HaMoked to the Civil Administration: the Standing Orders applied to the “seam zone” must be reviewed and revised according to the need of the Palestinian population
Ever since 2003, the Israeli military has been implementing a permit regime
in the areas of the West Bank trapped between the separation wall and the Green Line, area it dubs the “seam zone”. Every Palestinian who lives in or wishes to enter these areas must first obtain a military-issued permit for that purpose. The permit regime applies to Palestinians only – Israelis and tourists do not require any permit to enter or stay in the “seam zone” areas. It is a creeping dispossession of West Bank lands that contradicts both Israeli and international law.
The “Standing Orders for the Seam Zone", the military legislation regulating the permit regime, are updated from time to time. On January 4, 2017, ahead of the publication of a new version of the Standing Orders, HaMoked wrote
to the military’s Civil Administration to reiterate that “the permit regime should be abolished. However, once the judgment has been issued in the petitions [against] the permit regime, it is appropriate that the administration entities comply with their undertakings and the instructions of the judgment”.
On March 9, 2017, the military published the fifth edition of the Standing Orders
for the “seam zone”, which clearly continues the trend of restricting the Palestinian residents’ rights to freely move and work in these areas and to cultivate their agricultural lands there.
Therefore, on June 13, 2017, HaMoked contacted
the Civil Administration, asserting that contrary to the HCJ’s ruling
recognizing the Palestinian residents’ right to cultivate their lands with their families and laborers, the military systematically sought to deny this basic right, restricted as it was. HaMoked stressed that the military established an intricate bureaucratic mechanism, purportedly meant to regulate access to the lands while in practice hampering the Palestinian population’s ability to realize their rights, preventing access to the lands. HaMoked also maintained that the military was regularly dragging its feet in processing application for permits, agricultural and otherwise: “Instead of regulating the continuity of the Palestinian residents’ proprietorial link to their land trapped beyond the separation wall, while respecting the tradition of familial-collective cultivation of the lands, the Civil Administration causes irreparable harm to the customs and fabric of life existing in the area for generations”. Therefore, HaMoked demanded that the Civil Administration review the regulations of the Standing Orders, and revise them according to the needs of the Palestinian population.