Legal consequences of the construction of the wall in the Occupied territories

(Request for advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice pursuant to General Assembly Resolution A/ES-10/14)

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) release a memorandum on the legal consequences of the construction of the barrier/wall between Israel and the Palestinian Territories. This document is published on the occasion of the first day of the hearings before the International Court of Justice in The Hague ( Request for Advisory Opinion on the Legal consequences of the construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory).

In June 2002, Israeli authorities began constructing what they call a “security fence”. The structure itself, planned to stretch to 687 kilometres in length, varies in different areas. In rural areas, it consists of layers of razor wire, military patrol roads, sand paths to trace footprints, ditches, surveillance cameras and a three-metre high electric fence. This barrier is 60-100 metres wide. An additional buffer zone exists 30-100 metres on each side of the barrier/wall. Palestinians are prohibited from entering this zone, which contains electric fences, trenches, cameras and sensors, and is patrolled by the Israeli military. There are also reported plans for “depth barriers” 150 metres in length, to be erected a few kilometres east of the barrier/wall itself. In urban areas, such as Qalqiliya and East Jerusalem, the barrier/wall is constructed of eight-metre high concrete walls with concrete watchtowers. It is also planned to extend into the Jordan Valley, and will join with the Western section to form two distinct enclosed Palestinian areas to the North and South of Jerusalem. Jericho will be encircled, while East Jerusalem will be isolated from the rest of the West Bank on the one hand and cut in two parts in some areas. A restrictive system of permits and passages through a limited number of gates complements the building of the barrier/wall and applies solely to the Palestinians.

Israel has justified construction of the barrier/wall by claiming it is necessary to ensure the security of Israelis.1 Israel has the right and the duty to protect the security of its citizens and to defend its territory. However, any security measures must be in strict conformity with Israel’s obligations under international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law. It is evident from numerous reports of United Nations agencies,2 the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories3 and leading international and local human rights NGOs that the construction of such a wall seriously hinders the enjoyment of the most fundamental human rights by the Palestinian population and is in violation of international law.

useful links:

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Al Haq

Association for Civil Rights in Israel



International Commission of Jurists

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