Oxfam International 9 July 2004
Oxfam International today welcomes the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling on Israel’s separation barrier as a key step towards improving the protection of civilians and enhancing prospects for peace.
The ICJ ruling says that the separation barrier violates international humanitarian law. Oxfam recommends that the construction of the barrier should stop and that sections inside the West Bank be dismantled and removed.
Oxfam director Jeremy Hobbs says: “Today’s ruling is a step in the right direction but the international community must take further action now. We are urgently calling for the protection of civilians.
“It is the responsibility of the international community to ensure that both Palestinians and Israelis enjoy their rights under international humanitarian law. Putting protection first would reduce the suffering of civilians and enhance the climate for real negotiations on a lasting peace.”
Oxfam International recognises the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security, free from the threat of violence.
However, Oxfam International’s experience shows that the barrier is preventing nearly one million Palestinians from reaching their workplaces, schools, hospitals and relatives. It undermines the economy, erodes livelihoods and increases suffering in a population of which half already live below the poverty line of two dollars a day.
About one quarter of the proposed 700 km barrier has been built so far. Ninety per cent of it will be on West Bank land. The barrier deviates from the Green Line between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.