State: Hague fence ruling based on erroneous data
The ruling last year by the International Court of Justice on the separation fence between Israel and the Palestinians was based on erroneous and outdated information, the State Prosecution said yesterday, in the first official reaction to the Hague court's ruling in July.
The state's view was contained in a 170-page document submitted to the High Court of Justice, which had requested the state's response while hearing a petition against building the fence near the the West Bank villages of Shukba and Boudrous, east of Lod. The petition turned into a fundamental examination of the separation fence.
The prosecution described the "factual infrastructure" on which the Hague court's opinion is based as "superficial and wanting," saying the court almost totally ignored the terror attacks that made it imperative to set up the fence, the considerations that led to planning its route, and the state's duty to protect its citizens.
"The lack of a factual infrastructure and the superficiality of the analysis constitute a substantial blow to the legal validity of the international court's adamant findings and the legitimacy of its conclusions," the state said.
The document, formulated by attorneys Avi Licht and Osnat Mandel of the Justice Ministry, notes that the Hague court's ruling took the form of an advisory opinion, is not legally binding, "and does not have relevance to the discussion on the petitions against the fence before [the Israeli] High Court."
According to the state, the Hague judges assumed that the fence would annex 16 percent of the West Bank to Israel, whereas the actual fence route authorized by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz includes just 3.3 percent.
Furthermore, the state argued, Mazuz's approved route did not include three enclaves that would have pushed the fence deep into West Bank territory in the areas of Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim, and the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem. The fence's route in these area will be discussed separately in the future.
Altogether, the response notes, Israel will leave 8 percent of the West bank on the "Israeli" side of the fence. The Israeli calculation does not include the East Jerusalem municipal area.
The prosecution included in its response a detailed map of the new route of the fence approved Sunday by the cabinet. The state reiterates its position that the fence is "a temporary security measure aimed at combating terror attacks, and does not in itself attempt to define the future border of the state of Israel."