Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Israeli wall is illegal: ICJ


An aerial view of the concrete wall, part of Israel's security barrier, which separates the West Bank from Israel, in east Jerusalem yesterday. The World Court ruled that Israel's barrier, which has imposed hardship on thousands of Palestinians, violates international law and should be torn down, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.


The International Court of Justice ruled on Friday that the barrier Israel is building in the West Bank breaches international law and cannot be justified by Israel's security concerns.

"The wall ... cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order," said Judge Shi Jiu-yong of China. "The construction of such a wall accordingly constitutes breaches by Israel of its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law."

Israel has said it will not accept a ruling from the Hague-based court on the network of fences, ditches and concrete wall it says it is building for self-defense. Palestinians call it a land grab that destroys their hopes for a viable state.

A spokesman for the European Commission said the decision seemed to confirm the EU's view that the barrier was illegal and urged Israel to remove it from occupied territory.

Israel has said it will disregard the court's non-binding advisory decision.

The court acknowledged Israel's duty to protect its citizens but said it must do so within the law and should compensate Palestinians for homes and land lost or damaged by the building of the 100m-wide strip of walls, ditches and fences.

Palestinians brand the barrier a precursor to annexation of land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and where they seek a viable state under a US-backed "road map" peace plan.

Only US judge Thomas Buergenthal dissented from his 14 international colleagues' opinion.

, the leaked document showed.

The leaked document said the court would declare fences and walls infringed the rights of Palestinians trapped by twists and turns in the barrier that take it around Jewish settlements.

"The construction of the wall along the route chosen and its associated regime are contrary to international law," said the document leaked to reporters in Jerusalem before its slated 3pm announcement in The Hague where the court is based.

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