Popular hearing: �The Wall in Palestine: illegality and consequences”

The Wall around Qalqiliya. A twenty-five foot high concrete cage cuts residents off from their agricultural land, necessary for their survival, and prevents you from traveling even 5 minutes out of the City. A single gate, open at the whims of the occupying army, controls 100,000 residents.


On the 23rd of February, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague will open the hearings on the Wall that Israel is constructing in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The hearings will take place following a request by the United Nations General Assembly to the ICJ to urgently render an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of the Wall.

Internationally, the construction of the Wall has triggered a great deal of indignation due to its grave violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people. In addition, the political consequences are unequivocal: the large-scale annexation of Palestinian land clearly undermines the prospect of a viable Palestinian state.

In the context of the hearings by the ICJ, PENGON/Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign, the Netherlands Stop the Wall Coalition and United Civilians for Peace have organized a symposium on the legal aspects and humanitarian consequences of the Wall. The programme of the day is as follows: the route of the Wall will be illustrated; legal experts will discuss the Wall in terms of international law; harmed Palestinian civilians will describe the impact of the Wall on their daily lives; politicians will be invited to present their views and there will be opportunity for debate with the public. In an audio- visual side programme, a photo exhibition and documentary material pertaining to the Wall will be shown.

21 February 2004 | 11.00-19.00 | Vrije Acedemie, The Hague
Place: Paviljoensgracht 20, The Hague (NL) | Language: English

Further information and registration via United Civilians for Peace:
Tel: +31-30- 880 1539/34 & E-mail: ucp@kerkinactie.nl.

For interviews: call Denise Lubbers on +31-6-51999711 or Henri van de Vall on +31-6-21887402.

Programme

11.00 Opening, by chairperson Sylvia Borren (UCP)

11.05 The Wall � route and construction, by Jamal Juma’ (PENGON/Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign)

11.40 Involvement of the International Court of Justice: moment of truth? by Paul de Waart

12.05 The Wall and international humanitarian law, by Victor de Currea-Lugo (PENGON/Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign)

12.30 Q&A

12.45 Lunch. Documentary �The Wall�, by Benny Brunner

14.00 The Separation Barrier: Between Legitimate Security Considerations and Land Grab, by Yehezkel Lein (B�Tselem)

14.30 Testimonies by Palestinian civilians harmed by the Wall: Sharif Omar; Fayez Odah; Terry Boullata

15.30 Coffee break

16.00 A political perspective on the Wall, by Azmi Bishara (member of the Israeli parliament)

16.30 Q&A and public debate, with experts and politicians

17.30 Summary and closing remarks

Speakers

  • Azmi Bishara - is an Arab Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament Knesset. Born in Nazareth, he is a founding member of the National Democratic Assembly, which represents the Arab minority in Israel under the banner of liberal democratic values. Mr. Bishara has written numerous publications on Islam and democracy, the Palestinian issue and minority rights. Upon completing his PhD in philosophy at Humboldt University in Germany, he joined Bir Zeit University in 1986. There, he was a professor of philosophy from 1986-1996.
  • Terry Boullata - works as headmistress at the New Generation School and Kindergarten in Abu Dis, Jerusalem. The Wall that is currently being built in Abu Dis is over eight meters high, cuts through and confiscates the lands of the residents, divides the community and families and creates what the residents call �Ghetto Abu Dis�. Ms. Boullata will testify on the Wall�s impact on Jerusalem and Abu Dis, as well as on freedom of movement, right to work, access to education and freedom of religion.
  • Victor de Currea-Lugo - is PENGON�s (see below) Legal Analyst and Coordinator of Spanish and Latin American Outreach. He holds a Medical degree as well as a PhD in human rights. In the Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign, Mr. De Currea-Lugo has led one of the most successful advocacy efforts in Spain, where a coalition of over twenty Spanish groups was established in support of the Campaign and against the Wall. He regularly publishes for the Campaign on the Wall and International Law.
  • Jamal Juma’ - is coordinator and spokesperson of the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON) which includes 21 member organizations from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. PENGON is spearheading the Palestinian NGO and grassroots �Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign�, which has been active on a national and international level since October 2002. Mr. Juma� is a Jerusalemite, originating from the village of Jabal Mukaber, which is currently being torn apart by the Wall. He has a BA in Arabic Literature from Bir Zeit University and an MBA in Management from City University London.
  • Yehezkel Lein is Research Director of B’Tselem � The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. He is the author of B’Tselem�s position paper �Behind the Barrier, Human Rights Violations as a result of Israel’s Separation Barrier� and has contributed to numerous reports. Prior to joining B’Tselem, Mr. Lein had various teaching and research positions. He holds an MA in Political Science and a BA in Sociology and Social Anthropology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since 2003, Mr. Lein is studying for an MA in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University, UK.
    Sharif Omar, or Abu Azzam, is a farmer from the village of Jayous, located in the Qalqiliya district. Abu Azzam has lost all of his lands (177 dunums), because of the construction of the Wall. The community of Jayous has lost 72% of its lands. Abu Azzam is currently head of the Land Defence Committees in the Qalqiliya District. He has spoken to countless audiences in various countries on the effects of the Wall and has participated in a number of documentary films. Abu Azzam will testify on the effects of the Wall on livelihood, agriculture and freedom of movement.
  • Fayez Odah is a farmer from the village of Irtah, in the Tulkarem district. He is the Emergency Center Coordinator for the Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign in the Tulkarem district. Due to the building of the Wall, all of Mr. Odah�s property has either been destroyed or isolated on the other side of the Wall. In addition to his family, ten other families have lost their only source of income through the destruction of his lands. Since the construction of the Wall, Mr. Odah has been continuously denied access to his lands by the Israeli army. He will testify on the effects of the Wall on issues such as work, movement and water in the district of Tulkarem.
  • Paul de Waart is emeritus professor of International law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He participated in a NOVIB mission to Palestine in February 1988 after the beginning of the first intifada. This mission resulted in a series of academic seminars in 1990 and 1991 on economic, political and security aspects and shifting perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. de Waart has widely exposed, both in speech and in writing, the systematic irresponsible marginalizing of international law in the ‘agreed political process’ between Israel and Palestine as one of the main root causes of the failure to achieve a much-desired, lasting and just peace in the Middle East.

    Related Links

  • Israel’s Apartheid Wall