Settler petitions High Court against restriction order

A resident of the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar has petitioned the High Court of Justice against an administrative order issued by the West Bank military commander prohibiting him from living at home and ordering him to move to Ma'aleh Adumim or Israel proper. This is the third such petition filed by a Jewish resident of the West Bank or a settlement supporter inside Israel against orders restricting their movements because of undisclosed intelligence information regarding alleged illegal behavior. The authorities have issued about 20 such orders over the past few months. The petition was filed on Monday by Eran Schwartz, who is represented by attorney Yitzhak Bam and the Forum for the Land of Israel. Schwartz works for Honenu, an organization providing legal assistance to settlers and right-wing activists since last year's mass demonstrations against the disengagement from Gaza. In the petition, Schwartz argued that he should not be subject to military law as promulgated by the military commander in the West Bank but by Israeli law, specifically the 1979 Emergency Defense Prerogatives Law (Arrests). He maintained that since the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom applied to Jewish settlers in the territories, he was entitled to the greatest possible protection of his human rights. The Israeli law provides greater procedural protection for anyone whose movements are being restricted than does the military order issued by the commander, he argued. In accordance with military procedure, Schwartz objected to the army's declared intention to restrict his movements and demanded to question the intelligence officer who provided the information against him. The army rejected his demand and issued the order. He then appealed to a military court of appeals. It turned down the appeal and included a two-line statement summarizing the suspicions against him. "It is known that you took part in illegal and violent action against residents of the area and their property," the army wrote. "Furthermore, you are involved in illegal activity which poses a threat to the security of the area and the security forces."