AL-HAQ PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
REF. : 13.2007E
16 May 2007
On Sunday, 13 May 2007, the Israeli High Court of Justice heard the petition brought by Al-Haq, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section and the residents of al-Nu’man village. The following is a brief summary of an unofficial translation of the court hearing.
In response to the difficulties caused by holding West Bank ID cards that, according to the Israeli authorities, render them "illegally present" in their own village, as well as Israeli settlement construction and expansion in the area, and the construction of the Annexation Wall near the village, the petitioners requested the re-routing of the Annexation Wall so that the village is not cut off from the rest of the West Bank. Alternatively, the villagers requested that they be given permanent residency status in East Jerusalem and free access to and from al-Nu’man, as is their right having been residents of the village since before 1967.
The respondents (namely the Prime Minister of Israel, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Interior, the Municipality of Jerusalem and the Commander of the Israeli military forces in the West Bank), argued that the route of the Wall could not be amended to accommodate persons who, in their view, are “illegally present” in Jerusalem. The respondents further argued that the village’s residents could not be issued permanent residency status on the grounds that they could not prove that they resided in the village prior to 1967, having not been registered as residents of Jerusalem in 1967 due to a bureaucratic oversight on the part of the State of Israel. When questioned by the court as to the "security" considerations in the original decision to keep the village, and by extension the alleged security threat posed by its population, on the same side of the Wall as Israel, the respondents‘ only retort was that the Wall has already been built and that financial considerations prevent it from being moved at this stage.
After hearing the parties‘ arguments, the court gave the respondents until 1 October 2007 to present new conditions to the petitioners showing how they will meaningfully address their concerns. The court requested that the respondents address the question of whether the petitioners are, according to the Israeli authorities, residents of Jerusalem or the West Bank, and if the latter, what the Israeli authorities will do to restore an acceptable living situation to the village. The petitioners will then have 21 days in which to accept or reject the new conditions presented by the respondents. In the event that the respondents fail to present new conditions or the parties cannot reach agreement on any such conditions, the court will rehear the entire case based on its merits. In such an event, the court will consider every possible solution to the case, including re-routing the Wall.
The petitioners would like to express their most sincere thanks to their lawyers, Labib Habib and Leah Tsemel, and to all those who attended Sunday’s hearing. Such efforts not only provided the village residents with much needed support, but also sent a clear message to the Israeli authorities that the targeting of al-Nu’man and the human rights violations being perpetrated there are not going unnoticed. Al-Haq will continue to keep you informed of any further developments in the case. Should you have any questions, comments or require further information pertaining to the case, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com.
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