Center for the Defence of the Individual - Denied a Seam Zone permit for activity in an organization that was never prohibited. HaMoked appeals to the Supreme Court against erroneous and unreasonable judgement of the District Court
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Denied a Seam Zone permit for activity in an organization that was never prohibited. HaMoked appeals to the Supreme Court against erroneous and unreasonable judgement of the District Court

Over a decade ago, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) approved the military permit regime enforced in the West Bank areas that are trapped between the Separation Wall and the Green Line – areas Israel calls the Seam Zone. This regime applies only to the Palestinian population of the oPt, bars most of them from entering the Seam Zone, and compels those who seek to go there to obtain a permit in advance, subject to the military’s draconian bureaucracy. In the judgment of 2011, the Court recorded the State’s undertaking “to enable, to the maximum extent possible, easy entry of the inhabitants to the seam zone areas”, particularly farmers whose lands are trapped there, in the absence of any individual security preclusion. However, time and again it turns out that the arrangements and their implementation on the ground prevent farmers from having reasonable access to their plots in the Seam Zone. In the following case, it appears the military makes unjustified use of the security preclusion exception to deny the basic rights of a farmer seeking entry to his family’s trapped land.

HaMoked represents a man who was denied the military permit necessary to enter the Seam Zone in order cultivate his father’s plot. HaMoked petitioned the District Court (sitting as the Court for Administrative Affairs) against this denial. The military claimed that the man was active in Hizb ut-Tahrir – a claim the man does not dispute; the man is a volunteer preacher on social and religious issues with the group, which is not classified by Israel as a prohibited association. During the court proceedings, the State also claimed that the man had expressed “extremist” opinions – again without ascribing to him any concrete activity which could pose a threat to security, such as incitement or support for any violence. However, despite the insubstantial nature of the State’s claims, the Court dismissed the petition on May 10, 2023, ruling that “both statements and organizational membership, even in organizations that have not been declared illegal, could be indicative of a safety [sic] threat”. It should be noted that during the hearing, classified material was presented ex parte, after which, in response to HaMoked’s question, the Court stated that the material it had reviewed did not contain any additional allegations regarding the petitioner. Moreover, the Court noted in the judgment: “It has been stressed that no concrete activities relating to terrorism are attributed to the petitioner, other than his abovementioned statements, which are also undisputed”.   

On May 24, 2023, HaMoked filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against this judgment, which HaMoked argued should be reversed for being erroneous, as it is not based on reasonableness standard established in the case law, and does not address the severe harm to the appellant’s rights to property, freedom of employment, and freedom of movement inside one’s country. Additionally, wrote HaMoked, the Court failed to strike a balance between the strength of these rights and the degree of the alleged security threat and its credibility. The judgment does not even discuss the particulars of the case in hand and merely reaches the above quoted sweeping and far-reaching conclusion, according to which, wrote HaMoked, “it suffices that a person expresses [his opinions] and belongs to an organization – any organization – to justify the refusal of their request to a Seam Zone entry permit, without need for any information indicating concrete [prohibited] security activity in order to do so”.

A hearing is scheduled for November 13, 2023.

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