Israel won’t appear at ICJ hearing on Israel’s separation wall

“Ghetto Abu Dis” written on Israel’s Separation Barrier in Abu Dis near Jerusalem (Photo: Melanie Bartels, 2004)


Yesterday, an Israeli ministerial committee that prepares Israel’s position for the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Israel’s Separation Wall decided to not appear at oral hearings due to begin on February 23.

The committee, chaired by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, accepted the recommendations made by a steering committee that discussed Israel’s position on Monday, and decided to suffice with the written declaration that Israel submitted on January 30, 2004, according to which the ICJ has no authority to discuss the construction of Israel’s separation barrier since Israel considers it “Israel’s basic right of self-defense.”

On Monday, the steering committee met and discussed Israel’s appearance at oral hearings at the ICJ. It decided that the steering committee would formulate its recommendation only after considering all of the positions and statements which various countries have submitted to the ICJ.

Present at the meeting on Monday were Dov Weisglass, director of the Prime Minister’s Office, Yoav Biran, Director-General of the Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cabinet secretary Yisrael Maimon, Shaul Mofaz, Brig.-General Eval Giladi, Sharon’s diplomatic advisor Shalom Turgeman, Gideon Meir, Director-General for Information and Media, Meir Rosen and other senior Justice Ministry, IDF, Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office representatives.

On 8 December 2003, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution (A/RES/ES-10/14) in which it requested the International Court of Justice to “urgently render an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem, considering the rules and principles of international law.

In December of last year the United Nations General Assembly decided to request an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice 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, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

An Israeli government official recently stated, “We believe that the court should not and cannot deal with this political issue, which has to be dealt with by direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians”. At issue before the ICJ is the violation of established rules of international law that the construction of this Wall entails.

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