HaMoked to the HCJ: the military must reopen the road connecting Nablus and Jenin for Palestinian travel; turning the traffic to byroads leads to excessive traffic jams and car accidents המוקד להגנת הפרט
07.03.2022
HaMoked to the HCJ: the military must reopen the road connecting Nablus and Jenin for Palestinian travel; turning the traffic to byroads leads to excessive traffic jams and car accidents
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On March 6, 2022, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of the head of the Sabastiya local council, to demand that the military allow Palestinian vehicles to drive through the Shavei Shomron checkpoint. The checkpoint is on route 60, the main road connecting two major West Bank cities, Nablus and Jenin. Until recently the road was used by both Palestinians and Israelis, but on December 12, 2021, some two weeks after a fatal shooting attack near the Homesh settlement, soldiers staffing the checkpoint started refusing to allow Palestinian vehicles to travel north on the road, diverting them to side roads, through the nearby Palestinian communities of Sabastiya, Zawata and Asira ash Shamaliya.

The sudden and significant increase in the volume of traffic on these side roads, especially of heavy vehicles, causes substantial damage to local infrastructure, including potholes on the roads and damage to water pipes. This also significantly increases driving time, with a journey that would have taken 15 minutes on the main road now taking an hour or more on the smaller roads, with traffic jams clogging the narrow routes. Car accidents have also increased, due to the incompatibility between the traffic volume and road infrastructure. 

The petition was filed after the military failed to send a response to HaMoked’s urgent letter on the matter, sent February 7, 2022. In the petition, HaMoked argued that the prevention of passage constituted a severe violation of the protected population’s right to freedom of movement. HaMoked also argued that preventing Palestinian traffic from traveling this section of the road was outside the military’s authority, as the military is obligated to do the utmost to avoid violating the protected population’s right to human dignity. This right was also harmed by the fact that only Palestinians were barred from passage, whereas Israelis could continue using this road freely. HaMoked mentioned in this context that the court ruled in HCJ 2150/07 that banning Palestinians from using a road in the oPt and turning it into a “’service road’  of the occupying country” was a breach of the military commander’s authority in international law.   

HaMoked also filed a petition to the Court to lift the roadblock on the only access road of the isolated Al Mas'udiya neighborhood, placed by the military following the Homesh attack.

* The military removed the checkpoint in the second half of March. The petition was therefore deleted with the parties' consent.

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