Israeli High Court of Justice Orders Israeli Military to Halt Building of Separation Wall in Battir
2013-05-02
MEDIA RELEASE
 
In a Precedent Decision, Israeli High Court of Justice
Orders Israeli Military to Halt Building of Separation Wall
in Defense of Heritage and Livelihood Values of the Battir Village Agricultural Terraces, Following a Petition Submitted by the Village and Friends of the Earth Middle East
 
May 2, 2013
Tel Aviv
 
Convinced that severe damage to environmental and cultural heritage values would result if the Separation Wall, as planned by the Ministry of Defense, was to proceed, the Israeli High Court of Justice today issued an injunction, as requested by Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) and ordered the State respondents to now justify "why should the route of the Separation Barrier in the Battir Village area not be nullified or changed, and alternately why should the barrier not be reconfigured".
 
FoEME petitioned the High Court based on the expert opinion of four of the leading heritage experts in Israel, all in agreement that the barrier would prevent Battir residents from continuing their ancient cultivation practices in the terraced agricultural fields around their village and as a result destroy the integrity of the site. The military were unable to present a single expert opinion in support of their claim that the impact on the site would be minimal.
 
The Nature and Parks Authority of Israel played a critical role in the court proceedings opposing the Separation Wall as proposed by the military and approved by the Israeli Government, but agreeing with the position taken by FoEME.
 
“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.
 
“The leadership shown by Battir residents led by the mayor of the village has proven itself. The many cross-border events held with Palestinian and Israeli residents helped place the issues facing the small village of Battir on the political map, locally and internationally,” said Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director of FoEME.
 
For more information:
Gidon Bromberg, FoEME Israeli Director: 052-4532597; gidon@foeme.org
Nader Khateeb, FoEME Palestinian Director: 059-9606544; nader@foeme.org
 
 
Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists. FoEME's primary objective is the promotion of cooperative efforts to protect the region's shared environmental heritage, and seeks to advance both sustainable regional development and the creation of necessary conditions for lasting peace in our region. FoEME has offices in Amman, Bethlehem, and Tel-Aviv.