High Court to rule on Maccabim fence

The High Court of Justice is due Monday to hand down its ruling on the Defense Ministry's proposal for the route of the security fence in the area separating Maccabim-Reut from the Palestinian village of Beit Sira. The current route is the third proposal suggested by the army since it began to work on the central section of the fence between Elkana and the western boundary of Jerusalem. Residents of Beit Sira argued that the fence still separated village farmers from dozens of dunams of agricultural land on the "Israeli" side of the fence. The residents of Maccabim-Reut maintained that the fence was too close to their homes and put them in danger of terrorist attacks. The original route placed thousands of dunams of Beit Sira's agricultural land on the "Israeli" side of the fence, and was rejected by the High Court of Justice in its landmark ruling on what is known as the Beit Surik petition. That petition covered a 40-kilometer-long segment of the fence and rejected three-quarters of it, including the section around Beit Sira. The court ruled that the government had failed to establish a proper balance between Israel's security needs and the well-being of the Palestinians. The Defense Ministry then proposed a second route, which moved the fence away from the periphery of Beit Sira but still separated the farmers from much of their land. The fence was meant to allow construction of a road linking Modi'in with the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. The new route of the fence rules out the possibility of building the road.