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Residents of Bil'in Now Cautious

Residents of Bil'in Cautious Following Israeli Supreme Court Decision

16th December 2008 - The Israeli Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the second proposed route of the annexation barrier proposed by the Israeli military is illegal.

The High Court judges concluded following the court session that the route presented by the Israeli State did not conform to the previous court ruling from September 2007.

The State was also ordered to adhere to a new route and pay the residents of Bil'in's legal fees which amounted to 10,000 NIS.

Residents of Bil'in have, however, reacted to the court decision, which if implemented would return 250 acres to the village, with extreme caution following the disregard of the State to previous Supreme Court rulings towards Palestinian land.

Resident of Bil'in Nasir Samara commented that "While we welcome the Court's ruling that the route of the wall is illegal, this is not the first time that the Court has told the military to change the route. We will reserve judgement until we see the wall moved".

The Court stated that both routes for the annexation barrier so far put forward by the State have not been based on existing structures, but on expansion plans for the settlement of Modi'in Illit. For any future route of the barrier the Court clearly stated that; "the security consideration that would determine the new route will take into account existing buildings [in the settlement] and not plans for future construction. The security distances will be measured from existing buildings and not from planned buildings that have not yet been constructed".

If the Courts decision is adhered to then Bil'in would have approximately one half of the land confiscated by the existing annexation barrier returned. However the court decision does still not comply to international law, under which all settlements are illegal, primarily through the violation of the Geneva Convention article 49 (1. OHCHR )

However, Bilin's lawyer did state that the 'ruling was unprecedented in its detail and would help others challenging the barrier route' (2. Associated Press).

Residents of the village have remained cautious about the decision. Israeli Supreme Court rulings against the military or the State are notorious for their failure to be implemented and for the willful avoidance of the Israeli State to enact it's own Court rulings, even those that still contradict international law.

For example in 2007 the Israeli military willfully ignored the Supreme Court ruling that the road barrier that was set up along bypass roads number 60, 317 and 325 in southern Hebron in 2005 be removed within 6 months. It was not.

Bil'in has become famous for holding a protest march against the apartheid wall every Friday afternoon for past three and a half years. In that time the Friday march has attracted world famous artists, celebrities, and politicians. They have been joined by a wide variety of international and Israeli pressure groups.

ENDS

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