High Court rejects security fence petition

Court confirms that the benefits to Shavei Shomron's safety outweigh damage to nearby Palestinian communities.

security fence 88 (photo credit: )
security fence 88
(photo credit: )
The High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition by the heads of three Palestinian local authorities and several residents protesting the construction of a security fence around the settlement of Shavei Shomron in the north-central area of the West Bank. The security fence is not part of the separation barrier. It surrounds the settlement, which is entirely located on the West Bank side of the barrier. "We accept the opinion of the military commander according to which the special security area and the defense space that it creates are necessary to provide the community of Shavei Shomron the security protection it needs against terrorist infiltrations and other terrorist activities," the court wrote. "A fence that were to be built closer to the houses of the community would not provide the necessary defense against these dangers." The decision was handed down by Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and Justices Dorit Beinish and Ayala Procaccia. "We are satisfied that in the circumstances, the injury to the petitioners stands in proper proportion to the security benefits provided by the fence," the justices continued. "The aim of the fence is to protect the lives of the Israeli residents from terrorism. Therefore, the benefit it is expected to provide is very great. On the other hand, the injury to the petitioners is not so great as to be disproportionate. A relatively small amount of land was seized in order to build the fence itself. In exchange for the land and for the trees that will be moved or uprooted, the government will pay suitable compensation." The army seized 53 dunams of land in order to build the security fence, including 40 dunams of orchards belonging to the city of Sabastiya and the villages of An-Naqura and Deir Sharaf. The fence also cuts off 460 dunams of Palestinian land, half of which is cultivated, from the Palestinian communities. The army has also issued orders preventing the Palestinians from building on this land. The state explained to the court that after the dismantling of four Israeli settlements north of Shavei Shomron, it has become the northernmost Israeli settlement along the route of Highway 60. It has therefore become more isolated and there is no longer any permanent IDF presence north of it. Furthermore, there have been several terrorist attacks, including a car bomb that was smuggled into Shavei Shomron, a number of terrorist infiltrations and ambushes of vehicles on their way to the settlement. The northern and western sections of the security fence are located 400 meters from the outer houses, the southern section is 200 meters away and on the east, the fence runs close to the outermost buildings.