Court: Bil'in barrier route must change

Follows petition by Palestinians who claimed security fence annexed their agricultural lands.

September 4, 2007 10:30
2 minute read.
Court: Bil'in barrier route must change

bilin map 298 btselem. (photo credit: B'tselem)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


After a two-year battle that included protests every Friday, residents of the Palestinian village of Bil'in and their Israeli and international supporters have won a partial victory. The High Court of Justice on Tuesday ordered the army to change the route of the security barrier around a neighborhood of Modi'in Illit. The neighborhood in question is Matityahu East, which has also been the focus of another petition against allegedly illegal housing construction in the western part of the neighborhood by a number of building companies, including Heftsiba Construction, which is currently under threat of financial collapse. The petitioner, Bil'in village head Ahmed Yassin, said the barrier around Matityahu East cut villagers off from hundreds of dunams of their agricultural land and that it was built to provide for the security of nonexistent Israelis, since the neighborhood had not yet been built. Bil'in is east of Modi'in and west of Ramallah. Matityahu East includes two distinct parts - a western area and an eastern area. Construction in the western part began at about the same time the land seizure orders for the barrier were issued. Construction in the eastern part is conditional on approval by the defense minister and has not yet begun. A panel of three justices - Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, Deputy Supreme Court President Eliezer Rivlin and Justice Ayala Procaccia - ruled Tuesday that the barrier should be rerouted to protect the western part of the new neighborhood, which is today partly occupied, including by Heftsiba clients who moved into their apartments last month, while leaving the eastern part on the "West Bank" side of the barrier. Beinisch, who wrote the decision, said the question of the barrier route was made "problematic" because it was meant to protect a "future" neighborhood. "As we know," she wrote, "the route of the separation barrier should not be planned based on the desire to include land earmarked for expanding settlements on the 'Israeli side,' especially if the plans are not to be realized soon." Nevertheless, Beinisch did not explicitly decide that the barrier should be removed because it was meant to protect a neighborhood that did not yet exist. But she was adamant about the eastern part of the neighborhood, where there was no construction and no construction in sight. Beinisch found that to protect the eastern part of the neighborhood, the planners had actually sacrificed security because part the barrier was designed to run through a valley overlooked by Palestinian high ground. "It seems that given the [government's] desire to guarantee the establishment of the eastern part in the future, it determined the route where it had no security advantage," she wrote. Beinisch ruled that the barrier, as it had been planned, would cause disproportionate harm to Bil'in residents because it occupied 260 dunams (65 acres) of Palestinian land and left about 1,700 dunams of Palestinian orchards and pasture land belonging to the village or individual farmers on the "Israeli" side.•

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town