The Israeli High Court of Justice ruled out an 18-mile stretch of the separation barrier near the town of Maccabim, north-west of Jerusalem, on Wednesday, reports the Israeli daily Haaretz.
The court ruled that although the route was good in terms of security, the local population’s life would be severely harmed. “The route disrupts the delicate balance between the obligation of the military commander to preserve security and his obligation to provide for the needs of the local inhabitants,” said Chief Justice Aharon Barak and justices Eliyahu Mazza and Mishael Heshin in their ruling.
The route, said the justices, would violate the local population’s rights under humanitarian and international law. The court discussed the matter after an appeal was made by residents of Beit Surik, a Palestinian village.
This significant decision comes less than two weeks before the International Court of Justice decides on the legality of the fence.
“This is a courageous and a very important decision. Of course it is precedent-setting,” the petitioners’ lawyer Muhammad Dahla told reporters.
On the other hand, an Israeli security official condemned the court’s decision, saying it would cause irreversible damage to the security of Israeli citizens.