A legal Opinion on behalf of the-then Military Advocate General, Col. Meir Shamgar, instructed that evacuation of civilian population for the benefit of military training was forbidden. Akevot has located the document at the IDF & Security Establishment Archives, for residents of the Masafer Yatta area who petitioned the High Court of Justice. During the hearing, Justice Meltzer commented that according to the document, a firing training zone must not have been declared in Masafer Yatta.
Re: Training Zones in the West Bank
“4. In our view, civilians cannot be evacuated from an area in order to create training zones for the IDF, both for political and humanitarian reasons, and for reasons related to the provisions of international law. Article 49 of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War, to which Israel is party, expressly prohibits the forcible transfer of civilians in an occupied territory, unless so required for imperative military reasons. In the case at hand, it cannot be said that military reasons clearly compel the evacuation of the territories designated to become training zones, and it follows that the forcible evacuation of population from these areas would constitute a breach of the provisions of the above Convention.
5. We repeat, and demand, that only uninhabited and uncultivated land be used for IDF training zones in the West Bank.”
Application for Leave to Submit Document
“2. The document in question is a letter from Military Advocate General (hereinafter: MAG) Meir Shamgar (the document is signed by Maj. David Kos on behalf of the MAG), dated July 11, 1967. It was sent to several officials in the Central Command and concerns military training zones in the West Bank.
3. In this letter, the MAG notes that land cannot be declared a training zone unless it is uninhabited and uncultivated.
4. Counsel for the Petitioners maintain that this document supports their argument that the declaration of the firing zone was made illegally and that it contradicts international law.”