Five years after the International Court of Justice decision against the Wall, Palestinians are still waiting for the world to act

Israel/Palestine
on 21 Comments

Today marks the five-year anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion which found Israel’s Separation Wall in the West Bank to be “contrary to international law.” Although the Court called for Israel to cease construction, dismantle the parts of the Wall that had already been built, and offer reparations for damages caused, none of this has been done. Instead, Israel has continued to build the structure which effectively annexes Palestinian land and furthers the Israeli colonization of the West Bank. 

The UN has recognized the five year anniversary by demanding that Israel implement the ICJ ruling. Oxfam UK has marked the occasion by releasing a new scathing 30-page report – Five years of illegality: Time to dismantle the Wall and respect the rights of Palestinians. Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International, explains how the inability of the international community to respond to the Court’s opinion puts the entire peace process in doubt:

“For five years now, different Israeli governments and the international community have turned a deaf ear to the appeals by the General Assembly of the United Nations and have refused to respect and observe the opinion of the International Court of Justice. This inaction gives the wrong signal: that international law can be violated without accountability. For the sake of Palestinians and Israelis alike, it is time for the rule of law to triumph. If not, it will be very difficult to achieve a just, negotiated, and durable peace in the Middle East”

But today is not only the five year anniversary of the ICJ opinion, it is also the four year anniversary of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The call for BDS was initiated after watching a year of inaction among the international community to the ICJ opinion. It was quickly obvious that Palestinians would not be able to rely on other governments to hold Israel accountable, even with the ICJ opinion. Instead, it would be left to civil society to leverage the power they have, even if it’s just on a personal level. The Bethlehem-based BADIL Resource  Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights issued a statement on the fifth anniversary of the ICJ ruling, both to mark the anniversary and to renew the call to hold Israel accountable. From the statement:

The ICJ ruling should have been a victory for the forces demanding respect for and implementation of international law. Instead it has become a symbol of Israel’s disrespect for international law and of the international community’s failure to hold Israel accountable to its crimes; despite the devastating consequences such impunity has upon the lives of Palestinians who continue to be displaced from their homeland.

The wall has definitively created six ghettos throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories containing 98 enclaves with 312,810 Palestinians surrounded by barbed wire, walls and control towers. At least 14,364 persons have been displaced in the 145 localities through which the wall passes with some 90,000 Palestinians directly threatened by displacement as the Wall’s construction is completed.

Without recourse to an adequate non-partisan mechanism to implement the ICJ ruling, Palestinians are left with few options to defend their rights and to resist displacement. While weekly grassroots protests continue in villages like Bil’in, Ni’lin, and Ma’sara whose lands continue to be robbed, they have so far lacked the sufficient leverage to resist Israel’s sheer military might and the accompanying impunity provided Israel by the international community.

In this context, there is no substitute to advancing the broad, international civil society struggle to boycott, divest and sanction Israel as called for by Palestinian civil society since 2005. Such a campaign has the moral authority and power to counter balance the forces supporting Israeli apartheid. Those who pay taxes to governments that support Israel; those who handle Israeli products whether as vendors or consumers; and those who engage in international academic, cultural and sports fora that normalize Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid – all have within their hands the power to stop the machine that makes Israeli apartheid politically viable and materially profitable.

Four years later, the BDS movement is quickly growing. Today is a useful reminder of why it’s necessary.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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21 Responses

  1. Michael LeFavour
    July 19, 2009, 10:07 am

    Dead Jews…check. Easy access to kill Jews…check. Genocidal speech and actions against Jews…check. Causing an impediment to the slaughter…an outrage according to the UN…check.

  2. ThorsProvoni
    July 9, 2009, 1:44 pm

    After the Gaza Rampage a campaign to force the Treasury Department to put the IDF on the list of designated terrorist organizations is particularly important: Saving America in 100 Words. If Stuart Levey refuses to make the designation, it might be possible to get him on a charge of obstruction of justice, on some other bureaucratic misdemeanor, or at least disbarred: [Khaleej Times] US Charities Paying for Sending Aid to Palestinians.

  3. thedhimmi
    July 9, 2009, 1:47 pm

    "The Palestinian rejection of any Jewish state has not merely been the recurring theme of the conflict, but the dominant one. Thus, in the 1930s, the Palestinians rejected a proposed two-state solution that would have created a Jewish state in less than 20 percent of Palestine. In the 1940s, the Palestinians rejected the United Nations partition plan which created a Jewish state on less than half of the arable land in Palestine. From 1948 to 1967, when Israel had no presence in Gaza, the West Bank or East Jerusalem, the Arabs created no Palestinian state. After the 1967 war, when Israel accepted the land-for-peace formulation in UN Resolution 242, the Arab world, including the Palestinians, rejected it. In 2000, when Israel supported a plan put forth by President Clinton that would have created an independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem comprising all of Gaza and virtually all of the West Bank, the Palestinians rejected this too, instead commencing a campaign of bombings that left 1,100 Israelis dead and, not incidentally, 4,000 Palestinians dead as well." ” target=”_blank”>http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12469368242390403…

  4. thedhimmi
    July 9, 2009, 1:50 pm

    Unfortunately Palestinian rejectionism and violence has led to the need for a Separation Fence.

  5. Gellian
    July 9, 2009, 2:01 pm

    The wall is a funny thing. Conservatives and/or Israel defenders immediately point to the drop off in suicide bombings that can (rightly) be attributed to the wall construction. But that's a specious argument: you could probably have reduced Palestinian violence even further but rounding them all up and putting them in gas chambers, but I doubt you would find anyone defending that course of action.

  6. Jake in Jerusalem
    July 9, 2009, 2:03 pm

    Five years later… and the wall is STILL protecting Jews from Palestinian terrorists. This is something to be hailed as a success, not bemoaned as a defeat. Philip Weis, you are a Jew-hating bigot. You prove this again and again…

  7. Ira Schwartz
    July 9, 2009, 2:09 pm

    This is pure fantasy. The Palestinians and the entire Arab world have accepted UNSCR 242. Israel and the United States reject it. The Palestinians wanted to continue to negotiate the Clinton proposal at Taba, but the Israelis called off the negotiations at the end of January 2001. Palestinians did not start the post-Oslo violence, Israel did (the first Palestinian bombing was in November 2000, by which time hundreds of Palestinians had already been slaughtered and thousands had been maimed). And it is highly misleading to say that Palestinians rejected the partition proposal, when the largest Palestinian political organization was favorable to it, while the opposition came from the leaders imposed on the Palestinians by the British. Meanwhile, the Israeli leadership accepted it only to establish a foothold, as part of their plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine. See Simha Flapan's The Birth of Israel and Ilan Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine on the last two points. The history is straight up Israeli rejectionism, with the Palestinians usually willing to compromise or at least negotiate.

  8. Joachim Martillo
    July 9, 2009, 2:12 pm

    Under Nuremberg Law, which is an important component of International Law, Palestinians have every right to blow up the criminal conglomeration of racist murderous genocidals Zionist invaders, interlopers, and thieves. As a signatory to the International Conventions for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, the USA is almost certainly obligated to help Palestinians in this endeavor. If racist Jews want the rest of the world to stop hating them, they need only reconvey the properties they stole and repatriate the population that they ethnically cleansed. Other they deserve all the hatred and attacks that they are receiving.

  9. Ira Schwartz
    July 9, 2009, 2:13 pm

    the apartheid wall does nothing to protect palestinians from israeli terrorism, which is a far more pressing problem. and to the extent that it protects israelis, it would protect them equally well or better if the wall was built on the border rather than in palestine, which would not violate international law. face it, thedhimmi, security is a lame and transparent pretext for the illegal land grab.

  10. Joachim Martillo
    July 9, 2009, 2:17 pm

    Robbins is just David Project scum. All patriotic Americans should hate him. Here is the truth about Palestinian willingness to negotiate: Second Great Zionist Fraud. For my list of Zionist frauds, see Collections: Chief Zionist Frauds.

  11. Nth Republic
    July 9, 2009, 2:18 pm

    I watched that fool Jeff Robbins debate a friend of mine, Omar Baddar, at Lesley College in Cambridge (Massachusetts) back in May. Here is the sound file if anyone wants to listen to it; the first half is an ADC annual banquet, and the coverage of the Robbins/Baddar debate starts at about the 30-minute mark. Unfortunately ArabicHour only elected to record the Question and Answer portion and not the opening arguments. The debate was moderated by a representative from Amnesty International, and he was so annoyed by Robbins' inaccurate definitions of "human shield" and erroneous claims about the Geneva Protocols and white phosphorous use that he felt the need to break moderator etiquette and interrupt to correct him. The video link is here, but be aware that it's about 131 megabytes. EDIT: Oops, I lied. Here is the audio for the actual debate portion, and here is the video.

  12. carnas
    July 9, 2009, 2:32 pm

    You're right in only one sense – Palestinians didn't start the post-Oslo violence, because by then they were so deep in violence there was nothing to "start". They were busy committing suicide bombings during the process, when Rabin and Arafat were still alive and negotiating.

  13. RichardWitty
    July 9, 2009, 2:32 pm

    Jake Phil didn't write the article. I'm glad the author acknlwedged the IJC as an advisory opinion, NOT a determination of intenational law perse. The UN didn't enact anything about the wall. Either an agency, or the general assembly did. It takes security council acceptance for it to be UN action, or "international law". Jake's and Dhimmi's comments on acceptance of Israel, and enforced by Palestinian law, is a prerequisite to less restrictive relations. I want to work to make the green line a possible border. With continued terror (it still occurs), it is far less a possible border.

  14. carnas
    July 9, 2009, 2:42 pm

    Martillo, no need to repeat your legal "interpretations", since no legitimate legal scholar agrees with you, nor do any of the international human rights organizations (Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, etc.). Maybe you should see if anyone in Palin's "Law Department" at the White House will back up your creative bs. ” target=”_blank”>http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/07/08/sarah-pal…

  15. edwin2
    July 9, 2009, 3:30 pm

    I'm glad the author acknlwedged the IJC as an advisory opinion, NOT a determination of intenational law perse.

    It's an amusing twist of wording when the ICJ creates an "advisory" ruling. There is no higher court. Their advisory rulings are effectively statements of law. Technically, they are incapable of producing a purely advisory ruling. It's a conflict of interest.

  16. Donald
    July 9, 2009, 4:28 pm

    You mean Palestinian terror, of course, since it doesn't cross your mind that the far greater Israeli violence and its apartheid-like policies are an even bigger obstacle to peace.

  17. Richard Witty
    July 9, 2009, 8:13 pm

    The ICJ is a grand jury (recommending indictments), not a jury (determining guilt).

  18. Strahl
    July 9, 2009, 8:27 pm

    People who suffered White South Africa racism and apartheid (Israel supported S. Africa btw) have said that Israel is FAR worse – and it is.

  19. Thom
    July 9, 2009, 11:09 pm

    Wow, I didn't have much respect for the ICJ (political kangaroo court) before. Now that I have read their opinion, I have no respect for them. It is equivalent to a judge in a statutory rape case just assuming that the woman is under 18, without actually having any evidence of that. The ICJ just assumed that the whole 4th GC applied, without analyzing the crucial question of whether the Palestinians are "protected persons" as defined in the 4th GC.

  20. Joachim Martillo
    July 11, 2009, 11:48 am

    If at least one party to an armed conflict is a signatory to the 4th GC, the convention applies.

  21. Thom
    July 12, 2009, 9:03 pm

    If you are driving, the traffic laws apply. However, not all traffic laws apply under all circumstances. The rule that says "you can't drive through an intersection" starts with "when the light is red". So by one way of saying it, the rule against driving through an intersection doesn't apply when the light is green. In another way of saying it, the rule applies at all times, but is not violated when the light is green. The way you are characterizing the 4th GC. The 4th GC applies when one party is a signatory, but the 4th GC is not violated when that signatory does things that (1) are done to people the GCs define as not "protected persons" and (2) are only forbidden to do to protected persons. Under your way of looking at things, you'd better never have sex with someone because it would be statutory rape. Sure the law says "if a woman is under age, then sleeping with her is a crime", but under your theory, the condition "if someone is under age" doesn't matter and the law should be read as though it says "sleeping with a woman is a crime". Go read the 4th GC about who isn't a protected person under the GC. Then read part II where it talks about things you aren't allowed to do to anyone. Part II never talks about "protected persons" because you aren't allowed to do those things to protected persons _or_ people who aren't protected persons.

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