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Friday, September 19, 2014

The Supreme Court's craziness results in chaos

The unbridled interference of Israel's Supreme Court in political and military issues of which it understands nothing has led to a situation in which Israel is about to place most of the land designated for the city of Gvaot outside the 'security fence' while still angering the fence's proponents and opponents.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice at the Hague issued a non-binding advisory opinion, explaining that construction of the [security fence] over the pre-1967 lines was illegal.

Israel designed the barrier to prevent the type of suicide bombings that killed around 1000 thousand people during the second intifada. It has refused to heed the ICJ opinion, which it believes is legally flawed and the result of a biased process.

But the pace of construction has been slow and according to the United Nations, 12 years after the barrier's inception, only 62% of its 712 kilometer route has been completed.

Among the uncompleted sections is the route in the Gush Etzion region, just outside Jerusalem, including a 45 kilometer stretch that was approved in 2006.


Palestinians, settlers and environmentalists oppose the route and have appealed to the High Court of Justice. Gush Etzion Regional Council head Davidi Perl said that the planned route also places land outside the barrier which is assumed to be part of Israel’s final borders in any permanent status agreement.

This includes, he said, large portions of new project, Gevaot, where his council hopes to build a new West Bank city.

The Defense Ministry last month reclassified the property as state land, to pave the way for future building, but now the government intends to approve barrier route that excludes the bulk of that project, he said.


In hopes of blocking construction of the barrier near Battir, the Palestine Liberation Organization sought help from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, whose World Heritage Committee registered the village's ancient terraces in June to the state of Palestine. The Palestinians, the Gush Etzion Council and environmental groups have also appeal to Israel’s High Court of Justice.

On July 29th the HCJ ordered the government to review the issue by October 2nd, particularly in light of the diplomatic implications of Battir’s new status as a World Heritage site. It noted a review was also needed because in the last eight years the route has been altered for environmental and quality of life reasons.
The status as a 'World Heritage' site - clearly a political move - has absolutely no effect on Israel's security needs, which should be the sole criterion in determining the fence's route.
The defense ministry’s legal expert Ahaz Ben-Ari advised the government that it could reauthorized the route.

“The High Court of Justice’s orders to reauthorize the security barrier’s route in the area of the village of Battir in light of UNESCO’s decision, does not stem from legal issues resulting in the recognition of the Battir terraces as a World Heritage site, but rather from the diplomatic questions connected to the topic.”
And therefore the court has no place interfering. In a normal democracy, it's not up to the Supreme Court to determine the handling of diplomatic questions. Israel, however, is not a normal democracy.
“There is no legal obstacle to authorizing [the barrier’s route], especially given that in response to legal proceedings before the court the route has been changed to lessen harm to the environmental and the landscape,” Ben-Ari wrote. He added that the state has also promised to preserve the quality of life of the Palestinians living in Battir.
The environmentalists are also whining about the route, but if the IDF was allowed to plan the route properly it probably wouldn't be anywhere near this area, but rather far deeper into the Judean desert.

Read the whole thing

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