United Nations Department of Public Information 13 July 2004
On 13 July 2004, the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued the following statement concerning the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion, requested by the General Assembly, on 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:
The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People welcomes the advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice on 9 July 2004 which states that the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and its associated regime are contrary to international law. It found that the construction of the wall severely impeded the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination. The Court’s ruling further states that Israel is under an obligation to cease construction of the wall, dismantle the structure and make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The Bureau is encouraged by the Court’s historic stand, which emphasizes adherence to the rules and principles of international law as the sine qua non for a negotiated solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If applied with vision and determination, the advisory opinion has the potential to contribute to restoring political dialogue and negotiations between the parties. The Bureau is convinced that the Court’s ruling will strengthen the efforts by the international community at various levels to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine.
At the same time, the Bureau notes that the Court’s advisory opinion comes on the heels of the 25th anniversary of the adoption of Security Council resolution 446 (1979), reaffirmed numerous times since March 1979, which determined that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 had no legal validity and constituted a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
The Bureau calls upon Israel to comply fully with the Court’s ruling and to fulfil its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law and human rights instruments, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, and its obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.