High Court dismisses petition by Palestinian farmers cut off from land by security barrier

The High Court of Justice dismisses a petition calling for dismantling and moving portions of the security barrier westward to avoid cutting off Palestinian farmers from their land near the edge of the West Bank.

“I did not find that there was a justification for intervening in the decision of the army commander not to dismantle [the wall],” says Justice Yitzhak Amit, writing for the majority.

Palestinians from Qaffin, Akaba, and Nezlet Issa — three towns in the northern West Bank — had petitioned the court to dismantle the barrier, arguing that the effect on their livelihoods had been drastic. Farmers have to receive military permits to enter their land through a gate in the structure, which they say often prevents them from cultivating their groves and fields at all.

Israel built the West Bank security barrier in an attempt to prevent further Palestinian terror attacks during the Second Intifada. The barrier only loosely followed the West Bank’s border, however, and became the subject of ferocious controversy both inside Israel and abroad.

The Palestinian petitioners — represented by the HaMoked rights group — argued that the permit system had become an intolerable burden and severely impacted their ability to access the land. The court ruled, however, that most of the individual grievances raised by the Palestinians had since been canceled or soon would be.

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