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Friday, March 24, 2017
Israeli court rules part of separation wall should be moved
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¬†The Israeli Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a section of the security fence being built around the Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe in the West Bank should be modified. The court was responding to a petition by residents of five Palestinian villages who said that the security fence restricted their movement and the access of Palestinians living beyond the "Alfei Menashe enclave." The petitioners argued that the fence was illegal, caused hardship to the residents of the Palestinian villages, and should be moved to the Green Line. They cited the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice that the state lacked sufficient security-related necessity to build the fence, and that doing so creates the de facto annexation of the enclave area. The nine-justice panel decided that the current route of the fence did infringe the rights of the Palestinian residents, causing them serious damages and isolating them from the rest of the West Bank. The Court called on the Israeli military ≠ "within a reasonable period, to reconsider the various alternatives for the separation fence route at Alfei Menashe, while examining security alternatives which injure the daily lives of the residents of the Palestinian villages in the enclave to a lesser extent". In the same ruling, the High Court however asserted the security need for the fence and denied any justification to move it. It acknowledged the hardship the fence causes the Palestinian residents, but stated that a number of improvements had been made to reduce the villagers' hardship, such that the route reflects an appropriate balance of security needs and residents' rights. The court ruled that full consideration was to be given to norms of international law. But it rejected the International Court of Justice's finding that Israel's security fence was illegal because of its allegedly political nature, asserting that the ICJ had blatantly ignored the factual basis of Israel's security needs in erecting the fence. In the petition, the Palestinians cited the ruling of the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague, which in July 2004 declared the fence illegal, calling on the government of Premier Sharon to interrupt the construction. The Israeli Supreme Court president Aharon Barak ruled that the international court's decision should be given legal weight, but that since the judges at The Hague were not presented with the complete evidential basis for Israel's security needs, the international court's ruling does not bind the Israeli High Court of Justice. The wall virtually surrounds the five Palestinian villages. Nearly all the residents have lost their jobs as they can no longer get to work. Source: Israeli Embassy/MISNA
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