The Great Wall of…Israel?

Aerial view of the "Separation Wall" cutting through villages in an effort Israeli attempt to isolate itself from Palestinians.
Aerial view of the “Separation Wall” cutting through villages in an effort Israeli attempt to isolate itself from Palestinians.

Most are familiar with the Berlin Wall as it significantly impacted society in its separation of East and West Germany for almost 30 years. After the destruction of the Berlin Wall, many would be shocked to learn that in this modern era, a nation has build a wall with similar motives as those who erected the structure with the missions of isolation and economic exclusion.

“The Separation Wall” (as referred to as separation barrier, security fence,  apartheid wall,  and anti-terrorist fence) was built by Israel 12 years ago, in 2002, and stands at twice the size of the Berlin Wall. Looming over the cities Bethlehem, Qalqilya, and Abu Dis, Israel maintains that it built the wall for security purposes and the structure is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from forms of Palestinian terrorism such as suicide bombings.

Palestine, arguing that the barrier was an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the false notion of security and was an overt violation of international law as it has the effect of undermining negotiations between the disputing nations (by establishing new borders) brought their concerns to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Palestine further asserted that the wall substantially deviates from the Green Line (Borders Israel determined with its neighboring nations decades prior) into the occupied territories captured by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Ten years ago, on July 9, 2002, the Court issued an advisory opinion finding that considered that “Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defense or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall”. The Court asserted that the wall served as a form of “collective punishment” against the Palestinian population and “the construction of the wall, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law” and ordered it to be dismantled.

Ten years later the wall still stands, severely restricting Palestinians who live nearby and their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel. The ICJ, although derived from international doctrines has no real effect as the United States having one of the five veto votes for the UN Security Council has refused to acknowledge the opinion.

Do you think incidents like so make it ever so clear that the  ICJ needs an “enforcement body” of its own to bring its rulings some legitimacy?


Democracy Now! 

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