court Rejects Shalit Petition; Crossings Open

The High Court on Monday rejected a petition to suspend the ceasefire agreement with Hamas until kidnapped soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit is released.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz ,

Noam Shalit, father of Gilad
Noam Shalit, father of Gilad
Israel News Photo: (archive)

The High Court of Justice on Monday evening rejected the petition of Noam and Aviva Shalit against the opening of the crossings connecting Hamas-controlled Gaza with the rest of Israel. The crossings are to be opened as part of a recently negotiated ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization. Hamas rules the Gaza sector of the Palestinian Authority.

The Shalits petitioned the court to order a suspension of the government decision to open the crossings until their son, IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, is released by his Hamas captors.

Noam Shalit, father of abducted IDF soldier Gilad, standing in the Supreme court this week
Flash 90

Justices Edmond Levy, Elyakim Rubinstein and Edna Arbel unanimously gave the government permission to immediately open the crossings, which facilitate the passage of people and goods between Gaza and the rest of Israel.

"The nature of things is such," the High Court said, in a decision drafted by Justice Levy, "that the quality of the [ceasefire] agreement and its constituent elements is a policy decision and, as such, their formation is the province of policy makers. Rules of administrative jurisprudence, as they have been developed in decisions handed down by this court, state that the range for judicial interference in the considerations of executive authorities in such matters is a narrow one...."
The Shalit family's legal team sees Monday's decision as somewhat of a legal victory.

Attorney Prof. Ariel Bendor, representing the Shalits in their petition to the High Court, had asked the justices to order an additional cabinet meeting on the deal with Hamas and its relation to the release of the kidnapped soldier. While the court did not issue such an order, the justices noted for the record that the government agreed to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the matter of Cpl. Gilad Shalit's fate.

The Shalit family's legal team sees Monday's decision as somewhat of a legal victory. "The petition to the High Court of Justice," said Attorneys Bendor, Eldad Yaniv and Sharon Stein, "was intended to make it clear that from now on the government of Israel will be obligated to prove by deeds and not just words that it is in fact acting without rest to return Gilad to his home."

The captive soldier's parents had argued before the court that the Security Cabinet and the Prime Minister, whose decisions Gilad carried out, promised that an agreement with Hamas would be conditioned on their son's release. The state argued that the deal with Hamas will bring about Shalit's release, but only after the Gaza crossings are opened.

Monday's decision was handed down after attorneys for the government rejected a request by the court that it treat the filing of the petition as if the court had issued a temporary injunction in the case. The justices were hoping that the state's agreement would allow them more time to issue a final decision. The state's attorneys, however, argued that a delay in implementing the ceasefire agreement would have disastrous consequences. In its reply to the Shalits' petition, the state agreed to update the Shalit family "from time to time" regarding progress towards Gilad's release.