The application under the Contempt of Court Ordinance was filed by HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual on 28 September 2008, over two years after the High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled that the route of the wall in the area of the villages of ‘Azzun and An Nabi Elyas was unlawful and therefore null and void. The court ruled that the route of the wall in that area clearly did not serve any security purpose and was effectively meant to allow the future expansion of the nearby settlement of Zufin.
The petition which preceded the judgment, also filed by HaMoked, stated, inter alia, that the route of the wall in that particular area expropriates hundreds of dunams of agricultural lands belonging to residents of the nearby villages, causes severe harm to their livelihood, does not meet the test of proportionality and must therefore be revoked. The state itself admitted to the court that the route was not planned for security purposes and that the reason that it was not adjacent to the settlement of Zufin was that the annexed territory was earmarked for future expansion of the settlement.
Despite the judgment which explicitly determined that the unlawful route of the wall in this area must be dismantled in as short a time as possible, the state delayed further and further. HaMoked was forced to file an application under the Contempt of Court Ordinance and only then did the state begin to dismantle the unlawful route of the wall. As if this were not enough, the state added insult to injury when it notified the court that since the unlawful route had been dismantled and a new route was erected instead, its position was that the application need not be reviewed as it had become moot.
In a sharp decision dated 5 October 2009, the court indeed found that there was no longer any need to review the application, but harshly criticized the state stressing that in delaying implementation of the judgment – which firmly determined that the unlawful route must be dismantled – for over three years, the state took the law into its own hands. Therefore, the court ruled, it was impossible to accept the state’s conduct which views the judgment as no more than a recommendation. Consequently, the court ordered the state to pay for the petitioners’ expenses in filing the application to the sum of NIS 20,000.