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Security Detainee
Administrative Detainee
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The permit regime in the seam zone: HCJ 9961/03
9961/03 | 639/04 | documents: 12  |  Updates: 5 Following the construction of the first part of the separation wall, the Military Commander of the West Bank proclaimed the areas stretching between the green line and the route of the wall to be a closed military area, designated "the seam zone". Since then, Israel has been operating a "permit regime" under which "the seam zone" is closed for the entry and exit of Palestinians, barring a few exceptions, while it continues to be open to tourists and Jews.

In November 2003, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice against the decision to build the separation wall and the accompanying permits regime. In June 2006, pursuant to the court's request, HaMoked filed an amended petition relative to permit regime Israel had instituted in the seam zone. The petition asserted, inter alia, that the policy Israel has been implementing in the seam zone discriminates against Palestinians and resembles the illegal and unacceptable regime of apartheid. This in view of the fact that while Israelis and tourists require no permits to enter and remain in the seam zone, thousands of Palestinians whose families have been living for generations in the area, require military permits for their movement between the seam zone and the rest of the West Bank. The permit regime, HaMoked asserted, rests on distinctions based on national and civil identity; as such, it stands in glaring contradiction to international humanitarian law, human rights law, and Israeli administrative law.

In January 2004, the Association for Civil Rights (ACRI) in Israel filed a similar petition, and both were consolidated for hearing.

In its response of November 2006, the state claimed, inter alia, that the permit regime was a corollary of the proclamation of the seam zone as a closed zone; that the regime provides an adequate solution for movement into and out of the seam zone; and that the closure of the seam zone, the establishment of the permit regime and the regard for "the fabric of life" on both sides of the fence, form an inseparable part of the security fence project. According to the state, the sweeping order which prohibits the entry of Palestinians into the zone without permits is nothing but "a legitimate distinction based on security reasons".

In May 2009, the state updated the court and announced it was taking additional steps to improve the "fabric of life" in the area of the seam zone. The state's notice presented the situation of the seam zone as satisfactory, in which an orderly administrative mechanism is in place, allowing any person with proven ties to the seam zone to continue his daily routine. However, ACRI's response, joined by HaMoked, revealed the opposite: as time progressed, the harm to the population worsened, fewer and fewer permits were being issued and their validity periods progressively shorter (thus, for example, in the years 2006-2009 there was 59 percent decrease in the number of farmers allowed into the seam zone to cultivate their lands), at the same time, the area of the seam zone was spreading progressively. The application of the permit regime means the subjugation of the lives of thousands of Palestinians to a military bureaucratic mechanism which stipulated what is an "affinity to the land", how many laborers may work each plot, and what constitutes a reasonable time for issuing a permit when a permit is issued and so forth.

On April 5, 2011, the High Court of Justice dismissed the petitions and kept the permit regime intact.


HCJ 9961/03, 639/04 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual et al. v. The Government of Israel et al. Judgment
Judgment / Supreme Court  |  9961/03  |  5.4.2011
Rejection of HaMoked's petition against the permit regime Israel has applied to "the Seam Zone". The judges rule that - subject to a number of changes - the decisions to close the Seam Zone and apply the permit regime to it, are legal. The judgment was made despite the Court's statement that "it is difficult not to agree that the closure of the Seam Zone, as well as the very erection of the sec...
HCJ 9961/03, 639/04 Response on behalf of HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, the Petitioner in HCJ 9961/03, to the Updating Notices on behalf of the State
Response to Petition  |  9961/03  |  1.11.2009
HaMoked’s response to the update submitted by the state in the petitions filed by HaMoked and ACRI against the permit regime Israel implemented in the “seam zone”. In its response, HaMoked states that this regime, which discriminates on the basis of nationality between tourists and Israelis who are free to move in the zone and Palestinians who depend on various permits to enter and exit it, con...
Response of the Association for Civil Rights, petitioner in HCJ 639/04 to the updating notices on behalf of the state
Response to Petition  |  639/04  |  15.10.2009
ACRI’s response to the state’s updates in the petitions filed by HaMoked and ACRI against Israel’s permit regime in the “seam zone”. ACRI contradicts the state’s claims that the permit regime is not intended to create discrimination between tourists and Israelis who are free to move in the zone and Palestinians and that it continuously works toward improving the lives of the protected residents...
HCJ 9961/03, 639/04, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. Government of Israel et al. Supplementary Updating Notice on behalf of the State
Statement  |  9961/03  |  30.7.2009
State’s Supplementary Updating Notice in the petitions filed by HaMoked and ACRI against the permit regime Israel imposes in the “seam zone”. The Notice presents figures regarding applications for various permits to enter the seam zone during 2007-2009. The Notice includes the military’s standing orders which enshrine the rules regarding living, entering and remaining in the seam zone, includi...
HCJ 9961/03, 639/04 The Association for Civil Rights in Israel et al. v. Commander of IDF Forces in the Judea and Samaria Area - Response on behalf of the State
Response to Petition  |  9961/03  |  13.11.2006
In its response to the petitions of HaMoked and ACRI on the illegality of the separation wall's permit regime, the state expands on the permit regime and provides data on the scope of land expropriations for the wall's construction; the number of residents affected; the number of permits issued for entry to the "seam zone" and its gates and passages. On the legal aspect, the state claims the "s...
HCJ 9961/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The Government of Israel et al. Amended Petition for Order Nisi
Petition to HCJ  |  9961/03  |  6.4.2006
Amended petition filed by HaMoked against Israel’s permit regime in the “seam zone”. The regime is a legal apartheid in effectively creating two kinds of inhabitants in the area: Israelis and tourist who do not come under the declaration on the closure of the “seam zone” and are free to move into, out of and inside it; and others – namely Palestinians – who do come under the declaration and req...
HCJ 9961/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The Government of Israel et al. Supplemental Response on behalf of the Respondents
Response to Petition  |  9961/03  |  10.8.2004
The respondents contend that the rules set in HCJ 2056/04 will lead to more than a few changes in the route of the separation fence; and insofar as the petition relates to a route that was approved by the government prior to HCJ 2056/04, it is, in its opinion, premature, and should be summarily dismissed. The respondents also repeat their contention that the petition is general, and should not...
HCJ 639/04 - The Association for Civil Rights in Israel v. Commander of the IDF forces in Judea and Samaria et al. Petition for Order Nisi
Petition to HCJ  |  639/04  |  21.1.2004
Petition of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel against the body of the military orders and directives that made the area between the separation fence and Israel’s border a “closed military area” and imposed a permit regime on the Palestinian residents living there.
HCJ 9961/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The Government of Israel et al. Request for Expedited Hearing
Application  |  9961/03  |  13.1.2004
The application was filed to seek a hearing on the legality of the separation wall at the earliest possible date, so as to determine the position of the High Court of Justice in Israel prior to the state making its case before a foreign court – the International Court of Justice, in The Hague.
HCJ 9961/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The Government of Israel et al. Preliminary Response on behalf of the Respondents
Response to Petition  |  9961/03  |  1.1.2004
The Respondents argue that construction of the barrier in the Seam Area, and the requisition of property in this area are based solely on security considerations, and are consistent with the laws of belligerent occupation; and that ensuring the safety of settlers comes within these laws. The Respondents argue that Palestinian residents in the area had committed racist, terrorist acts against Is...
HCJ 9961/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The Government of Israel et al. Respondents' Response to Application for Interim Order
Response to Petition  |  9961/03  |  1.12.2003
The state contends that the petition and the application for interim order should be denied, inter alia, for the following reasons: the petition seeks general relief; some of the land requisitioned is privately owned, so petitioners more suitable than HaMoked exist; the petition is premature regarding sections of the route of the barrier as to which orders for requisition have not yet been issu...
HCJ 9961/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The Government of Israel et al. Petition for Order Nisi and Interim Order
Petition to HCJ  |  9961/03  |  6.11.2003
A petition requesting to cancel the decision to build segments of the separation wall which create enclaves in the heart of occupied territory and to cancel the apartheid regulations accompanying it. HaMoked also asked for cancellation of the decision to build segments extending to the east beyond the Green Line.
Updates
21.4.2016
HaMoked to the HCJ: the state breaches its court undertaking and continues to burden the farmers seeking to cultivate their lands inside the "seam zone"
5.4.2011
High Court Approval of West Bank 'Permit Regime' – A Green Light to Expulsion of Palestinians from their Lands
8.12.2009
HaMoked’s response to the state’s position in the petition against the permit regime implemented by Israel in the “seam area”: The regime creates a clear separation between Israelis and holders of Israeli visas and Palestinians from the Territories and as such, constitutes the crime of apartheid
6.4.2006
Amended petition against the permit regime in the "seam zone'": HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual petitions against the apartheid regime instituted by Israel, that effectively creates two distinct groups within the seam zone: Israelis and tourists, who freely enter, move about and leave the zone; and Palestinians, who require permits to enter, work and sleep in the zone.
6.11.2003
Separation Wall: Petition against the Route of the Separation Wall and the Apartheid Regulations Accompanying the Decision on Construction
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