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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Israeli High Court:
Welfare of Palestinian villages trumps Jewish lives and security

DEBKAfile Special Report
Three Israeli high court judges led by chief justice Aharon Barak handed down a landmark ruling Wednesday, June 30, which said explicitly that the welfare of ten West Bank Palestinian villages is more important than the security of Israeli citizens. The court accepted a Palestinian petition claiming the defense barrier separated villagers from their land, schools and jobs, and ordered the Israeli defense ministry to reroute 30 kilometers out of 40 kilometers of the fence designed to keep Palestinian suicide killers out of the capital. This stretch runs northwest of Jerusalem from Givat Zeev to Nataf. The IDF proposal to cut four gates in the fence was not accepted.

The court affirmed in principle that the barrier’s purpose was to save lives rather than a political land grab and was not therefore illegal. No demands were made of the Palestinians with regard to renouncing support for terror. The director of the defense ministry barrier project said the court had handed down “a very bad judgment for Israel and made a mockery of the victims of the Palestinian Authority and terrorist organizations”. . . .

The route must now be shifted even though it forces a six-month delay on the Jerusalem fence project and leaves the city wide open to Palestinian suicide attacks. . . .

For Wednesday’s high court decision offers a precedent for some 20 Palestinian petitions pending against additional sections of the 425-kilometer barrier – Ariel in the north, Modi’in in the center and Gush Etzion in the south, as well two sections of the Jerusalem perimeter fence at A-Ram north of city and Wallajeh to the south.

Because of these and other delays, including violent protests, only one-quarter of the project has been completed. Even that small section has proved its deterrent worth in the last six months. Its existence, together with round-the-clock preventive missions by Israeli troops, has reduced Palestinian suicide attacks against central Israel by seventy-five percent.

Continue . . .

The better news is that an ISMer was denied entry to Israel and ordered expelled; she is fighting the deportation order.

Let's hope it doesn't go to the High Court :)