Washington, DC: The New Israel Fund applauds today’s ruling from the Israeli High Court holding that the military must remove restrictions on Palestinian travel on Route 443 which runs between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We also congratulate our flagship grantee, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), for its successful petition to the High Court on this critically important issue of civil rights.
Route 443 was largely built on land expropriated from Palestinian owners; the government’s argument for that expropriation was that the road would primarily be used by Palestinians – the same people denied access to it for the last nine years. Roadblocks now obstruct access to 443 from Palestinian villages and parallel roads partially serving those villages have been built.
In the words of ACRI attorney Limor Yehuda: “The High Court of Justice acknowledged today the illegality of the separation system manifested by Route 443. We urge the IDF to implement the ruling as soon as possible, enabling freedom of movement for Palestinians – a right which has been severely infringed on for nearly a decade.”
“There is no place in a democracy for roads labeled ‘Jews Only,'” said NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch. “The High Court made a courageous decision today, acknowledging security considerations while coming down on the side of democracy and the rule of law. This is a watershed decision for civil rights in Israel.”
For more information from the ACRI website:
Background Information on Route 443 (English) (pdf)
High Court ruling, December 29, 2009 (Hebrew)