venerdì, luglio 09, 2004

The Wall

A highly important issue which will come to a head today surrounds the ruling by the International Court of Justice regarding the "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory". This is the infamous "West Bank Wall" that Israel has claimed it needs in order to protect itself from marauding, homeless Palestinians.

The issue is of such world interest that the World Court has taken the unprecedented step of actually transmitting the reading of the judgement live on the internet for everyone to see the actual process of law. Already, the judgement is seemingly well known though. The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, claims that it has documents in its possession detailing the ruling and quotes from these documents as "The construction of such a wall accordingly constitutes breaches by Israel of its various obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law and human rights instruments". It continues by claiming that 14 out of the 15 international judges supported the judgement, with only one dissenting voice, Professor Thomas Buergenthal, a US citizen that was born in Lubochna, Slovenia. His own background would explain his negative vote, having survived the Second World War, despite his time spent in the Polish Ghetto of Kielce as well as his subsequent incarceration whist still a child in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen.

The only question surrounding his decision is more to do with why he was on the panel of judges anyway. Surely he, more than most, had a very clear involvement with Israel and could not have acted as an independant judge of this matter?

Already Israel has said it will not accept the ruling of the World Court, leaving for a very interesting situation for the rest of the world to deal with. On past history, there can be little doubt that the USA will support the Israeli position - they can hardly support any other position given their own involvement with the Arab world of late.