Court Prepares to Hear ACRI’s Petition to Prevent Expulsion of 1,000 Palestinian Villagers

Training in Firing Zone 918. Photo: international activist


The High Court of Justice will hear a petition on Monday (September 2 at 11:30am) against the eviction of residents of Masafer Yatta, also know as ‘Firing Zone 918’ in the South Hebron Hills. This will be the first hearing of two new petitions filed at the beginning of 2013 by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel together with Attorney Sholomo Lecker on behalf of the villagers.


The petition will be heard by Supreme Court President Asher Grunis as well as Justices Hanan Melcer and Daphne Barak Erez.

Israeli authors Chaim Guri, Eyal Magad and Zeruya Shalev, who are among the signatories of the prominent petition by authors and professors against the eviction of the residents of the villages, are expected to attend the hearing.


Some 1,000 people live in the 8 villages that are slated for evacuation and termed by the military ‘Firing Zone 918’. These villagers maintain a unique lifestyle wherein they live in or near caves and support themselves through sheep and goat herding and small crop farming.


In late July, the State filed its response to ACRI’s petition. It alleged that, among other reasons, the firing zone is necessary as it saves travel time for soldiers arriving for training. The primary contention of the state is that when the area was declared a firing zone in the early 1980s, there was no permanent settlement in the region, only seasonal dwelling. Therefore, according to the state, the one thousand current inhabitants are “invaders”.


In ACRI’s reply to the State’s response that it filed earlier this week, ACRI Attorney Tamar Feldman pointed out a long series of errors and contradictions in the State’s claims. Paradoxically, some of the evidence presented by the State actually supports the arguments of the petitioners and strengthens their position. This includes evidence that the villages currently located in the firing zone existed long before the declaration of the firing zone.


Attorney Feldman, Director of the Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Department commented: Ironically, according to the evidence presented by the State itself, it is clear that the authorities were well aware that the area was occupied by Palestinian residents and yet chose nonetheless to declare it is a firing zone. Now they’re attempting to remove these villagers from their privately owned homes and land under the claim that they are ‘invaders’. Even if it does save the army travel time, this cannot possibly justify the destruction of eight communities and the eviction of 1,000 people who would all be left homeless and without a method of supporting themselves.


Related Materials


Further information on the case history including anthropological reports and legal opinions.

ACRI’s Petition against the eviction of the Palestinian villagers. 

Petition by Israeli Authors and Professors Against Destruction of Villages in Firing Zone 918.

The State’s response to ACRI’s petition. 

ACRI’s reply to the State’s response to the petition (in Hebrew).

Firing Zone 918 – What’s the Deal? – Interactive Q + A

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Categories: Area C Villages, The Occupied Territories, The Right to Property

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