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International court rules against Israel's Wall

International Court of Justice in the Hague
International court rules against Israel's wall

Matthew Taylor
Friday July 9, 2004

Palestinian leaders today said they would seek UN sanctions against Israel after the international court of justice ruled that the barrier being built around the West Bank was illegal and should be pulled down.

Announcing its findings, the court said the "security wall" infringed the rights of Palestinians, adding that Israel should pay compensation for the damage it had caused.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a senior adviser to the Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, welcomed the ruling.

"The next step is to approach the UN general assembly and security council to adopt resolutions that will isolate and punish Israel," he said. "As of today, Israel should be viewed as an outlaw state."

Reading the ruling, Judge Shi Jiuyong said that 14 out of the 15 judges had agreed the barrier was illegal, and called on the UN to take action to stop further building work on it.

"The court is of the view that the UN, and especially the general assembly and the security council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall," he said.

However, Israeli officials insisted they would not accept the court's ruling, saying the barrier provided a vital security bulwark against Palestinian suicide bombers. They argued it has already saved hundreds of lives since building work began.

"We will abide by the ruling of our own high court and not the panel in The Hague with judges from the European Union who are not suspected of being particularly disposed toward Israel," Israel's justice minister, Yosef Lapid, told Israeli Army radio.

The Israeli position was supported by the US administration, which argued that the international court of justice was not the right place in which to address the issue. "We do not believe that that's the appropriate forum to resolve what is a political issue," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

"This is an issue that should be resolved through the process that has been put in place, specifically the road map."

The court ruling said the barrier could become tantamount to an annexation of Palestinian land, and impeded the Palestinian right to self-rule.

"The court considers that the construction of the wall and its associate regime creates a 'fait accompli' on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case - and notwithstanding the formal characterisation by Israel - it would be tantamount to de facto annexation," the ruling said.

"That construction, along with measures previously taken, thus severely impeded the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination."

The European commission said the ruling confirmed the EU's view that the barrier was illegal, and urged the Israelis to remove it from occupied Palestinian land.

Speaking before the court in the Hague had announced its findings, commission spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori said: "We understand that the international court of justice has rendered an advisory opinion on this matter which appears to confirm this view ... therefore, the European Union continues to call on Israel to remove the barrier from inside the occupied Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem."

Mr Filori said the EU had long been concerned that the route of the barrier did not follow the 1949 armistice line between Israel and the West Bank.

He added that the commission was particularly concerned that the barrier was causing severe humanitarian and economic hardship for Palestinians.

"Beyond the legal aspects of the case, the EU is concerned that the envisaged departure of the route from the green line [the pre-1967 border] could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-state solution physically impossible to implement," he said.

The concrete and steel barrier runs close to the pre-1967 border. However, some of it juts into the West Bank, cutting Palestinians off from their farmland and dividing some villages. Although the court's opinion is only advisory, today's ruling will increase international pressure on Israel, and was branded "historic" by Palestine.

"This is an excellent decision," Mr Arafat said. "We thank the court in The Hague. This is a victory for the Palestinian people and for all the free peoples of the world."

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Anti-Terrorist fence is saving lives

This report is from the Israeli government and was distributed on July 5, 2004. It documents the number of Israelis killed or wounded in attacks originating from the West Bank for 2003 and 2004. The data is further divided by those areas that are behind the completed portions of Israel's controversial security fence and those who were in areas where the fence has not yet been completed. The results are better than anyone could have imagined. So far, for 2004 there have been NO DEATHS and NO ONE INJURED for those areas where the fence has been completed. I don't like the wall/fence/barrier. I wish there was no need for it. I would greatly have preferred a politial and negotiated end to the conflict, but I realize the need for it exists to save lives. Perhaps some day the barrier can come down. I really think it is up to the Palestinian people to vanquish the terror groups that are operating within their midst and cynically recruiting their own children to be used in propaganda wars against Israel.

For peace activists who pray for a day when the violence will end, this should be good news. A passive resistance method does seem to be working to end the violence. Furthermore, with the fence up, many of the IDF checkpoint within the West Bank can be dismantled allowing Palestinians more freedom of movement within their communities.

I welcome anyone to post any data that refutes this data or can show that this data is in error.


The Anti-terrorist Fence Saves Lives

In recent months there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of attacks by Palestinian terrorist organizations, statistics show.

Attacks in 2003: for areas protected by a completed fence -- 46 deaths 221 wounded
for areas unprotected -- 89 deaths 411 wounded

Attacks in 2004 (Jan - June '04 only)
in areas protected by fence -- 0 deaths 0 wounded
in areas unprotected by fence -- 19 deaths 102 wounded

This trend does not arise from a lessening of the desire of the terrorist organizations to perpetrate attacks, or from an effort by the Palestinian Authority to prevent them, but only from Israel's decision to construct an anti-terrorist fence and its war against the the terrorist organizations and their infrastructure.

It is especially significant that, wherever the fence has been completed, the terrorist organizations have not succeeded in crossing it.

The security fence is fulfilling its only purpose: saving lives.

The lives of many Israelis have already been spared as a direct result from the establishment of the anti-terrorist fence.

Palestinians Praise World Court Decision

Palestinians Praise World Court Decision
Published: July 9, 2004

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Palestinians called Friday's decision by the International Court of Justice on the massive West Bank wall ``historic,'' while Israel rejected the world court's authority in judging the matter.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia hailed the court's ruling even before it was official as details leaked out ahead of time.

``The international high court decided clearly today that this racist wall is illegal to the root and Israel should stop building it and take down what has already been built of this wall. We welcome this decision,'' Qureia said.

``This is a historic day and a historic decision,'' he said.

The court in The Netherlands ruled that Israel's planned 425-mile-long barrier in the West Bank violates international law and urged the United Nations to take action to stop its construction.

It dismissed Israel's arguments that the barrier was essential for its security and said the system of walls and fences went too far in infringing on the freedom of the Palestinians.

Israel also was ordered to pay reparations to Palestinians harmed by the barrier and return land seized to construct it.

The court's advisory opinions are non-binding but bear moral, historic and political weight, and they can be the basis for U.N. action.

Israel, which did not send any senior officials to the Hague, has said the court's ruling will not have any bearing on its decisions.

``The International Court in The Hague has no authority to deal with disputes between Israel and the Palestinians,'' Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said.

Arafat, speaking to reporters as he met with Palestinian youths, said the Palestinian leadership was meeting to discuss its next steps.

He called the court's decision ``a victory for justice in the land of peace.''

Though the ruling is only advisory, Arafat compared it to the international will that led to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. ``This wall will be removed to build our own state,'' he said confidently.

The judges were unexpectedly united in backing the decisions, by a vote of 14-1 for most paragraphs, with only the American judge dissenting. Israel maintains the barrier is needed to protect its cities from Palestinian suicide bombers, but Palestinians consider it a land grab.

The court dismissed Israel's objections that the U.N. General Assembly acted irregularly in asking the court for an advisory opinion. It also rebuffed Israel's argument -- supported by the United States and several European countries -- the court should refrain from interfering because the issue was political, not legal, and could disrupt Mideast peace efforts.

The court's opinion adds international pressure to stop construction of the complex of towering concrete walls, razor-wire fences, trenches and watch towers. About a fourth has been completed so far, roughly along the pre-1967 border but with many dips into the West Bank.

Armed with the ruling, the Palestinians want the U.N. General Assembly to demand Israel dismantle the barrier. If Israel refuses, the Palestinians want the Security Council to insist -- something that could draw a U.S. veto.

``We hope the United States today will see to it that they will work to have Israel comply with the (court's) resolution,'' Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said.

Demonstrators turned out Friday near Jerusalem for and against the barrier.

A banner where hundreds were gathering in the West Bank town of al-Ram, near Ramallah, read: ``The Israeli wall, longer and higher than Berlin, but just as disgusting.''

``It's a great decision. We are thrilled. It very clearly delegitimizes the wall and demands that it be pulled down,'' said Jamal Juma, coordinator of a Palestinian group called The Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign.

Only six miles away, a few dozen Israelis gathered by a concrete section of the fence on the outskirts of Jerusalem, holding pictures and banners of loved ones who were victims of Palestinian attacks. They waved Israeli flags, and displayed a large banner reading: ``Fence out terrorism.''

The Israeli-Arab Hadash party also filed a no-confidence motion Friday against the government over the security fence. Such motions are common, and it wasn't expected to get much support.

Violence also continued Friday. A Palestinian threw a hand grenade toward Israeli soldiers who had asked him to stop for inspection at a main junction near the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, but nobody was injured, the Israeli army spokesman's office said. The Palestinian escaped after an exchange of gunfire, the military said.

Ambulances carrying the bodies of six of seven people killed in clashes the day before into Beit Hanoun for funerals came under Israeli fire, witnesses said. The ambulances changed their course and later entered for the burials.

Elsewhere in Gaza, the Israeli military said two soldiers were wounded after Palestinians fired anti-tank missiles at their patrol near Rafah.

What is missing from all news articles

Please note: None of the articles I have read report the stats on lives saved before the wall was built and since. None of the articles report that the Israeli Supreme Court just ruled that the wall is legal, but that the route needed to be changed to minimize Palestinian suffering.
None of the articles I read report that while the Hague was considering the legality of the barrier, the Israelis parked the wreckage of their latest bus bombing across the street from the courthouse. Those deaths of Israelis were completely ignored.

End the occupation.

If you want ALL the death to stop on all "sides" of this conflict, you will work to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people. It really is that simplistic.


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