Shavei Shomron security fence upheld

High Court: Fence not part of security barrier, but surrounds the settlement.

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected a petition by the heads of three Palestinian local authorities and several individual residents against the construction of a security fence around the settlement of Shavei Shomron in north-central Samaria. The security fence is not part of the separation barrier. It surrounds the settlement, which is located on the West Bank side of the larger 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 built closer to the community's buildings would not provide the necessary defense against these dangers," the ruling continued. The decision was handed down by Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and Justices Dorit Beinisch 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 said. "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 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, or about 13.25 acres, of land to build the security fence, including 40 dunams of orchards belonging to the town of Sebastia and the villages of Nakura and Deir Sharaf. The fence also cuts off 460 dunams of Palestinian-owned land, half of which is cultivated, from the communities. The army has issued orders preventing the Palestinians from building on this land. The state told the court that since the dismantling of four Israeli settlements north of Shavei Shomron during last summer's disengagement, it is the northernmost Israeli community along Highway 60. It is therefore isolated and there is no longer a permanent IDF presence north of it, the state's representative said. Furthermore, there have been several terrorist attacks, including a car bomb which was smuggled into Shavei Shomron, and a number of terrorist infiltrations and ambushes of vehicles on their way to the community, the state said. The northern and western sections of the security fence are located 400 meters from the outermost homes, the southern section is 200 meters away and on the eastern side, the fence runs close to the outermost buildings.