JPost Court asks IDF to explain barrier route decision
JPost Fri, May 3, 2013
The Jerusalem Post
Court asks IDF to explain barrier route decision
High Court orders state to explain why it didn't nullify or change security barrier route through Nahal Refaim in West Bank.
The High Court of Justice on Thursday asked the IDF to defend its decision to route the security barrier through the West Bank's Nahal Refaim valley and issued an injunction against further work on the barrier.
It ordered the state to explain why it had not nullified or changed the barrier's route and to explain why the barrier could not be reconfigured. It gave the IDF through the state, until July 2nd to respond.
“This is a precedent case. The heritage issues managed to divide authorities within the same government and the injunction granted by the High Court forces the military to reconsider their presumption that security concerns tramp all other issues,” said Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME).
FoEME along with the Nature and Parks Authority as well as the Palestinian village of Battir, which is located in the valley, had petitioned the court against the barrier.
FoEME had told the court that placing the barrier in the valley would destroy an ancient agricultural system that includes terraces, pools and small canals.
The IDF, in turn, had suggested that it could place a fence in the valley, rather than a concrete wall.
But FoEME had argued that the fence would similarly harm the site integrity and its ancient farming system.
The Palestinian Authority has placed the site on its tentative list of places that it wants to register on United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO’s) World Heritage List.
The IDF has said that the barrier is needed to complete the security ring around Jerusalem to prevent suicide bombing attacks. It is also concerned about the safety of a nineteenth-century rail line that goes through the valley and is still operational.
In its court response, FoEME said it believed that the line would be stopped within the next five years, because of the nation’s new rail system.