February 16, 2004
The Israeli government claims that reference of the issue of the “separation wall” to the International Court in the Hague is not a legal issue but a political one.
They are right. The “separation wall” is a political issue.
They are wrong. The “separation wall” is also a legal issue.
It is a political issue.
The “separation wall” is the most brutal way of creating ‘facts on the ground’.
It separates Palestinian farmers from their lands.
It separates Palestinians villages from Palestinian villages.
It stops Palestinian children getting to their schools.
It stops Palestinian families from leading normal family lives.
The “separation wall” is destroying the possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.
The “separation wall” does not serve security; it serves the occupation.
The “separation wall” will fuel despair.
Despair fuels terrorism.
The occupation fuels terrorism.
It is a legal issue
Israel is a signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention which deals with the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
This Convention protects people who find themselves under occupation and applies ‘in all circumstances’. All countries, including the USA, accept that the Convention applies in this case – except Israel.
The Convention prohibits violence to life and person, torture, taking of hostages, and humiliating and degrading treatment.
It prohibits the use of collective punishments and measure of intimidation.
It prohibits the forcible transfer of people from occupied territories.
It prohibits any annexation of territory.
The legal question is whether Israel is in breach of its obligations under the convention. There is a prima facie case, made out by very many Israeli and Palestinian NGOs.
The court must hear the case.
We call on all democratic people in Europe, in civil society and as elected representatives from the local to the European level to support the struggle of the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps against the Wall.
We call on them to show this support visibly through a presence in front of the headquarters of the International Court in The Hague on February 23rd.
16th February 2004