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Following HaMoked's petitions, the military has allowed three Palestinians to enter their lands for the purpose of cultivation: in the hearing, the justices criticized the State's conduct concerning permits of entry to the "seam zone"

Since 2003, the Israeli military has been implementing a permit regime in the areas of the West Bank trapped between the separation wall and the Green Line, which it calls "the seam zone". Any Palestinian who lives in these areas or seeks entry thereto must obtain a military permit in advance in order to do so.

On May 20, 2013, HaMoked filed three petitions to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of Palestinians whose homes and lands are separated by the separation wall. All three were previously in possession of "seam zone" entry permits for the purpose of land cultivation, but their requests for the permits' renewal were refused or left unanswered. HaMoked requested that the military be ordered to issue each petitioner a permit to enter his lands, pursuant to the Standing Orders for the Seam Zone.

In the petitions, HaMoked asserted that in refusing to allow the petitioners' entry to the "seam zone", the military was violating their rights to property, freedom of occupation and freedom of movement, in an excessive, unreasonable and unbalanced manner. Moreover, the breach of time-limits established for processing such requests contradicted the law, the HCJ's case law, and even the military's own orders and protocols. HaMoked stressed that, based on past experience, in most cases, the military issues the requested permit immediately after a petition is filed, without the case coming up for a hearing.

On June 6, 2013, the HCJ held a joint hearing on the three petitions. Shortly before the hearing, the military informed that it would issue permits in two of the petitions.

During the hearing, Justice Joubran commented that it was unclear why the respondents were burdening the petitioners, who only wish to cultivate their lands in order to earn a living and "not to play or visit", and were thus forcing them to petition the court, only to notify a day before the hearing they had decided to issue the permits. Justice Joubran also advised the State to adopt a sympathetic policy in issuing agricultural permits, whereby "the rule is to give and [in] the exceptions – not to give." Justice Hendel added that whenever the respondents know in advance that a permit would be approved, they should expedite the process and not place needless obstacles before the farmers.

Following the hearing, and after the respondents consented to issue permits to the three petitioners, HaMoked requested the petitions be erased. Despite its criticism of the State's conduct, the Court opted not to impose costs on the respondents. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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