A day after HaMoked’s petition to the HCJ, the military removed the concrete barricade that prevented Qaffin farmers from transporting their olive yield out of the Seam Zone
On October 6, 2019, HaMoked sent an urgent letter to the military to demand the removal of a barricade of concrete blocks placed at Qaffin gate – which is usually listed as the only gate, with no alternative, on the permits of Qaffin farmers whose lands are trapped inside the Seam Zone. HaMoked noted that the roadblock was preventing farmers from passing through with tractors and wagons with horses, and was significantly hampering their agricultural work, especially at that time, the start of the olive harvest.
In its response of October 7, 2019, the military claimed that the roadblock was necessary for security reasons to prevent “illegal entry into Israel”. The military offered “to allow passage of tractors and wagons with horses via gate 387, which lies 2.5 km. away from Qaffin gate, and this subject to coordination with the DCO [District Coordination Office]”. HaMoked replied that this alternative was unacceptable
, because the requirement to coordinate each entry with the DCO meant in practice that farmers would have to wait for hours near the gate in the hope that their request to cross there would be approved.
The military still refused to remove the roadblock. Meanwhile, farmers represented by HaMoked reported that the military had not referred them to any other gate and that they did not know gate 387. Ultimately HaMoked was informed that the gate in question was called Akkabah – which is not only considerably distant from both Qaffin village and its trapped farmlands, but also has no road connecting it to the Qaffin farmlands. This would force the farmers to reach their lands via privately owned farmlands, crushing crops on the way.
HaMoked had no choice but to petition the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to have the roadblock removed. In the petition, HaMoked argued, among other things, that the roadblock exacerbated the severe harm to the Qaffin farmers, denied free and direct access to their farmlands since the building of the Separation Barrier.
On the following day, HaMoked was informed that the roadblock had been removed. In a letter of November 13, 2019, the State Attorney’s Office confirmed the removal of the roadblock and stressed that this “had nothing to do with the filing of the petition”.
The petition was deleted at HaMoked’s request.