UN Assembly to meet Friday in emergency session on Israeli wall ruling

Concrete parts of Israel’s Apartheid Wall waiting for construction on the main road in ar-Ram, between Kalandia and Beit Hanina (Arjan El Fassed)

The United Nations General Assembly will reconvene on Friday its long-running emergency special session on the question of Palestine to examine the advisory opinion issued last week by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of Israel’s construction of a separation barrier.

The resumption of the tenth emergency special session comes at the request of the a majority of UN Member States, the Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, according to Michele Montas, spokesperson for the Assembly’s President.

Last Friday the ICJ - the UN’s principal judicial organ - issued a 14-to-1 majority opinion stating that Israel’s building of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory is illegal, and that construction must stop immediately and Israel should make reparations for any damage caused.

The World Court’s non-binding ruling also said the Assembly and Security Council should consider what steps to take to bring to an end the illegal situation created by the wall.

The ICJ’s action stemmed from an Assembly resolution passed last December during a resumption of the emergency special session asking the Court to urgently render an opinion on the legal consequences of the wall’s construction.

That meeting was the fourth resumption of the emergency special session during the Assembly’s current term. In October the 191-member body overwhelmingly adopted a measure by a vote of 144 to 4 demanding that Israel stop and reverse construction of the wall.

The emergency special session dates back to 1997 when Israel began construction of a new settlement south of East Jerusalem and after the Security Council met twice on that issue but failed to adopt resolutions. Using a formula known as “Uniting for Peace,” which allows the Assembly to step in on security issues when the Council fails to act, the special emergency session was convened in April, July and November of that year, and also in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

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