The International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Wall – Nine Years Later

“2013, 9 July is the ninth anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In its landmark opinion, the ICJ found that Israel is obligated to cease the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including East Jerusalem; dismantle the structure therein situated; rescind all legislative and regulatory acts relating to the wall; and make reparations for all damage caused by the construction of the wall (para. 163).

To mark the anniversary, UNRWA has chosen to tell the stories of two Palestine refugee families. One lives in the village of Qatanna, northwest of Jerusalem, where construction of the Barrier was completed in 2009. The other lives in Al Walaja, where the Barrier is under construction. These families are both experiencing dispossession and compromised freedom of movement. Their stories highlight the day-to-day impact on Palestinians of Israel’s ongoing refusal to comply with the ICJ ruling.
The Nijim family in Qatanna

The Nijim family has lived in their home on the outskirts of the village of Qatanna since 1967. Qatanna is one of the eight Palestinian villages comprising the ‘Biddu enclave’ in the oPt and surrounded to the north, east and west by the Barrier. Following the construction of the Barrier, the Nijim family found itself located on the ‘Israeli side’ of the Barrier, encircled on three sides and isolated from the rest of the village, and living in the “Seam Zone”. The ‘Seam Zone’ refers to West bank territory that is located between the 1949 Armistice Line (or “Green Line”) and the Barrier. Because they live in the Seam Zone, every member of the Nijim family is required to obtain permits from the Israeli authorities in order to reside in their own home.

In 2009, the Israeli authorities built an ‘enclosed,’ gated concrete bridge over the Barrier’s patrol road to allow the family access to the ‘West Bank side’ of the Barrier. Until 2011, the Nijim family held the key to the gate that locked them onto their property. However, that year, without any warning, the authorities replaced the lock with an electronic surveillance system, complete with five video cameras and an intercom system. Now, every entry and exit from the Nijim property is controlled remotely by the Israeli Border Police. On many occasions, the family is stuck waiting for hours for the Border Police to open the gate.

The isolation of the Nijim family has had significant impact on their daily lives. Because access to their home is prohibited by the Israeli authorities to anyone other than the 18 primary inhabitants, they are not able to celebrate even the most important of events, such as family weddings, in their home. With the holy month of Ramadan approaching, the family will once again be unable to host guests. Furthermore, their ability to come and go depends on the whims of the remote operators of the electronic gate that controls access to their home. In light of the access constraints, when the press team tried to interview the family, it could only do so by phone.

“We will remain here and keep fighting through the difficulties we face until the end,” asserts Mr Nijim when asked how much longer he believes he can live through these restrictions on his family’s movement. “My home has become a group prison for me and my family, but we are not going anywhere.”
The Hajajeh family in Al Walaja

The story of Omar Hajajeh of Al Walaja, a village between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, adds a counterpoint to that of the Nijim family in Qatanna. Mr Hajajeh, his wife and their three children are living in a house located along the route of the Barrier. Once the construction of the Barrier has been completed, the Hajajehs’ house will be completely isolated from Al Walaja. The only access point for the family between their home and the village will be through the tunnel built under the Barrier by the Israeli authorities.

The family has recently been told that a gate will be constructed to allow them access to their home. Mr Hajajeh fears that the introduction of a gate will further diminish his freedom of movement and increase his isolation from his ancestral lands. As with the Nijim family, access to and from the house will be completely in the control of the Israeli authorities. Once the construction of the gate is complete, the family’s guests will have to coordinate their visit with the Israeli authorities some 12 hours in advance of their arrival. Furthermore, no one other than the primary inhabitants of the Hajajeh house will be allowed by the Israeli authorities to stay in their household overnight.

Although construction of the Barrier was halted for several months, work resumed from April 2010 until early 2013 on the eastern, northern and western sides of Al Walaja. The Barrier is now in its final stages of construction.
Israel’s obligations to comply with international law

As the occupying power, Israel must take all measures to fulfill its obligations under international law, including: comply with the findings of the ICJ Advisory Opinion, namely cease the construction of the wall in the oPt, including East Jerusalem; dismantle the structure therein situated; rescind all legislative and regulatory acts relating to the wall; and make reparations for all damage caused by the construction of the wall.”



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11 responses to “The International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Wall – Nine Years Later

  1. Christopher Proudlove


    EUROPEAN statesmen in the 18th,19th and 20th centuries, including Britain’s Lord Palmerston, Lloyd George and Napoleon Bonaparte of France, favoured the rebirth of a Jewish nation. (Barbara Tuchman, Bible and Sword; England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour Ballantine Books, 1984, p337).
    In 1908 Winston Churchill called for a Jewish state. The “lifelong Zionist” saw the establishment of a “strong, free Jewish state” as a “notable step toward harmonizing disposition of the world among its people.” Churchill was later even more explicit. He stated: “It is manifestly right that the scattered Jews should have a national centre and a national home and be reunited and where else but in Palestine with which for 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated? We think it will be good for the world, good for Jews, and good for the British Empire, but also good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine … They shall share in the benefits and progress of Zionism.” (The Question of Palestine, New York: Vintage Books, 1992 ed.) How prophetic!
    American Methodist minister the Reverend William Blackstone petitioned the U.S. government to restore Palestine for the Jewish people. He argued that the Jews had never given up their title to the land of their ancestors after being expelled by Roman force. Rather than being forced to convert to Islam during the Arab conquest of the Middle East, Jews also left their ancestral homeland. Blackstone was supported by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a future president, William McKinley, and many other influential American 19th century figures. (David Brog: Standing with Israel; Why Christians Support the Jewish State, Lake Mary: Front Line, 2006, pp 99-101).
    Alan Dershowitz’s book The Case for Israel quotes a leading Zionist, Nachum Sokolov, telling a Cairo newspaper in 1914 that Arabs should view the Jewish refugees as fellow Semites “returning home” and together they could both prosper.
    In 1917 the Balfour Declaration of the British Government called for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Jews who had warmed to Theodor Hertz’s call for a Jewish state at the end of the 19th century were delighted. Pogroms were still rife in Eastern Europe and the reconstitution of a Jewish state in the Holy Land was in line with their dreams and aspirations.
    The Republic of Turkey, successor to the defeated Ottoman Empire after the First World War, renounced rights to all territories the country once held. The Zionist Organization asked the victorious Allied powers to “recognize the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the right of the Jews to reconstitute in Palestine their National Home.” They explained that they had been driven out of their ancestral homeland by violence and for centuries had never ceded their rights to the Holy Land. This claim was recognized by San Remo Conference of 1920 and in the British Mandate for Palestine.
    Those who say that the words “national home” did not mean a fully-fledged state are mistaken. This is made clear by the U.S. position at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference: “It will be the policy of the League of Nations to recognize Palestine as a Jewish state as soon as it is a Jewish state in fact.”
    In the same year U.S. President Woodrow Wilson said: “I am persuaded that the Allied nations, with the fullest concurrence of our own government and people, are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish commonwealth.” In 1922, the U.S. Congress resolved that a “national home for the Jewish people be established in Palestine.”
    Churchill noted that the substance of the Balfour Declaration had been reaffirmed in several binding multi-national treaties, as well as the League of Nations mandate itself, and was “not susceptible to change.” San Remo thus became a matter of binding international law.
    The League of Nations did not create new rights for Jews, but acknowledged a pre-existing right which had not been forfeited by Jewish people or suspended by international law after successive empires ruled the Holy Land for 1,800 years. The Permanent Court of Justice, a forerunner of the International Court of Justice, declared the creation of a Jewish national home, including Jerusalem, was an “international legislative act.” (Douglas Faith, William V O’Brien, Eugene V Rostow, Israel’s Legitimacy in law and History, New York: Centre for Near East Policy Research), 1993).
    Emir Faisal, who would later become king of Iraq, commented at the Paris Peace Conference that the Arab deputation regarded the Zionist Organization’s proposals as “moderate and proper.” He added: “We will do our best, so far as we are concerned, to help them through; we wish the Jews a hearty welcome home.” (Esco Report, p 143). Faisal wanted one huge Arab state and a Jewish Palestine to emerge from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. He wrote to Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann that “all necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale.”
    In accordance with U.S. wishes, the victorious allies were not going to colonise the Levant but set up new sovereign states. Regions that were not ready for self-government were to be temporarily administered by British and French Mandates. Britain was given the responsibility of setting up the institutions of government in Palestine ready for Jewish self-rule.
    Palestine thus became a legal entity for the first time not just a geographical area. The Balfour Declaration was incorporated into international law and the Mandate granted sovereignty over Palestine to the Jewish people even though most of the world’s Jews lived elsewhere.
    The Jewish state draws on these legal declarations for its legitimacy which were approved unanimously by the 51-member League of Nations.
    The League approved the British plan to create the new Mandate territory of “The Trans-Jordan Province of Palestine” in September 1922. Now known as Jordan, it gained its independence in 1946. The territory to the east of the River Jordan covered 78% of the old Palestine. The rest of Palestine, including the Gaza Strip, was earmarked for the future state of Israel.
    It is interesting to note that the Jews embraced the name of Palestine. They were happy to be known as Palestinian Jews. Arabs called themselves Southern Syrians. Since Israel’s independence, however, the Palestine Post has become The Jerusalem Post.
    The independent State of Israel was restored at the end of the British Mandate on May 14, 1948. This fulfilment of the San Remo agreement was set in stone a year later when the Jewish state was granted membership of the United Nations.
    So, when you hear of Israel “illegally occupying” Judea and Samaria (known as the West Bank from 1951) it is not so. Israel calls the West Bank “disputed territory” because it has not formally annexed this part of its ancient homeland, apart from its ancient capital of Jerusalem.

  2. Christopher Proudlove

    I do feel sorry for Palestinian Arabs who suffer because of the security walls and fences. I wish they were not in existence, but it must be noted that they were erected because of the suicide bombings and terrorist attacks that targeted Israelis, including Israeli Arabs. The security measures have succeeded in reducing the shocking death toll. What the Palestinian Arabs must do to see there removal is to adopt the policy of loving one’s neighbour, abandon terrorism, stone-throwing, racism, and blatant lies about Israel.

  3. Christopher Proudlove

    Kimberly Troup, of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, writes: What about the Palestinians? Don’t they have rights to own land and live in their ancestral homeland?
    To answer this question, we have to go back in history. The people who are currently called “Palestinian” are not the same people who were called “Palestinian” a century ago.
    The area was called the Land of Israel or Judea (a place belonging to Jews) from Biblical times until 135 AD, when the Roman Emperor Hadrian changed the name of the province from Judea to Syria Palaestina, a brilliant PR stunt to sever the Jewish people’s connection to the region. This was done following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire. For most of the period between 135 AD and May 15, 1948, the area was referred to as Palestine or the Land of Israel. From the 2nd Century until the 19th Century, this area called “Palestine” was conquered, captured, sacked, pillaged, and burned by a multitude of empirical armies. But not one of these Empires sought to establish a state of their own in Palestine, nor did they establish their capital in Jerusalem or anywhere else in “Palestine.” The last Empire that controlled “Palestine” was the Ottoman Empire, which fell in 1919 following the First World War. At the conclusion of that war, the victorious allies carved up the entire Middle East, granting independence to some and creating mandates in some of the other areas. Great Britain was awarded the Mandate for Palestine.
    The language of the Balfour Declaration, promising the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine and close Jewish settlement throughout the area, was incorporated in the Mandate’s foundational document. While the mandate applied to the entire area of Palestine, representing all of Israel and Jordan as we know these countries today, in 1923, the British violated the original purpose of the mandate by separating 76% of the Mandatory territory to create Jordan, giving it to the Hashemite family from the Hejaz area of Arabia, which rules the country to this day.
    Since the First Century there has always been a remnant of Jews who continued to live in their ancient homeland. For part of this time, they were few and scattered, the vast majority of Jews having been exiled and forced to leave the area by the Romans. And yet there remained a handful of Jews who stayed in the land. When the British controlled Palestine, the Jews there referred to themselves as “Palestinian”. The Arabs did not recognize a separate national identity for those Arabs living in Palestine and they referred to themselves simply as Arabs, as did the Arabs of much of the Middle East. They saw themselves as part of the Greater Arab Nation that dominated most of the Middle East. Many Arabs immigrated to Palestine following the First Jewish Aliyah (coming home) that took place from 1882 – 1903. Jews came home to “Palestine” mostly from Russia and Eastern Europe because the pogroms and persecution were so intense that they had been driven from their homes and forced to flee. Why did they choose to settle in the Ottoman Empire? Because for over 2,000 years, since their ancestors had been driven from Jerusalem and Judea by the Roman armies, the Jewish people have prayed three times a day, every day, to return to the Land promised to them by God. God answered that prayer and when the time was right the Jews started to come home.
    They came home to a land that was desolate, absolutely barren. For centuries, bloodshed and fighting had swarmed over this small piece of land, decimating all natural resources and beauty. Yet, they did not give up hope. They were so happy to fulfill the dream of hundreds of generations to return to this land. They immediately began to tend the land. They planted crops, sanitized water, built homes, and drained swamps. What did they need to accomplish this incredible task? They needed willing hands and strong backs, and both Arabs and Jews sought these new jobs. And thus began the Arab immigration to this area. There were jobs available, money to be made, life to be improved. So the Arabs followed the Jews into “Palestine” and began to work. They moved here from all the surrounding countries, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Arabia. They came because they could find work and feed their families.
    On May 14, 1948 the British Mandate for Palestine ended, and the Jewish nation of Israel was born. Overnight, everyone Jewish who was “Palestinian” became “Israeli.” In time, many Arabs became “Israeli” as well. The term “Palestinian” was not used again until 1964, when Yasser Arafat organized the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization. It is interesting to note, that in 1964, Jordan controlled all of the area that is referred to as the “West Bank” or the “Israeli Occupied Territories”. The occupation that the PLO referred to then was Israel within the pre-67 borders, for the PLO from the beginning refused to accept the existence of Israel within any boundaries.
    It wasn’t until the miraculous Six-Day War in 1967 when Jordan attacked Israel from the Old City of Jerusalem and the hills of Judea and Samaria which it controlled, that Israel responded to those attacks and liberated the area. God performed a miracle, and the heart of Biblical Israel was once again under Jewish control. For the first time in over 2,000 years the ruling power in Judea and Samaria was once again Jewish, their capital is Jerusalem, and Jews have continued to come home to their ancient homeland from the four corners of the earth.
    Today there are people who call themselves “Palestinian” who have co-opted the ancestral homeland of another people, the Jews! Their heritage consists of hatred, bloodshed, murder, and terrorism as its core value. Generations of Palestinians have been raised hating the Jewish “occupiers”. They have been raised with a value system that exalts the murder of innocents and twists the truth into lies.
    Today the Palestinian people do not always have it easy. However, their hardships could be done away with if they laid down their weapons against Israel. If they stopped trying to kill and destroy at every opportunity, if they chose to live like neighbors should. There is more than enough land in Israel for everyone. As tiny as the Land of Israel is, there is room for all. Jews value human life and dignity, freedom and democracy. They want their Arab/Palestinian “neighbors” to live a good life, to have jobs, and education. To raise their families, attend Mosque and celebrate their holy days. The Jew’s greatest desire is to live in peace with their Arab neighbors.
    Today, there are road-blocks, there are security checks, there are Israeli army patrols, and there is a security fence/wall. Sometimes these security issues cause difficulties for the Palestinians and sometimes for the Israelis as well. But they are all vitally necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. And the people of Israel are living in a place where they are under attack from without and from within. Given the choice between suicide or an effective army, the Israelis will always choose to defend themselves. Because they will always choose life.

  4. Christopher Proudlove

    It must be pointed out that the League of Nations sanctioned the creation of Trans-Jordan ( now Jordan) but it robbed the future state of Israel land to the east of the River Jordan that traditional belonged to Israel.

  5. Christopher Proudlove

    THE past few months have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of attacks by Palestinian Arabs against Israelis in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), according to The Times of Israel.
    Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon told settler leaders that “intensified IDF action and improved cooperation with the Palestinian security forces” had resulted in a two-thirds drop in the number of attacks over the past two months.
    The meeting with the settler leaders was a follow-up to a similar gathering that took place in the Knesset in March amid a wave of violence so severe that had some in the security establishment predicting the start of a third Palestinian Intifada (popular uprising). At the height of the tension, there were reports of as many as 200 attacks a day, mostly rock throwing incidents and Molotov cocktail attacks.
    The upsurge, which began at around the time when Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, in mid-November 2012, carried on into the winter and spring with dozens of attacks on Israeli vehicles, road closures and violent protests.
    The situation, in which settlers were afraid to leave their homes, Alon said, led the army to intensify its efforts at maintaining security and resulted in a crackdown on any displays of violence by the Palestinians.
    According Alon, the past two months have seen a 64% decline in Molotov cocktail throwing incidents — from 79 in March to just 29 in June — and a nearly 70% drop in rock throwing incidents.
    Alon credited the decline to major arrests by the IDF in cooperation with the Shin Bet, who were able to identify the perpetrators of the attacks. Alon also cited increased military presence in known “hot spots” and improved cooperation with the Palestinian Authority security forces.
    The settler leaders thanked the IDF for its efforts and expressed hope that the trend would last.

  6. Christopher Proudlove

    PALESTINIAN Arab Christians from northern Israel who are tired of being lumped in with other Arabs who are antagonistic toward the Jewish state have launched a new political party that aims to make a positive contribution to the Jewish state, reports the Messianic Jewish magazine israel today.
    Under the banner “Sons of the New Covenent – the Israeli Christian Party,” the faction hopes to take part in future Knesset elections. [In Hebrew the name of the party is Brit Hahadashah, the Hebrew translation of New Testament]
    In an interview with Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, party founder Bishara Shlayan said that after encountering difficulties in helping his son and nephew join the Israeli army, he and other like-minded Christians established a forum to encourage Christian enlistment in the IDF.
    That forum has significantly boosted the number of young local Christians joining the IDF over the past year, and resulted in the Israeli army appointing a dedicated coordinator for the Arab Christian sector.
    But Shlayan knew they had to go a step further.
    “We saw that we have to establish a political party, so we advertised in local Arab newspapers and the initiative took off [attracting] Christians who recognize that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews,” Shlayan explained to the newspaper.
    He lamented that for 65 years the Christian community has allowed anti-Israel Arab parties to represent it in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), noting that these parties are working for a Muslim agenda that holds no benefit for the Christians.
    Shlayan insisted that even if one does not agree with every political decision, “a man belongs to his state. This is integrity. You must be a true citizen… and the first requirement [of a citizen] of Israel, and I support this, is the need to understand that this is the land of the Jewish people.”

  7. Christopher Proudlove

    REUTERS has just confirmed UN Watch’s exclusive report that Iran and Syria are running for seats on the UN’s highest human rights body.
    Hillel Neuer, the head of UN Watch, a Geneva-based advocacy group that monitors the work of the United Nations, called on the U.S. and the EU to mobilize opposition to Iran and Syria, as well as to “others in the rogues’ gallery of declared candidates: Algeria, Chad, China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.”
    “The U.S. and EU should encourage worthy candidates from each regional group to throw their hats in the ring, and then lobby for their election over the current slate of tyrannies and human rights abusers,” said Neuer.
    “Countries that murder and torture their own people must not be allowed to become the world’s judges on human rights,” he added.
    “Given that Iran was recently elected to the UN commission on women’s rights, and Syria to UNESCO’s human rights committee, we cannot take anything for granted,” said Neuer.
    “Syria is certainly less popular now, but Iran chairs the largest UN voting bloc — the non-aligned movement — through which it hosted a Tehran summit last year that drew many world leaders including UN chief Ban Ki-moon,” Neuer said. “We need to seriously fight these candidacies.”

  8. Christopher Proudlove

    A law that would have provided a “balance” between the release of Arab terrorist prisoners and Jewish prisoners was soundly defeated in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on its first reading Wednesday, writes David Lev of Arutz Sheva newspaper.
    Fifty three MKs voted against, while only nine voted in favor – almost all of them from Shas, which proposed the law. Only one coalition MK – Moshe Feiglin – voted in favor, while none of the Bayit Yehudi’s 12 MKs voted for the bill.

    The idea for a “balance bill” such as the one that was defeated Wednesday has been around for a long time, first proposed by Shas and Likud MKs when Ariel Sharon was still Prime Minister. The law states that if Arab terrorist prisoners are released as part of an exchange deal, such as the one that saw over 1,000 terrorists go free in return for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, or if the government releases terrorists as a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority, the Prisons Service would be required to release an equal number of Jewish prisoners who were in prison for “nationalistic” or other political “crimes.”

    The law would correct an injustice that has been ongoing for decades, supporters said – that Arab terrorists, even those who murdered Jews, are given a “get out of jail free” card, while Jewish prisoners, whose only crime often was protesting an injustice, are stuck in prison for years.

    Speaking yesterday (Wednesday), Shas MK David Azoulai urged Knesset members to support the bill. Despite the government’s lack of support for the bill, Azoulai said that he had been urged by many coalition MKs – such as those from Bayit Yehudi – to introduce the bill in the Knesset. During the vote, however, most of the Bayit Yehudi MKs were out of the room – and those who were present, specifically Orit Struk and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, abstained. Ariel had been a strong supporter of the law when it was introduced in the previous Knesset (and also defeated), as was coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud), who voted against.

    Legal rights group Honenu slammed the government for failing to support the law, especially considering the fact that most Likud MKs have supported a version of it in the past. “It is sad that in this government, under the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu, the government would be opposed to such a law. We realize that many MKs support it but voted against because of partisan politics” – not wishing to give Shas a victory – “but this is a matter beyond politics, going to the essence of fairness and justice.”

    With that, the group said, it was hopeful that the law would eventually be passed. “We may have lost the battle, but not the war. We will continue to work until it is passed.”

  9. Stop spamming the blog with Hasbara, Chris. Your bottom three posts don’t belong in this blog. If you continue to make your cut and paste Hasbara comments in the wrong place they will be deleted.



  10. Christopher Proudlove

    The three posts do belong in this blog in my opinion. You cut and paste items. You complain of CfZ censorship and now you are threatening to delete my posts. No wonder you have dubbed yourself a man “not to be trusted.” You are always complaing that Israel is not fair to Arabs and yet when I do a post showing that sometimes Israel treats Arabs more favourably that its own citizens you are poised to delete it.
    You often eulogise the United Nations yet when I cite a news agency peace ripping it to shreds you are minded to put it in the trash can.
    To read your comments you would think that there were no Israeli Arabs who favoured life alongside Jews. I have shown that this is not true with the launch of a new political party.
    You have complained about settler attacks, but when I give the other side of the stone-throwing picture you are peeved about it.
    The article by Kimberly Troup supports my claim about Israel’s legitimacy in international law.
    Man up, Trevor, you big cissy!

  11. “The three posts do belong in this blog in my opinion. You cut and paste items. You complain of CfZ censorship and now you are threatening to delete my posts.”

    The problem is not whether your comments are cut/pastes.

    You are deliberately posting up comments in the wrong threads. You are more than welcome to post your comments/cut/pastes in the proper and relevant threads.


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