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IDF stunned as court keeps fence in limbo (JERUSALEM POST) By DAN IZENBERG 01/28/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1106848123492&p=1078027574097 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
IDF brass and Defense Ministry officials were shocked and disappointed on Thursday when the High Court of Justice refused their request to lift an interim injunction on construction of the separation fence along a 26-kilometer stretch northwest of Jerusalem.

Construction of the fence has been delayed for seven months, since the High Court rejected the army´s original route because of the hardships it caused to Palestinians.

The IDF has been working on the new route in the Beit Surik-Bidu area ever since. It was about to begin construction on some of the segments of the fence when nine Palestinian villages filed a petition against the new route. On January 13, Justice Salim Joubran issued an interim injunction suspending all work until the court met to discuss the matter.

A panel of three senior justices – Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, Deputy President-designate Mishael Cheshin and Dorit Beinisch – ordered the state to draw up a list of the sections of the fence it wants to start building according to the degree of urgency of each. The army has still not finalized the route of all of the segments.

During Thursday´s hearing, attorney Muhammad Dahleh, representing the petitioners, argued against allowing the army to resume construction until it completes the planning of the entire route.

Dahleh also argued that in the months that have passed without a fence, there has not been a single terrorist act in the area. Therefore, he said, there is no need to rush to build it.

Furthermore, the situation between Israel and the Palestinians has changed with the election of Muhammad Abbas as Palestinian Authority chairman, and perhaps there would no longer be need of a fence, he added.

The state´s representative, Aner Helman, rejected Dahleh´s arguments. He said the security situation is still fluid and volatile. Furthermore, he said, there is no reason to treat the entire 26-km. route as one entity.

Helman reminded the court that the state had promised to restore the situation to what it had been before the construction, should the court rule against the route.

After the justices saw the maps indicating the new route and the situation regarding each segment, it gave the state three days to put its request in writing and another three days for the petitioners to respond. (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 01/28/05)

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