World Court Rules Against Israel's "Apartheid Wall"

July 10, 2004

On July 9, the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that Israel's ongoing construction of a wall across the West Bank is in violation of international law.

The wall which Israel is building across 437 miles of the West Bank includes electronic fences, armed watch towers, concrete walls and barbed wire ditches. The wall cuts deep into Palestinian towns and villages, confiscating Palestinian land and allowing Israel to de facto annex more territory. In its ruling, the International Court of Justice found that the wall "cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security" and that the wall violated the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and the right to freedom of movement.

The ruling, entitled "Legal Consequences Of The Construction Of A Wall In the Occupied Palestinian Territory", reads, in part:

"The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law; . . ."

"Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151 of this Opinion; forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151 of this Opinion; . . ."

"Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem; . . ."

"All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction; all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 have in addition the obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention; . . ."

"The United Nations, 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 and the associated régime, taking due account of the present Advisory Opinion."

As soon as the Court's decision was handed down, the Israeli government said it would continue construction of the wall in violation of the ruling. The U.S. government also continues to express support for the wall and openly calls for ignoring the Court's decision.