Court rejects new Bil'in barrier route

Precedent-setting High Court ruling limits how far separation barrier can jut into West Bank.

bilin 224.88 (photo credit: B'tselem)
bilin 224.88
(photo credit: B'tselem)
The Defense Ministry will have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new route for the security barrier separating two new neighborhoods of Modi'in Illit from the Palestinian village of Bil'in, after the High Court of Justice found the state in contempt. It marks the third time in recent weeks that the court has found the state in contempt of court for failing to implement one its rulings. "The route chosen by the state does not comply with the standards determined in the High Court verdict," wrote Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. "The state is ordered to uphold the court's instructions without further delay and to map out a route for the barrier which meets the criteria established in the ruling." The contempt of court charges were filed by attorneys Michael Sfard and Tali Rosen on behalf of Ahmed Yassin, the Bil'in village council head. They charged that nine months after the court had rejected its previous proposal for the barrier route between Modi'in Illit and Bil'in, the state had failed to come up with a new proposal that was in compliance with a series of instructions it had given regarding the new route. For example, the court ordered the army to leave the second stage of east Matityahu on the Palestinian side of the barrier. The route had originally left the second stage, which has not yet been built or planned, on the Israeli side. The court also ordered the state to design the new route as much as possible on state-owned, rather than privately owned Palestinian land. Most of the new route was designed on cultivated Palestinian farmland. The court also ordered the state to include as many enclaves of Palestinian-owned located within the first stage of east Matityahu, parts of which were still undeveloped, on the Palestinian side of the barrier. The court also ordered the state to pay NIS 10,000 to cover the petitioners' court costs.