LETTER TO THE EDITOR, SENT TO AND PUBLISHED BY THE PRAVDA/THE VERDICT OF ISRAELI HIGH COURT REGARDING THE WALL6 JULY 2004
The Israeli separation barrier divides East Jerusalem and the Palestinian West Bank town of Qalandia. [File: Thomas Coex/AFP]
READERSIsn’t it interesting, when roaming the Internet, to find an old article ofyourself, that you almost forgot!It goes about a Letter to the Editor I wrote in the past  to the webzine”The Pravda” and that they apparently published.Not only is that interesting, but more interesting is the fact, that I wrote about averdict of the Israeli High Court about the building of the Israeli Apartheid Wall You all know, of course, the more known verdict of the International Court ofJustice, declaring the Wall illegal for once and for all  but few people[I almost forgot!] will remember, that the Israeli High Court gave also its opinion,in fact supporting the building of the Wall, except for some minor point of criticism And here it is, this voice of the past from Astrid Essed, protesting against theverdict of the Israeli High Court!See directly below
And see for the notes, under my almost forgotten Letter to the Editor!
ASTRID ESSED: THE VERDICT OF ISRAELI HIGH COURT REGARDING THE WALL6 JULY 2004
Astrid Essed: The verdict of Israeli high court regarding the Wall
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The recent verdict of the Israeli High Court, which states that the building of the Israeli Wall at the West Bank must be adjusted with 30 kilometers because of the violations of human rights is not only a partial fullfilling of the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population, but is also in contarily with International Law.
In the first place the motivation for the verdict is being based on the fact that because of the building of the Wall the inhabitants of the Beit Surik community had no entrance to their agricultural grounds and schools, but in the named verdict the Court doesn’t refer to the other Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank [85.000 people], who are likewise excluded from their agricultural grounds.
In the second place the Israeli building of the Wall is as such a violation of International Law, because it cuts deeply in the occupied Palestinian areas which is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 dd 1967 by which Israel was summoned to withdraw from the in the june-war occupied Palestinian areas.
Further the building of the Wall is being made possible by hugh Palestinian landownings which is yet apart from the flagrant injustice a violation of International Law [the 4th Geneva Convention] which forbids land and house-ownings of ”protected people” [people who are living under an occupation] It is therefore highly recommendable, that the Israeli High Court adjusts its vedict according to the principles of International Law.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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NOTES, AT ”INTRODUCTION”
WIKIPEDIAISRAELI WEST BANK BARRIER
”While Israel is heading for de jure annexation, the Wall is an important tool of Israel’s illegal and ongoing de facto annexation. The Wall’s path and its associated regime are planned to de facto annex some 46% of the West Bank, isolating communities into Bantustans, ghettos and “military zones.”
STOP THE WALL.ORG
”In December 2003, Resolution ES-10/14 was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in an emergency special session. 90 states voted for, 8 against, 74 abstained. The resolution included a request to the International Court of Justice to urgently render an advisory opinion on the following question.
“What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?”
The court concluded that the barrier violated international law”
ISRAELI WEST BANK BARRIER/OPINIONS OF THE BARRIER
ISRAELI WEST BANK BARRIER
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURTLEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE INSTRUCTION OF A WALL INTHE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORYOVERVIEW OF THE CASE
OVERVIEW OF THE CASE
By resolution ES-10/14, adopted on 8 December 2003 at its Tenth Emergency Special Session, the General Assembly decided to request the Court for an advisory opinion on the following question :
“What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the Report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions ?”
The resolution requested the Court to render its opinion “urgently”. The Court decided that all States entitled to appear before it, as well as Palestine, the United Nations and subsequently, at their request, the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, were likely to be able to furnish information on the question in accordance with Article 66, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Statute. Written statements were submitted by 45 States and four international organizations, including the European Union. At the oral proceedings, which were held from 23 to 25 February 2004, 12 States, Palestine and two international organizations made oral submissions. The Court rendered its Advisory Opinion on 9 July 2004.
The Court began by finding that the General Assembly, which had requested the advisory opinion, was authorized to do so under Article 96, paragraph 1, of the Charter. It further found that the question asked of it fell within the competence of the General Assembly pursuant to Articles 10, paragraph 2, and 11 of the Charter. Moreover, in requesting an opinion of the Court, the General Assembly had not exceeded its competence, as qualified by Article 12, paragraph 1, of the Charter, which provides that while the Security Council is exercising its functions in respect of any dispute or situation the Assembly must not make any recommendation with regard thereto unless the Security Council so requests. The Court further observed that the General Assembly had adopted resolution ES-10/14 during its Tenth Emergency Special Session, convened pursuant to resolution 377 A (V), whereby, in the event that the Security Council has failed to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly may consider the matter immediately with a view to making recommendations to Member States. Rejecting a number of procedural objections, the Court found that the conditions laid down by that resolution had been met when the Tenth Emergency Special Session was convened, and in particular when the General Assembly decided to request the opinion, as the Security Council had at that time been unable to adopt a resolution concerning the construction of the wall as a result of the negative vote of a permanent member. Lastly, the Court rejected the argument that an opinion could not be given in the present case on the ground that the question posed was not a legal one, or that it was of an abstract or political nature.
Having established its jurisdiction, the Court then considered the propriety of giving the requested opinion. It recalled that lack of consent by a State to its contentious jurisdiction had no bearing on its advisory jurisdiction, and that the giving of an opinion in the present case would not have the effect of circumventing the principle of consent to judicial settlement, since the subject-matter of the request was located in a much broader frame of reference than that of the bilateral dispute between Israel and Palestine, and was of direct concern to the United Nations. Nor did the Court accept the contention that it should decline to give the advisory opinion requested because its opinion could impede a political, negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It further found that it had before it sufficient information and evidence to enable it to give its opinion, and empha- sized that it was for the General Assembly to assess the opinion’s usefulness. The Court accordingly concluded that there was no compelling reason precluding it from giving the requested opinion.
Turning to the question of the legality under international law of the construction of the wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Court first determined the rules and principles of international law relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly. After recalling the customary principles laid down in Article 2, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Charter and in General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV), which prohibit the threat or use of force and emphasize the illegality of any territorial acquisition by such means, the Court further cited the principle of self-determination of peoples, as enshrined in the Charter and reaffirmed by resolution 2625 (XXV). In relation to international humanitarian law, the Court then referred to the provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907, which it found to have become part of customary law, as well as to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, holding that these were applicable in those Palestinian territories which, before the armed conflict of 1967, lay to the east of the 1949 Armistice demarcation line (or “Green Line”) and were occupied by Israel during that conflict. The Court further established that certain human rights instruments (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) were applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Court then sought to ascertain whether the construction of the wall had violated the above-mentioned rules and principles. Noting that the route of the wall encompassed some 80 per cent of the settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Court, citing statements by the Security Council in that regard in relation to the Fourth Geneva Convention, recalled that those settlements had been established in breach of international law. After considering certain fears expressed to it that the route of the wall would prejudge the future frontier between Israel and Palestine, the Court observed that the construction of the wall and its associated régime created a “fait accompli” on the ground that could well become permanent, and hence tantamount to a de facto annexation. Noting further that the route chosen for the wall gave expression in loco to the illegal measures taken by Israel with regard to Jerusalem and the settlements and entailed further alterations to the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Court concluded that the construction of the wall, along with measures taken previously, severely impeded the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination and was thus a breach of Israel’s obligation to respect that right.
The Court then went on to consider the impact of the construction of the wall on the daily life of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, finding that the construction of the wall and its associated régime were contrary to the relevant provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of the Fourth Geneva Convention and that they impeded the liberty of movement of the inhabitants of the territory as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as their exercise of the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living as proclaimed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Court further found that, coupled with the establishment of settlements, the construction of the wall and its associated régime were tending to alter the demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, thereby contravening the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant Security Council resolutions. The Court then considered the qualifying clauses or provisions for derogation contained in certain humanitarian law and human rights instruments, which might be invoked inter alia where military exigencies or the needs of national security or public order so required. The Court found that such clauses were not applicable in the present case, stating that it was not convinced that the specific course Israel had chosen for the wall was necessary to attain its security objectives, and that accordingly the construction of the wall constituted a breach by Israel of certain of its obligations under humanitarian and human rights law. Lastly, the Court concluded that Israel could not rely on a right of self-defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall, and that such construction and its associated régime were accordingly contrary to international law.
The Court went on to consider the consequences of these violations, recalling Israel’s obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and its obligations under humanitarian and human rights law. The Court stated that Israel must put an immediate end to the violation of its international obligations by ceasing the works of construction of the wall and dismantling those parts of that structure situated within Occupied Palestinian Territory and repealing or rendering ineffective all legislative and regulatory acts adopted with a view to construction of the wall and establishment of its associated régime. The Court further made it clear that Israel must make reparation for all damage suffered by all natural or legal persons affected by the wall’s construction. As regards the legal consequences for other States, the Court held that all States were under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction. It further stated that it was for all States, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination be brought to an end. In addition, the Court pointed out that all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention were under an obligation, while respecting the Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention. Finally, in regard to the United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Court indicated that they should consider what further action was required to bring to an end the illegal situation in question, taking due account of the present Advisory Opinion.
The Court concluded by observing that the construction of the wall must be placed in a more general context, noting the obligation on Israel and Palestine to comply with international humanitarian law, as well as the need for implementation in good faith of all relevant Security Council resolutions, and drawing the attention of the General Assembly to the need for efforts to be encouraged with a view to achieving a negotiated solution to the outstanding problems on the basis of international law and the establishment of a Palestinian State.
”Of course this is not to say that that the Israeli ruling is a good one. For example, like many Israeli rulings there are political points that are treated as legal ones, such as the false characterization of all Palestinian resistance as “terrorism” . Further the HCJ does justify the Wall in principle though the projected segments reviewed were deemed to be illegal because of the humanitarian impact of the suggested route ”
ELECTRONIC INTIFADATHE ISRAELI HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE AND THE APARTHEID WALL15 JULY 2004
With the recent International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion regarding the consequences of the Apartheid Wall, the legality of this enterprise has been much discussed in almost all circles related to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. On the Zionist side, aside from the usual canard about the “anti-Semitism” of the United Nations and the like, many commentaries have pointed to the recent Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruling about the wall and declared, in so many words, that this is the only legal ruling that matters. For example, in the recent diatribe against the ICJ by Alan Dershowitz  he writes: “The Israeli government has both a legal and a moral obligation to comply with the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision regarding the security fence.”
The interesting thing about this is that if one actually reads the HCJ decision , it in fact makes a very strong case against the Wall in general though its ruling only regarded only one small 40 km stretch of the Wall. Unlike the ICJ Opinion which was, as per its mandate, primarily focused on existing international treaties and conventions and Israel’s obligations stemming from them; the HCJ decision was based more on general legal principle.
The Israeli case – Beit Sourik Village Council v. The Government of Israel, Commander of the IDF Forces in the West Bank – was a petition against eight separate land confiscation orders for the building of the Wall. The net result was that seven of these eight confiscation orders were deemed illegal and the one that was upheld was only upheld because the petitioners didn’t really argue against it .
Key point that resulted in the declaration that these confiscation orders were illegal was the principle of “proportionality” that was very succinctly defined in the ruling itself.  The actual factors taken into account were essentially the same that served as the basis of the ICJ Advisory Opinion, specifically the human impact that the Wall had on the resident Palestinian population . The question and standard, treated as the third element of proportionality, deserves to be recalled in full (citations removed):
“The third subtest examines whether the injury caused to the local inhabitants by the construction of the separation fence stands in proper proportion to the security benefit from the the [sic] security fence in its chosen route. This is the proportionate means test (or proportionality “in the narrow sense”). Concerning this topic, Professor Y. Zamir wrote:
“The third element is proportionality itself. According to this element, it is insufficient that the administrative authority chose the proper and most moderate means for achieving the objective; it must also weigh the benefit reaped by the public against the damage that will be caused to the citizen by this means under the circumstances of the case at hand. It must ask itself if, under these circumstances, there is a proper proportion between the benefit to the public and the damage to the citizen. The proportion between the benefit and the damage – and it is also possible to say the proportion between means and objective – must be proportionate.
“This subtest weighs the costs against the benefits. According to this subtest, a decision of an administrative authority must reach a reasonable balance between communal needs and the damage done to the individual. The objective of the examination is to determine whether the severity of the damage to the individual and the reasons brought to justify it stand in proper proportion to each other. This judgment is made against the background of the general normative structure of the legal system, which recognizes human rights and the necessity of ensuring the provision of the needs and welfare of the local inhabitants, and which preserves “family honour and rights” (Regulation 46 of the Hague Regulations). All these are protected in the framework of the humanitarian provisions of the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Convention. The question before us is: does the severity of the injury to local inhabitants, by the construction of the separation fence along the route determine d by the military commander, stand in reasonable (proper) proportion to the security benefit from the construction of the fence along that route?” 
It was on this basis that the HCJ ruled seven of the eight confiscation orders under review to be illegal. Were this same principle to be applied to most of the Wall as it exists today, especially in cases like that of the Qalqilya ghetto, it is pretty reasonable to assume that most, if not all, the Wall would be deemed illegal. Better yet, the proportionality argument is generally accepted in all modern legal systems, unlike the more specific treaty/convention law that the ICJ was forced to focus on.
Of course this is not to say that that the Israeli ruling is a good one. For example, like many Israeli rulings there are political points that are treated as legal ones, such as the false characterization of all Palestinian resistance as “terrorism” . Further the HCJ does justify the Wall in principle though the projected segments reviewed were deemed to be illegal because of the humanitarian impact of the suggested route .
Further, citing the usual excuse used by the HCJ in regard to IDF decisions, it seeks merely to review military actions for their illegality, not to actually impose its judgment on the IDF . This is, along with the IDF option of utilizing the Emergency Regulations, one of the methods allowed to the IDF to freely disregard the High Court of Justice when so inclined. As was the case in the famous court ruling against torture, that in fact merely amounted to a slight change in the phrasing of the IDF terminology, i.e. “ticking bomb” justification, the court’s ruling can be safely ignored if the government chooses – for whatever reason – not to enforce it. This is one of the luxuries of being a non-constitutional state; the political executive is under no actual obligation to enforce any law or legal ruling. In the ruling itself, the IDF freely concedes that should some portion of the fence that is already constructed be deemed illegal, they will pay compensation, but there is no mention – much less compulsion – to reverse illegal sections or the Wall or to in fact stop committing the construction even if deemed illegal. 
Nevertheless, in order to portray itself as being a state that respects the rule of law, High Court of Justice rulings are usually afforded at least some general consideration. Thus the HCJ ruling in Beit Sourik Village Council v. The Government of Israel, Commander of the IDF Forces in the West Bank, is in fact a rather grave embarrassment since the projected Wall cannot be constructed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories at all without inflicting the same disproportionate – and hence illegal – circumstances on other local Palestinians. So how do they intend to reconcile this ruling with the Wall?
The Jerusalem Post provided the answer to this question on July 14: “A petition against the appropriation of land for construction of the security fence near the Kissufim road in the Gaza Strip was turned down Tuesday by the High Court of Justice. The petition was submitted by Palestinian residents of the al-Karara village in the Gaza Strip. According to IBA news, the ruling also cancels a freeze order on construction in the area.”  Since the HCJ ruling only related to one small segment of the Wall, and the determination has already been made, the HCJ can now simply refuse to accept further petitions, based on the argument that the IDF should be assumed to be taking the same proportionality concerns into account in other areas. That is, in so many words, it seems unlikely that there will be an option of legal appeal to any other segments of the Wall, based on the assumption that the IDF will act in “good faith” taking the previous ruling into consideration. Thus, yet agai n, we have another High Court of Justice ruling that can be safely ignored.
Make no mistake about it, the Israeli High Court of Justice is no friend to Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Nevertheless, when Zionists and others choose to counter the ICJ Advisory Opinion citing the HCJ ruling, one can – in all honesty – point out that if the HCJ ruling was in fact applied to the entire Wall, most of it would be illegal even under Israeli law. Of course this won’t happen, and even if it did the IDF is under no obligation to comply anyway, nevertheless, for the scoundrels out to justify the legality of the Wall, the High Court of Justice ruling is certainly no help.
END OF THE ARTICLE
END OF THE NOTES