Open Letter to Palestine solidarity activists and human rights defenders
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Open Letter to Palestine solidarity activists and human rights defenders

Dear friends,

The fifth anniversary of the decision of the International Court of Justice calling for the dismantling of the Wall is less than three weeks away. A glaring proof of the impunity the international community grants to Israel, it must spur people and human rights defenders worldwide to renew their efforts.

As Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and the popular committees against the Wall and the settlements, we have been resisting the Wall since the beginning. Today, the people who mobilize in weekly protests to defend their land against the Wall face rapidly increasing repression by Occupation forces, and we call on you to stand with us against the arrests, injuries and killings of our people.

Five years ago, the ICJ seemed to reinforce our struggle. On July 9 2004, the ICJ ruled that:
– the construction of the Wall in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is illegal and that Israel must cease construction, dismantle the Wall and to make reparations for the damage caused
– no state may aid or assist the maintenance of the Wall and its regime and all states parties to the IV Geneva Convention are obliged to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law

Despite the clarity of this ruling, neither Israel nor the international community have indicated that they respect their obligations under international law. Instead, the Wall has simply disappeared from the agenda of international diplomacy. Yet, on the ground the destruction it causes continues unabated. In the first four months of this year, Occupation forces have already constructed more than during the entire year of 2008. As a result of this project, a staggering 266,422 Palestinians living in communities up and down the West Bank have been surrounded, isolated and face displacement.

The United Nations has taken no action to implement the ICJ decision and, with the exception of a few principled governments, states have put no pressure or sanctions on Israel. International business continues to finance and provide material support to the Wall and the settlements. If Obama and the European governments are serious about their position against the settlements, then they must first force the implementation of the ICJ decision, which stresses the illegality of the Wall, settlements and the associated regime. In this way, political leaders can both implement international law and give the people confidence in peace and the future.

Left alone to defend our rights and the rule of international law, the popular committees have continued their mobilization with the support of human rights defenders from all over the world. They have slowed down the Wall’s construction and won back land – yet the ultimate aim to tear down the Wall is still far away. Palestinian villages continue to pay a high price for their steadfastness: 16 people, half of them children, have already been killed by Occupation forces during protests, while hundreds more have been wounded or arrested. Entire villages endure curfews and closures of Wall gates as collective punishment. The regular use of live bullets against the people on their own land is only the latest of a long series of repressive measures that violate our political rights.

We ask you to stand with us on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the ICJ decision and to help protect the popular committees, return the Wall to the agenda and pressure your governments and the UN to comply with their obligation to ensure the implementation of the ICJ decision and to stop international business from profiting from Israeli crimes.

You can do so by:
– Organizing awareness raising events for July 9
– Contacting your media, urging them to cover the Wall and the struggle against it
– Writing to your consulates and MPs asking them to protest the repression of the popular committees and to work for the implementation of the ICJ decision (see sample letter here)
– Including the Wall in your campaigning and lobbying efforts

Thank you for your support.

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign