HCJ 4341/13 Muhammad Ibrahim Ahmed Abu Rahme v the Minister of Defense

After the High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled against the route of the separation barrier in the Palestinian village of Bil’in in September 2007 in order to limit the scope of damage to agricultural land owned by Palestinians, the route was changed so that several enclaves owned by Palestinians remained in Modi’in Illit’s agricultural territory. This is how Muhammad Ibrahim Abu Rahme found himself farming a plot of land that is surrounded by fences.

For nearly four years Abu Rahme farmed his land without disruption, until December 2011, when unidentified intruders broke through the fences, dumped a large amount of waste on Abu Rahme’s land, positioned a caravan there and began paving a road to connect the different parts of the Matityahu East neighborhood inside the settlement of Modi’in Illit, which was built on Bil’in’s land.

Abu Rahme filed a complaint with the police in January 2012, but the investigation was closed on grounds of a lack of a criminal offense. After Yesh Din took action, the investigation was reopened, however it quickly closed again, this time due to insufficient evidence.

In February 2012, the Civil Administration issued a demolition order for the roads paved on Abu Rahme’s land, but failed to enforce them. As a result, in 2013 Abu Rahme petitioned the HCJ with the assistance of Yesh Din to ask the Court order the Civil Administration to enforce the demolition orders and ensure the intruders are removed and land restored to its owner. The petition also demanded the authorities protect the petitioner’s property.

During the HCJ hearing in February 2015, the State claimed that it had removed the caravan and repaired the holes in the fence, but someone had once again broken through. Justice Fogelman responded: “Then don’t plan settlements on Palestinian land, and if you insist on doing so, bear the cost.” Justice Meltzer added, “It cannot be like the Wild West over there. As far as I’m concerned, if such is the situation, a policeman should be stationed there.”

A month later, the State removed the trespassers, repaired the fence and returned the land to its previous condition. In March 2016 the State Attorney notified the HCJ that the entrepreneur building a neighborhood in the area constructed sturdier fences as well as a concrete wall. As a result, the HCJ dismissed the petition and ordered the State to pay petition and legal fees of a total of NIS 7,500.

Petition Status: The petition was dismissed