Center for the Defence of the Individual - Following HaMoked petition and a six-month delay: the military enabled farmers from Kufr Thulth to briefly access and plow their lands trapped beyond the Separation Wall
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Following HaMoked petition and a six-month delay: the military enabled farmers from Kufr Thulth to briefly access and plow their lands trapped beyond the Separation Wall

On June 12, 2022, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of the mayor of Kufr Thulth in the West Bank and two others from the town to compel the military to remove a barbed wire fence replacing the Ras at Tira gate in the Separation Wall as well as a concrete roadblock placed in front of it, both of which prevented farmers from reaching their lands beyond the Wall, in the Seam Zone. HaMoked also demanded that after the removal of the roadblock and barbed wire fence, new dates would be set for opening the gate, to enable the farmers – whose permits limit their crossing to this gate only – to reach their lands and cultivate them.

The gate in question is a seasonal gate that is opened for a few days every year, during the plowing and olive harvest seasons. In February 2022, the military placed a concrete roadblock before the gate, preventing farmers with Seam Zone permits for this gate from reaching their lands with tractors, horses and donkeys with wagons and farming equipment such as plows and pesticide. As a result, local farmers could not perform the vital farm work for the season, including the clearing of thorns to limit wildfires during the summer. In late May, and despite HaMoked’s appeals, the military also installed barbed wire at the gate, preventing also access on foot. HaMoked petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice following the military’s June 8, 2022 response that “it has been decided not to remove the roadblocks, this following many thefts exiting and entering that way [Sic]”.  

In the petition, HaMoked argued that the HCJ had ruled that Israel must limit to the utmost possible the damage caused to Palestinian landowners as a result of the construction of the Separation Wall and the establishment of a permit regime in the West Bank “Seam Zone” areas. The blocking of the gate was in complete contradiction to the case law regarding the preservation of the fabric of life and accessibility of farmlands in the Seam Zone. HaMoked added that this was an excessive and harsh infringement of the farmers’ rights to property, freedom of employment and freedom of movement, and amounted to collective punishment of protected persons – given the military’s claim that the gate had been blocked due to the prevalence of thefts.

In its preliminary response of June 20, 2022, the State Attorney’s Office argued that the petition should be dismissed as the gate’s blocking constituted “an isolated ban no longer in force”, and that there was no change to the military’s policy regarding the gate’s opening and that preparations were underway to open the gate in the near future. As to the military’s June response to HaMoked, the State claimed that “the response that was given had been sent by an unauthorized entity”. After HaMoked clarified to the State’s Attorney’s Office that it would not agree to having the petition deleted until definite dates for opening the gate were published, the State announced that the gate would be opened on August 9-11, 2022, and that “the need to open the gate on additional days will be considered at that time”. Later on, the times for the gate opening were also made public.

In the judgment of August 11, 2022, the petition was deleted at HaMoked’s request and the State was ordered to pay HaMoked’s costs to the sum of NIS 2,500 as “… the filing of the petition brought about the clarification of the Respondent’s policy…”.

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