In the 4th Week against the Apartheid Wall, some of the major international NGOs acting in Palestine have joined together to denounce once again the construction and effects of the Apartheid Wall. Sadly, they are forced to remind their governments about the existence and mandate of the ICJ decision.
The common statement calls on all governments to respect and enforce the decision concerning the illegality of the Wall and the necessity for the international community to ensure the implementation of this ruling.
International NGOs in Palestine have become major economic â and thus political â players. Their role and growing influence is multifaceted. Their function as donors to Palestinian civil society both supports and restricts Palestinian organizations. Their potential for significant influence is limited by their position as intermediaries between states and Palestinian society. The Occupation is propped up daily through the management of millions of dollars of international aid through international NGOs. It is important that these organizations start to speak up for the Palestinian people and demand clear and effective political solidarity â even though it might have repercussions on their own budgets and scope of action allowed by the Occupation.
FULL TEXT OF THE STATEMENT:
URGENT CALL TO IMPLEMENT THE ICJ ADVISORY OPINION ON THE WALL IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
Jerusalem (9 November 2006)
9 November commemorates the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and today, the 22 undersigned international aid organizations express their alarm at the continuing construction of the Wall in the occupied Palestinian territory and the misery it is causing the Palestinian people. We call for the UN member states to make effective the International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion of 9 July 2004 that calls for Israel to cease construction and to dismantle those sections of the Wall which are located in the West Bank.
Begun in June 2002 the Separation Wall is projected to be more than 703 kilometres long, twice as long as the 1967 borders of the West Bank, and over 4 times longer than the Berlin Wall. The Wall is in parts an eight-meter-high cement structure – over twice the height of the Berlin Wall: in other areas it is an electrified metal fence with trenches, patrol roads, razor wire and motion sensors on each side. The Wall cuts deep into the West Bank and through the middle of towns and neighbourhoods, dividing families from each other. The Wall prevents Palestinian farmers from accessing their land, students from accessing their schools, and the sick, elderly, and expectant mothers are cut off from essential health services.
As international aid agencies working directly with Palestinian communities, we have witnessed first-hand how the Wall is causing irreparable damage to the economy and living standards of Palestinians in the West Bank, and begun what is feared to be irreversible trends to the social fabric of the West Bank. More than 500,000 Palestinians live within a one kilometre strip of the Wall – 20% of the total population of the West Bank. Of them, 60,500 Palestinians, including approximately 34,000 children, will reside between the Wall and the 1967 internationally-recognized West Bank border with Israel â an area now called the “Seam Zone” and an area that is entirely cut off from the rest of the West Bank.
We remind the UN Member States that the ICJ opinion advised that âall states are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem . . ., not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction . . . “, and âto ensure compliance by Israel with international law embodied in [the Fourth Geneva] Convention.â
We also call on the international community to work, as a matter of urgency, towards a UN monitoring system to register damages arising from the construction of the Wall, as instructed by the UN General Assembly to the Secretary General (ES-10/15 of 10 July 2004), and to locate it in the OPT. We also request the members of the Quartet and all governments to make special reference to the ICJ advisory opinion in their statements on this issue, and to integrate the conclusions of this advisory opinion into any negotiation process.
ACSUR Las Segovias
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Asamblea de CooperaciÃ³n por la Paz (ACPP)
Campaign for the Children of Palestine (CCP)
Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (C.I.S.P)
Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC)
Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS)
Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC)
Medecine du Monde international network
Save the Children Sweden
Save the Children UK
SolidaritÃ© Socialiste â Belgium
Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC)
The Palestine Solidarity Association in Sweden
UCODEP – Jerusalem Office
World Vision Jerusalem