The agreement establishing Israel’s new government states that from July 1, Prime Minister Netanyahu can bring for Knesset approval his plan to annex parts of the West Bank. The implications of any annexation for Palestinian human rights – including their collective right to self-determination – will inevitably be severe.
It is precisely at this moment that HaMoked chose to tackle a seemingly forgotten issue, which has already gravely harmed the territorial cohesion of the West Bank. Last week, HaMoked submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice demanding that Israel dismantle a 6-kilometer segment of the Separation Barrier which dispossesses hundreds of Palestinian farmers from their lands.
This is the first petition in over a decade to challenge the route of the Barrier, submitted on behalf of farmers from three villages in the northern West Bank – communities that are almost completely cut off from their farmlands by the Barrier. The petition details the Israeli military’s abject failure to fulfill its commitment to ensure Palestinians can access their lands behind the Barrier, with devastating economic implications for hundreds of families.
The Barrier has fallen off the international radar, even though its harmful effects are still very much felt on the ground. Each year, HaMoked helps hundreds of Palestinians who need permits to enter the lands behind the Barrier: farmers, businesspeople, and even people who live in these enclaves and require a permit to stay in their own homes. Through this work, we have identified a clear and deliberate effort by the military to steadily reduce the number of Palestinians who are able to access these areas.
The permit regime Israel applies to the lands it trapped behind the Separation Barrier provides a glimpse into potential future arrangements for other parts of the West Bank, should Israel proceed with its annexation plans. HaMoked will fight any attempts to annex parts of the West Bank, and will continue to combat the violations of Palestinians’ rights that are already taking place.
As always, wishing you safety and health,
Executive Director of HaMoked