Stop The Wall activists protest to Kofi Annan about UN Wall Report

The National Committee To Resist The Apartheid Wall

To the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan,

Dear Sir,

Last month the UN offices in Palestine issued its report regarding the effects of the Wall in the light of the latest publication of the Israeli Occupation Government’s “modifications”. The UN’s latest report revealed various positions that compromise, and even directly contradict, international law and the principles for self-determination and human rights as laid out in its Charter.

1 - We cite the initial paragraph of the report where the UN appears to adopt the official Israeli position regarding the motivations for the Wall:

“In June 2002, the Government of Israel began construction of the Barrier following several suicide bombings and attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli citizens. It maintains that the Barrier is a temporary structure to physically separate the West Bank form Israel to prevent such attacks on Israeli citizens.”

2 - The report refers to the Wall as a “barrier” reinforcing perceptions that the UN is approving of Israeli terminology, and furthermore, buying into the myth that this is an act of separation between the West Bank and Israel. Most alarmingly this position contradicts the important conclusions made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) around the nature of the Wall. Their insistence that it was a Wall and not a barrier came out of meticulous discussion and research, clarified in its detailed findings.

3 - Even more troubling is the complete absence throughout the report of the illegality of the Wall as determined by the ICJ decision. The UN appears to be dealing with the Wall strictly in terms of a humanitarian issue. It makes no mention of Israel as the Occupation Forces and neglects the fundamental political issues pertaining to the Wall in relation to human rights, freedom, self-determination, resisting the occupation and so on.

4 - The report failed to mention the people who will be isolated and affected by the Wall in Jerusalem. We hold grave reservations about such a move and see it as part of a wider political project to open the status of Jerusalem to dispute in line with Israeli wishes to have Jerusalem as its capital.

5 - Moreover, the UN equated the status of “settlers” with the Palestinians in its evaluation of people who will be affected by the Wall. Such a comparison between the Palestinians and settlers is a deeply disturbing development in UN thinking. While the report should have highlighted the illegal existence of the settlers in the West Bank, it chose to be complicit in accepting their de-facto existence in the West Bank by their consideration of how they will be “affected”.

6 - The report failed to mention in any way, Israeli plans to isolate the Jordan Valley via the eastern Wall. While Israeli modifications did not discuss the Jordan Valley (for obvious reasons) the significance of the Wall within Israeli strategy for this region ought to merit great concern in the UN.

7 - Nor did the report display any understanding of the way in which Israel’s perpetual expansion in the West Bank is made possible by the de-facto impasse. The potent signs of Israeli Occupation such as settler-only roads, industrial and security zones, need to be seen within the context of an Apartheid system imposed from above on the Palestinian people. The Wall forms an intrinsic part of the Israeli “colonial project”, drawn up in the so-called “disengagement plan”.

That these so-called “modifications” form the major impetus of the UN report, ignores the wider implications of the Wall and its fundamental ramifications for Palestinian life and existence.

The refusal of the Secretary-General of the UN to visit the Wall is further evidence that the UN is failing to support the legitimate right of the Palestinians to self-determination. By turning the significant decisions made at the ICJ into humanitarian issues, the UN shuns its responsibilities within its mandate, over human rights and freedom.

We are deeply concerned that the position of the UN appears to have become entwined with the interests of the Occupiers and their supporters in the United States.

We demand that the UN abide by international law and work towards the destruction of the Wall and the ending of the illegal Occupation, as it has been mandated to do. This is a crucial time for the UN to show whether it will begin to implement the countless resolutions passed in support of the Palestinian struggle, or whether it will provide meek and hopeless gestures in the form of “humanitarian” assistance.

Yours Faithfully

The National Committee To Resist The Apartheid Wall

c.c. The Office of the President Mahmoud Abbas
c.c. The Office of the Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei
c.c. The Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Al-Qidwa

Related Links

  • Preliminary Analysis of the Humanitarian Implications of February 2005 Barrier Projections, OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS, occupied Palestinian territory (8 March 2005)