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9.1.2020

“Policy and practice have joined to eradicate Palestinian presence from the Seam Zone”: HaMoked demands the military dismantle the separation-fence segment that blocks access of the Qaffin, Akkabah and Nazlat 'Isa villages to their farmlands

On January 8, 2020, HaMoked wrote to the Commander of the Israeli military in the West Bank demanding that the military dismantle “the segment of the separation fence in the area of the villages of Qaffin, Akkabah and Nazlat 'Isa [north of Tulkarm], in those sections that extend east of the Green Line”. In its letter, written by attorney Michael Sfard, HaMoked elaborated on its demand to dismantle the Qaffin segment, which de facto deprives the local farmers of their property, livelihood and way of life: “such severe harm to their rights, coupled with the changes in the security situation in the area since the fence has been built, make it disproportionate and unconstitutional, and therefore it must be dismantled”.

HaMoked clarified that the fence had been built inside the West Bank pursuant to military seizure orders, on the claim – accepted in dozens of High Court judgments – that its existence was then necessary for Israeli security needs. However, HaMoked stated, seizure – contrary to confiscation – is inherently temporary. Given the changed circumstances, it was clear that the damage caused to the Palestinians – if indeed it had ever been justified – now outweighed any alleged benefit of leaving the fence in place. HaMoked also noted that the Seam Zone area created by the Qaffin segment was unique from the security perspective in that it contains no Israeli settlements and nor are there any communities adjacent to the Green Line inside Israel in this area.

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HaMoked elaborated on the fence’s devastating harm to the local farmers, which increases with each passing year. The military-imposed permit regime in the Seam Zone has steadily grown more restrictive, through ever-harsher regulations and their implementation in practice, completely divorced from any security need. All this, contrary to Israel’s guarantees before the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to minimize as much as possible the damage caused to the farmers by the construction of the physical barrier. HaMoked added that the combined outcome of the route of the fence in the Qaffin segment and the harshening permit regime policy, resulted in “a de facto and illegal annexation of an occupied territory…”, which “would very soon cause the total disappearance of any Palestinian presence from the Qaffin-segment of the Seam Zone”.

HaMoked backed its claims with data, chief among them a 90% reduction in the income of local farmers, as compared to the yield of their lands before the fence was erected. To substantiate its claim about the all but sweeping denial of access to farmlands, HaMoked showed that the number of entry permits issued to Qaffin villagers had dropped by 85% from 2012-2014 until today (1,800-2,000 permits as compared to just 350 permits).

HaMoked clarified that it would petition the HCJ on the matter, unless the military swiftly dismantled the fence.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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