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Last update - 23:23 07/06/2007
State told to explain Palestinian travel ban on West Bank road
By Yuval Yoaz and Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondents

The High Court of Justice on Thursday ordered the state to explain why Palestinians cannot travel on the section of Route 443 that runs through the West Bank as it connects Jerusalem to Modi'in.

The court also demanded that the state explain why it has not removed roadblocks that prevent access to the road from Palestinian villages.

From September 2000, the Israel Defense Forces has prohibited the travel of Palestinians on the road, by foot or by car, despite the fact that a official or legal order never existed.


In March of this year, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petitioned to the High Court of Justice, in the name of the Palestinian residents who live along side the road.

The part of the road in question is completely inside the West Bank between Maccabim and Atarot roadblocks and is the only main road in the area.

The fact that the road was blocked off without a legal order was first uncovered by Haaretz. The Defense Ministry said that the road is open to Palestinians who pass the inspection at the roadblock.

But Haaretz found that most of the roads are usually closed, and from time to time a limited number of cars receive special permission to use the road.

Some of the approach roads have been blocked with boulders, others with concrete barriers, and there are those that have been closed with iron gates. A Palestinian driver who is caught on the road can expect a lengthy delay, a warning and a scare, and sometimes even the confiscation of the keys to the vehicle and also harsher sanctions.

A year ago, ACRI applied to the GOC Central Command, Yair Naveh, on behalf of the heads of the village councils of Beit Sira, Beit Likiyeh, Hirbet al-Masbah, Beit 'Ur al Tahta, Beit 'Ur al Fuqa and Tsaffeh. Yehuda noted that Highway 443 is the main approach road that links the 25,000 inhabitants of the six villages to the main city in the area, Ramallah, and serves as a link among these villages.

A month later people from the Civil Administration came to the village of Beit Sira and proposed to the council head, Ali Abu Tsafya that transit permits be granted to a number of taxi owners from the village. He insisted that the highway be opened to all of the inhabitants of the village, as had been the case in the past. The visitors promised to organize a meeting with one of the responsible senior officers. Since then no one has called and Major General Naveh has not replied to the letter.

Yehuda wrote that following the blockage of the approach to the highway, the inhabitants have had to use back roads, some of them dirt roads that pass through the villages and wind through the narrow lanes. As a result of this, trips in the area have become prolonged, dangerous and costly. Instead of a trip of a quarter of an hour in comfortable conditions on Highway 443 from the village of Beit Sira to Betunya and from there to Ramallah, the inhabitants have to wind their way along dirt roads that become impassable on winter days. The cost of the trip has more than doubled and many of the inhabitants of the villages are unable to bear the costs.

This is not a matter of preventing Palestinians from entering territories on the Israeli side of the Green Line (the pre-Six Day War border), but rather of a road that is located entirely in the area of the West Bank. At the two entrances to the territory of the state of Israel there are roadblocks that are permanently manned by soldiers (the Maccabim roadblock and the Atarot Junction roadblock).

When lands of the six villages were confiscated in the 1980s and the 1990s, it was explained to the inhabitants that widening the road was essential for the needs of the inhabitants of the entire area.

In response to the petition to the High Court of Justice concerning the confiscation of lands for purposes of paving a road in the Ramallah area, the state argued that the planning "took into account the conditions and needs of the area and not only Israel's conditions and needs." Based on that principled commitment, Justice Aharon Barak rejected the petition in September 1983, and issued a ruling in principle that the rules of international public law grant the right to a military government to infringe on property rights if a number of conditions are fulfilled. The first of these conditions: "The step is taken for the benefit of the local population."

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  1.   What a pity! Now I`ll have to drive to Jerusalem via Shaar ha-Gay 13:25  |  Shlomo from Tel-Aviv 07/06/07
  2.   Let Them Explain Why Jews Are Banned From Certain Roads 13:32  |  Yishai Kohen 07/06/07
  3.   Remove all the road blocks est of the Green Line 13:50  |  David 07/06/07
  4.   The High Court is dumb... 13:50  |  Steven 07/06/07
  5.   The anti-Israel leftwing non-religious court 13:55  |  Avi 07/06/07
  6.   Freedom of movement vs. Right to life 14:05  |  Cyril Stein 07/06/07
  7.   This is why 14:14  |  Meir Stelkratz 07/06/07
  8.   Israel: The Apartheid State 14:21  |  Paulo 07/06/07
  9.   The IHCJ asks the STATE why the road is closed??? 14:44  |  Johnboy 07/06/07
  10.   Israel: The Civilized State 14:49  |  Michelle 07/06/07
  11.   Paulo: Very weak argument 14:55  |  Dani 07/06/07
  12.   Israel is apartheid state as you are phd by the begining of 2007 15:00  |  mb 07/06/07
  13.   #3 is right! 15:01  |  Gili 07/06/07
  14.   to phd paulo and his apartheid state: Portugal 15:06  |  mb 07/06/07
  15.   it is what it is 15:18  |  rose 07/06/07
  16.   Arbitrary bans on West Bank roads. 15:27  |  Esther 07/06/07
  17.   #4 - This is why too 15:32  |  David 07/06/07
  18.   Arrogance 15:34  |  Neil 07/06/07
  19.   Not a word on shooting attacks on jewish travlers . 15:37  |  Nathan 07/06/07
  20.   For Stelkratz #4 15:37  |  Esther 07/06/07
  21.   Using democracy to protect terrorism 15:44  |  Shiloh 07/06/07
  22.   Man, some of you talkback people are clueless 15:47  |  Johnboy 07/06/07
  23.   Look where the money goes 15:59  |  Meiki 07/06/07
  24.   To Paulo (Portugal) and David (UK)... 16:15  |  Simcha 07/06/07
  25.   Johnboy, the criminality, the terror commited 16:50  |  TOMY 07/06/07
  26.   #24 I`ll spell it out to you too Simcha 16:56  |  Johnboy 07/06/07
  27.   Johnboy, and other promoters of open roads,no 17:01  |  TOMY 07/06/07
  28.   Occupation is the mother of all Hardships. 17:26  |  Abu Ali 07/06/07
  29.   #24, you want safety, live in Israel proper 17:27  |  A Bethlehemite 07/06/07
  30.   #4: and you, my friend are a racist biggot 18:01  |  neutral-man 07/06/07
  31.   #6: DO YOU WANT TO SAVE LIVES? 18:04  |  neutral-man 07/06/07
  32.   #29: that was good, man... 18:08  |  neutral-man 07/06/07
  33.   Paulo # 8 18:41  |  ChanahS 07/06/07
  34.   IGNORANCE IS BLISS 18:53  |  JACEK 07/06/07
  35.   Johnboy #22 19:10  |  Gee 07/06/07
  36.   #24 Johnboy, your logic would work if lives 19:20  |  TOMY 07/06/07
  37.   Democracy = Free Speech 19:26  |  ASky 07/06/07
  38.   Annex west bank or quit using their territory 20:03  |  jack 07/06/07
  39.   right to life 20:06  |  jack 07/06/07
  40.   Checkpoints are a magnet for attack, and should be avoided. 20:25  |  jack 07/06/07
  41.   #35 the new road is built over an old road which existed 20:29  |  Jack 07/06/07
  42.   Reply to Jack 21:11  |  Dave 07/06/07
  43.   For Johnboy # 22 21:12  |  Clickfool 07/06/07
  44.   Abu Ali # 28 23:01  |  ChanahS 07/06/07
  45.   # 29 Bethlemite 23:03  |  ChanahS 07/06/07
  46.   re: Dani #11 23:14  |  Paulo 07/06/07
  47.   re: Mb 23:21  |  Paulo 07/06/07
  48.   re: Simcha 23:27  |  Paulo 07/06/07
  49.   re: Channah 23:31  |  Paulo 07/06/07
  50.   Jack #41 23:37  |  Gee 07/06/07
  51.   Safety 00:00  |  Murray 08/06/07
  52.   Gee, are we talking about the same road? 00:07  |  Murray 08/06/07
  53.   Abu Ali #28 - Occupation mother of all hardships... 00:56  |  William 08/06/07
  54.   Bethlemite #29 01:01  |  William 08/06/07
  55.   Road 443 was not closed since 2000, just recently 01:05  |  William 08/06/07
  56.   make a deal with the Pals, open the road 01:09  |  William 08/06/07
  57.   Johnboy #26 - so let me get this straight 01:16  |  William 08/06/07
  58.   #35 Gee, Gee, you are clueless 01:23  |  Johnboy 08/06/07
  59.   to 44 - Portugal is Now judenfrein, thanks to portugueses... 02:00  |  mb 08/06/07
  60.   46 - fphd paulo 02:06  |  mb 08/06/07
  61.   to 44 - from post today - Israel and jerusalem, eternal jewish. 02:34  |  mb 08/06/07
  62.   #57 No William, you haven`t got this straight 07:10  |  Johnboy 08/06/07
  63.   #36 TOMY, I see the point flies over your head too 07:28  |  Johnboy 08/06/07
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