High Court approves new fence route

5000 dunams of Palestinian-owned land included in Israeli territory.

fence 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
fence 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The High Court of Justice approved on Sunday a revised route of the security fence for southwest Jerusalem. Submitted by the IDF, the 26-kilometer long route annexes some 5000 dunams of Palestinian-owned land within Israeli territory. The High Court rejected seven petitions from local Palestinian villages, the Mount Hadar Regional Council, and from residents of Mevasseret Zion, all of whom were opposed to the new route. The state promised to install gates in the fence and approve crossings for Palestinian farmers. In his ruling, Supreme Court President Aharon Barak wrote that the new route minimizes the harm caused to Palestinians, and satisfies the balance between the security needs of the state and Palestinians' rights. There have been numerous battles between the security establishment and the Supreme Court regarding route-adjustment for the security fence. In June the High Court of Justice sharply reprimanded the government for supplying only 'partially true' information for the route of the security fence around the settlement of Tzufin. In doing so, the court accepted a new petition against the route filed in 2005 by the head of the municipal council of Azun, the head of the village council of Nebi Elias and the human rights organization Moked in Defense of the Individual. The petition challenged the route of the fence stretching south and east of Tzufin, which extends 2.5 kilometers beyond the built-up area of the settlement. Even before the government handed down its ruling, the state announced it would build a new fence and restore 1,000 dunams of land, including 650 dunams owned by Palestinian farmers, to the West Bank side of the fence. Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.