HaMoked to the military: stop banning farmers with Seam Zone entry permits from reaching their private lands beyond the Separation Barrier; protecting the health of the West Bank population must be done according to the law and using appropriate measures
On March 18, 2020, HaMoked wrote to the military to protest the fact that farmers were being denied entry into the Seam Zone on the pretext of the corona crisis. In its letter, HaMoked said it had received complaints from farmers who have Seam Zone entry permits, whom the military prevented from reaching their lands trapped beyond the illegally constructed Separation barrier inside the West Bank. The farmers reported that when they reached the gates allocated for their passage into the Seam Zone, the soldiers stationed there told them their entry was prohibited due to the corona-related closure imposed on the West Bank and the fact that they were over the age of 50. The soldiers ignored the farmers’ assertions that they wanted to reach their private property inside the West Bank and had no intention to enter Israel.
Thus happened at the Atil and Qaffin gates. In one instance, soldiers refused the entry of a farmer with a permit even after he told them he was only 29 years old.
HaMoked added that according to various Palestinian Liaison Offices in the West Bank, the military’s conduct was different at each district or gate: as stated, at some gates, the entry of those over the age of 50 was completely banned; Magen Dan gate had been completely closed for the past two weeks “due to the closure”; the Palestinian Liaison Office in Tulkarm was told by the military that farmers over the age of 50 who hold entry permits must coordinate their entry in advance; the Qalqiliya Liaison Office was told that the military would allow farmers’ passage into and out of the Seam Zone through only 4 gates, instead of the usual 11.
HaMoked said that it had been informed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office that no guidelines had been published regarding the entry of permit holders into the Seam Zone during the corona crisis.
HaMoked reasserted that this was not a matter of banning the entry of laborers into Israel, but of banning the entry of landowners to their own private property that is inside the oPt, not Israel. Moreover, HaMoked added, the ban was most likely implemented without authority and constituted a severe violation of the basic rights of Palestinian landowners.
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