High Court rejects anti-fence petitons

Army can complete construction of barrier between Beit Aryeh, Ofarim and Abud.

security fence 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
security fence 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The army can complete construction of the separation barrier between the Israeli settlements of Beit Aryeh and Ofarim and the Palestinian village of Abud, just east of the Green Line, after the High Court of Justice rejected Monday two petitions, one by each side, against the army's route. Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and Justices Eliezer Rivlin and Ayala Procaccia ruled that the route proposed by the army properly balanced between the security needs of the Israeli population on both sides of the Green Line and the human rights of the settlers and the Palestinians who are affected by the barrier's route. The residents of Beit Aryeh and Ofarim argued that the route of the barrier, as proposed by the government, endangered the regional school where 670 students are enrolled, the barrier is located too close to settlers' homes, it leaves a strategic hill overlooking the area in Palestinian hands and leaves 1,000 dunams of land belonging to the settlements on the "Palestinian" side of the fence. The residents of Abud charged that the army had annexed 560 dunams of their land to build the barrier, caused the uprooting of 1,100 olive trees and left 3,900 dunams of their privately owned land on the "Israeli" side. The court rejected the arguments of both sides. Regarding the petitioners, it wrote, "We were not convinced [by the petitioners] that the proposed route failed to provide an answer to their security needs," wrote Barak. "Furthermore, the state said it had made intensive efforts to provide for the security needs of the population." The court added that it was convinced that the injury caused the Abud villagers was "proportional," in other words, that it struck a proper balance between the human rights of the villagers and the security needs of the Israeli population.