High Court approves cutting off a-Ram from East Jerusalem

Palestinian youths climb the controversial Israeli separation wall as they try to bypass the Al-Ram checkpoint, on the edge of Jerusalem, December 21, 2006. (MaanImages/Moamar Awad)

On 13 December 2006, the High Court of Justice rejected the petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the human rights organization Bimkom against the section of the separation barrier that severs the Palestinian community a-Ram from East Jerusalem.

According to the head of the local council, the community has about 58,000 residents, half of whom hold Israeli identity cards.

This section of the barrier will surround a-Ram on three sides. The barrier’s route will separate a-Ram from its last land reserves, and leaves this area on the Israeli side of the barrier. The barrier also separates a-Ram from three villages lying west of it.

The separation barrier severely harms access of a-Ram residents to schools, medical services, and their work places, detaches them from family and friends, and causes severe financial loss to the merchants in the community, which currently serves as a commercial center.

The barrier’s route in this area was chosen for political, and not security, reasons. The route is designed to preserve the municipal boundary of the area that was annexed to East Jerusalem , and to annex additional settlement lands. To achieve this, the route runs through Palestinian neighborhoods, severely impairing the fabric of life of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

B’Tselem calls on Israel to cease construction of the barrier in the area and to dismantle sections it has already built there. Given the way of life of the residents that has developed since the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, any security solution based on unilateral construction of a physical barrier in the city, including one along the Green Line in the Jerusalem , will result in the severe infringement of human rights. Israel must carry out its obligation to ensure the security of its residents by employing other means, which respect the human rights of everyone living on land under its control.

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