Mazuz to Peretz: Order Inquiry on Fence Route Misinformation

AG's letter comes in response to High Court criticism of information submitted on fence in Tsufin area.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has asked Defense Minister Amir Peretz to order an inquiry into the partial and inaccurate information on the security fence route that was submitted to official bodies.

The State Prosecutor's Office and the courts were given inaccurate data on the fence route near the settlement of Tsufin.

Mazuz wrote this letter to Peretz in the wake of a ruling harshly criticizing the incomplete information given to the High Court of Justice. In the letter, he asked Peretz to formulate clear procedures for the defense establishment's handling of petitions on the fence, "with regard to the obligation to submit comprehensive and accurate information so as to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future."

Mazuz wrote, "A serious error occured in the submission of the information in the first petition," adding that "in the wake of this error, a ruling was handed down based on incomplete facts."

According to Mazuz, "this error also gave rise to the need to pave an alternative route and dismantle the existing fence, with all its implications ? economic and otherwise."

Mazuz's letter outlines the details of the affair, and accuses the Defense Ministry official responsible for the planning of the fence of withholding from the State Prosecutor's Office the fact that the route of the fence was determined in keeping with an unapproved plan for the expansion of the settlement rather than security considerations.

Mazuz writes that the petition that led to the ruling in question was preceded by a 2002 petition on the same segment of the fence. According to the attorney general, the state's response to the initial petition did not explain that the considerations guiding the fence planners had included the unapproved plan, and only said that the fence route in the area was based on security considerations.

Based on this Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry position, the initial petition was rejected ? and the segment of the fence was completed.

In his letter to Peretz, Mazuz notes that only through the current petition, some two years after the fence in the area became operational, did the state learn that the considerations guiding the planners were not as was presented in the initial petition. The state made this known to the court, and also informed it of its intention to dismantle the problematic fence segment.

Sources in the defense minister's bureau said yesterday that a review of the fence route in the area in question had already been completed recently, as requested by the attorney general, and that the conclusions had been submitted to the defense minister.

Due to current crisis in the Gaza Strip, Peretz has not had the time to review the findings and decide what steps to take against those responsible, the sources said.

The High Court is set to begin deliberations on similar petitions against the fence route in the southern Hebron Hills and south of Ma'aleh Adumim.

In these cases too, the petitioners are claiming that the route is based not only on security considerations but is also designed to facilitate land appropriation for expanding settlements in the area.