On 10th Anniversary of Historic ruling against Israel’s Wall, Israel bombs Gaza: at the UN, 86 top legal experts urge UN and third-state action, protests continue in Palestine, worldwide events to stop Israeli impunity.
Leading international jurists and legal networks from all continents, among them UN special Rapporteurs, acting and former judges, leading law professors as well as national and continental professional associations, called on the United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and world leaders to take “concrete action” against Israel’s wall in the occupied West Bank.
The 9th of July 2014 marks ten years since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its advisory opinion on the Wall Israel is constructing in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The ICJ found the Wall to be part of the illegal Israeli settlement and annexation enterprise. It called for Israel to cease construction, tear down the sections already built and make reparations for damages caused. The letter denounces the failure of the United Nations to implement the ICJ ruling and provides concrete recommendations for states to follow to break the inaction.
Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinians grassroots campaign Stop the Wall commented:
“While Gaza is once again under full scale military attack, the anniversary of the ICJ opinion on the Wall is a timely reminder of the international connivance with the ongoing injustice against our people and the international community’s legal obligations to stop Israeli violations of our fundamental rights."
The ICJ ruling affirmed, that international law obliges the international community not to recognize, aid or assist in maintaining the illegal situation created by Israel with the Wall and the associated regime of laws, orders and administrative measures. The ICJ also called on the international community to adopt further measures in order to bring this illegal situation to an end and ensure Israel’s compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. Ten years later, in the face of international inaction and Israel’s continued construction of the Wall and settlements, dozens of Palestinian coalitions and organizations issued a call to make July the “Month against the Apartheid Wall” under the slogan “Stop Israeli Impunity”.
“With our call for action, we highlight the fact that Israel’s continued occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and the racist discrimination, oppression and displacement of our people, are the cause of past and current Palestinian protests and must end”, says Jamal Juma.
The letter will be presented at a special meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and member-states will be present. Signed by legal experts, the letter urges the UN and its member states “to comply with their obligations and take legally permissible measures to ensure the removal of the Israeli Wall from occupied Palestinian territory and the associated regime of settler colonies, institutionalized discrimination and annexation.” Such measures include a comprehensive and binding ban on trade with the illegal Israeli settlements, a halt of all economic relations with companies and institutions involved in these Israeli violations of international law, as well as prosecution of actors involved in war crimes.
“I believe the letter reflects the right approach to a just cause,” says Shawqi Issa, the Palestinian Minister representing the state of Palestine at the UN meeting. “All states hold legal responsibilities as outlined in the ICJ ruling and the IV Geneva Convention, and should act immediately with respect to international law and the ruling of the ICJ by adopting the measures recommended in the letter.”
In order to build pressure on governments to adopt the recommended measures, events against the Wall and Israeli impunity will be carried out in at least two dozen countries throughout the month of July. From the US and Britain to Paraguay, South Africa and India, civil society organizations will be holding protests, petition drives, conferences, film screenings, art exhibits, and more. For more information regarding the Month against the Apartheid Wall, please contact the individuals listed above or visit http://icj10.stopthewall.org.