Apartheid five years on
By Khalid Amayreh
July 17, 2009 at 7:22 pm
The World Court ruled Israel’s annexation wall in the West Bank illegal in 2004, but with no pressure coming from the international community it has not been dismantled, writes Khaled Amayreh in the occupied Palestinian territories
This week marked the passage of five years since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague issued its landmark ruling deeming the gigantic apartheid wall Israel has been building in the West Bank illegal under international law.
Though not complete, the bulk of the barrier has already been constructed. In addition to the massive eight-metre high concrete wall now meandering like a snake through the West Bank, the barrier also consists of a vast network of multi-layered fences with vehicle-stopping trenches.
The barrier is mostly located inside the West Bank, partly along the former 1949 Armistice line, and is largely built on confiscated Palestinian land. As of April 2006, the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government was 703 kilometres (436 miles).
On 9 July 2004, the ICJ ruled that the barrier violated international law. While acknowledging Israel’s right to protect its citizens, the World Court said the Jewish state ought to do so within the law and should compensate Palestinians for property lost or damaged by the building of the wall.
The ICJ urged the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly to consider further action to end the illegal Israeli activity.
Israel completely ignored the ICJ ruling, claiming the international court had no jurisdiction over the occupied Palestinian territories. Some Israeli officials tacitly accused ICJ judges of harbouring “anti-Semitism”.
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