January 4, 2015 – Israeli High Court Denies Request of Israeli Military to Approve Separation Barrier in Battir


January 4, 2015

Following two years of deliberations, the Israeli High Court of Justice today decided to deny the request of the Israeli military to confirm the legality of the proposed route of the separation barrier that was planned to cut through the unique terraced landscape of Battir.

The case is based on a set of petitions filled by the Palestinian village of Battir, neighboring Israeli residents across the ‘green line’ and the cross border environment organization EcoPeace Middle East (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East), protesting the proposed building of the Separation Barrier on the site of the ancient terraced landscape of Battir.

Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director of EcoPeace Middle East said: “This is an important win not only for Battir but for cross border cooperation between like- minded Palestinians and Israelis who have worked together for so many years. Trust building is a very powerful way to build peace and prevent building concrete barriers. This helped maximize constructive international attention to our cause. Together we undertook research to strengthen our case. Together we helped create political will that led to UNESCO registration of the Battir site. Together we were able to reveal that the security imperative claimed by the Israeli military to be hollow.”

The head of the local council of the village of Battir, Engineer Akram Bader, was relieved to hear of this decision, saying “great efforts at all levels were made to defend the rights of our peoples, of nature and its beautiful scenery”.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East stated, “The Battir landscape managed to survive 4000 years of various conquests. The High Court decision today opens the New Year 2015 with Battir symbolizing a beacon of hope for a better future in our region.”

For more information:
• Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director, EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East; 059-9606544
• Mohammed Obidallah, Good Water Neighbors Project Coordinator; 054-3461155
• Mira Edelstein, Foreign Media Officer, 054-6392937