Center for the Defence of the Individual - HaMoked to the High Court of Justice: Lift the recent restrictions on access of Palestinians with valid entry permits for work or residence in the West Bank enclaves beyond the Separation Barrier
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם
02.11.2023

HaMoked to the High Court of Justice: Lift the recent restrictions on access of Palestinians with valid entry permits for work or residence in the West Bank enclaves beyond the Separation Barrier

On November 2, 2023, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice to lift or mitigate the sweeping restrictions imposed following the outbreak of the October 7th war on the passage of Palestinians into areas of the West Bank beyond the Separation Barrier. The petition focuses on those who live in these enclaves (“permanent residents of the Seam Zone”) and on business owners and employees whose work place is located there.

The Palestinians concerned are West Bank residents who hold military permits allowing them to reside or work inside the “Seam Zone”, i.e. West Bank areas trapped between the Separation Barrier and the Green Line border, in which Israel has been implementing a harsh permit regime for over a decade, with the HCJ’s approval. 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 reach these parts of the West Bank to obtain a permit in advance, subject to the military’s draconian bureaucracy.

Since the war broke out, following the vicious Hamas attacks on communities in southern Israel, the military has sweepingly denied entry into the Seam Zone of all business owners and employees operating there, severely damaging their ability to earn a living. Additionally, people residing in the Seam Zone are no can no longer travel freely between their homes and the rest of the West Bank, greatly harming their wellbeing and making it difficult to access vital services such as medical treatments. The military is also denying access to farmers whose lands are trapped beyond the Barrier and HaMoked is about to file a similar petition on their behalf.    

The current petition details the difficulties encountered by the individual petitioners on whose behalf HaMoked petitioned the Court, and elaborates on the disproportionate harm to their rights to freedom of movement, freedom of property and freedom of employment. HaMoked clarified that the current movement restrictions amount to de facto collective punishment.

* The petition was considered jointly with the other petition filed by HaMoked against the limitations on entry into the Seam Zone imposed following the outbreak of the war. In its response of November 29, 2023, the State claimed that “the Military Commander does the utmost possible to allow the fabric of life in the Seam Zone [to continue]. Thus, the fabric-of-life gates continue to operate with considerable allocation of resources and despite the risk to the forces operating in the Zone. Thus also with regards to agriculture in the Seam Zone, the Military Commander is acting these days to enable to the extent possible the entry of farmers for the [olive] harvest in the Seam Zone”. Therefore, the State claimed, the petitions should be dismissed given the absence of grounds for intervention and “the change in the factual infrastructure” concerning the entry of farmers.  

In the hearing, HaMoked said the petition was as pertinent as before, and stressed that according to reports from the individual petitioners and others in their situation, only a small minority of farmers had been allowed to enter the Seam Zone, and only for just a few days.

In the judgment issued December 13, 2023, the Court accepted the State’s position and rejected the petitions, while the situation on the ground remains largely the same as described in the petition.

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