July 19, 2004
ICJ RULING ON ISRAEL BARRIER: A 'MORAL VICTORY'
FOR THE PALESTINIANS
** Conservative, Israeli
outlets say the verdict gives "indirect support to suicide bombers."
** Global media agree that
Israel "does not have the right to sink into illegality" to fight
** Muslim writers judge
that the decision proves "there is still justice in our world."
** A common Arab view is
that the U.S. judge's dissent proves the U.S. "has lost objectivity."
'Just another anti-Israel publicity stunt'-- The "flawed" ICJ ruling "could
potentially cripple all democracies in their battle against terror," said
writers who concluded that the decision suggests Israel "is not allowed to
defend itself against malicious terrorists." The world "cannot but agree" with
building the barrier, added Italy's elite Il Foglio, because "where
it has been erected, terrorist attacks have diminished." A Canadian writer defended the wall because
Israelis have the "right not to be blown to bits." Many Israeli analysts blamed the
"tendentious verdict" on the "hostility toward Israel that is
sweeping Europe"; the conservative Jerusalem Post asked why Europe
places "a higher value on Palestinian property than on Jewish lives."
Do 'not use the excuse of self-defense to build the wall'-- Liberal dailies backed the ruling: though Israel "must have the right to
protect itself," it lacks a "carte blanche to ignore international
law." Papers such as Belgium's Le
Soir accepted Israel's "right to build a wall...on its own
territory" but rejected the wall's "deep intrusions" into the
West Bank; Canada's leading Globe and Mail concluded that "if a
wall must be built, let it be on the Green Line." Others joined Japan's Mainichi in
opposing any wall as a "symbol of hatred and mistrust." Dailies termed "building the wall...a
gross mistake" because "only negotiations can solve" the
'A milestone in the development of international law'-- Arab dailies hailed the ICJ's "impartiality
towards right, law and principles of justice" and said the
"historic" ruling proves "the justice of Palestinian
demands." Syria's government-owned Al-Thawra
sought a "UNSC resolution that forces Israel to demolish the
wall." Britain's independent Economist
also saw a "case for censure and even sanctions." But many dailies warned Palestinians not to
be "too euphoric" given "Israel's arrogance" in rejecting
the ICJ verdict and the fact that the U.S. will "veto any step the UN
might contemplate." Brazil's
center-right O Globo judged the verdict nothing but an "exercise in
rhetoric" following which "nothing will happen."
'Tear down this wall, Mr. Bush'--
observers slammed the U.S. for its "provocative and rude statements"
about the ruling, which exemplify how it has "consistently and blindly
supported all Israeli excesses."
The West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam alleged that the U.S.
"is now challenging international justice," with Jordan's center-left
Al-Dustour lamenting that the "Washington-Tel Aviv axis...considers
itself above international legitimacy."
Other papers urged "measured statesmanship" and "moral
pressure" using the verdict to lessen the U.S.' "blind backing"
of Israel. Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Madina
hoped the ruling would be a "wake-up call for the U.S. to stop its double
Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press
sentiment. Posts select commentary to
provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
89 reports from 36 countries over 10 - 19 July 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
BRITAIN: "The Wall And
An editorial in the independent weekly Economist
read (7/17): "They said that the
wall should be torn down and that Israel should compensate the Palestinians for
the disruption it caused. However, the
court is allowed to issue advisory opinions only, not binding ones, and this is
a piece of advice that Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, also no mincer of
words, says he intends to ignore.... At
some point--probably after November...the assembly is likely to send a
resolution to the UNSC, which is the only UN body that has the power to order
Israel to comply with the court's wishes and apply sanctions if it does
not. The Americans may then find
themselves facing that second question, along with a familiar dilemma. Should it use its veto to defend its ally, or
allow the UNSC to punish Israel for its illegal activities? That depends.... If by then Israel is moving towards the
two-state solution that Mr. Sharon claims these days to believe in, the right
answer may be nothing. But if by then it
is Israel that is obstructing progress, there may be a case for censure and
even sanctions. The law cannot take the
place of negotiation in resolving this conflict. But it does have a role, not least in helping
to remedy the imbalance between the strong and weak."
"Palestinians Risk Squandering A Moral Victory"
The left-of-center Independent commented (7/12): "It is hard to believe that the decision
to route it (the Barrier) through Palestinian territory--often but not always
to protect settlements also roundly declared illegal in the Hague--will not
offset the security gains of the barrier because of the risk that the rage it
engenders creates in its turn more militancy.... The momentousness of the Hague judgment
should not be exaggerated; it does not, as Ariel Sharon made brutally clear
yesterday, change the facts on the ground.
But it shouldn’t be underestimated either."
Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (7/12): "The International Court in The Hague
did not take a position on the legitimacy of constructing a wall for protection
against terrorism. Its decision is based
solely on the tracing of the wall and its consequences for the Palestinian
population.... It is to be feared that
the court’s decision will give the Israeli majority the impression that it is
'misunderstood' by the international community, except for its American
ally.... Israel’s challenge lies in an
attitude that was best described by Rabin when he said that Israel should
'fight terrorism as if there were no negotiations, and negotiate as if there
was no terrorism.’ By turning its back
on this logic, and by trying to impose its unilateral solutions on the
Palestinians...Israel is locking itself in an isolation which can only get
"Words And Bombs"
Bruno Frappat held in Catholic La Croix (7/12): "Words are rarely used without
intention, and when it comes to the Middle East conflict they are rarely devoid
of meaning.... For Arafat, the use of
the word ‘wall’ presents the strong advantage of symbolism. After the Court’s decision he immediately
compared the ‘wall’ to the Berlin Wall and to the ‘wall of apartheid.’ For the Israeli government, the use of the
words ‘security fence’ is a way of sending a message to international public
opinion.... The judges in The Hague,
except for the U.S. judge, have unanimously decided that Israel is violating
international laws when the ‘wall’ crosses occupied territories. The judges also fear, but this is a more
political than legal stance, that the wall may anticipate tomorrow’s ‘fait
accompli.’ Israel, which is having to deal with the hostility of the UN, can
count on the support of two strong allies:
the U.S. of course, but also the Israeli population, which feels more
secure with the ‘wall’ that was an idea spawned by the Israeli left but is
being implemented by the Israeli right."
GERMANY: "With Peres
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch commented in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/13): "Part of the
problem in Palestine is that there are no new and fresh politicians. Israelis and Palestinians sound like mumbling
old men. Arafat and Sharon will be
eighty soon, Peres has already passed that age.... Does he really want to become foreign
minister again at his age? Silvan Shalom
does not show any weak points. The Labor
Party welcomes the Prime Minister's withdrawal plans and fears that Sharon's
rival Netanyahu--who is still young in age but mentally old--could end this
policy. Peres wants to get Sharon out of
the jam. The way Peres supported the
Prime Minister when the ICJ condemned the erection of the Israeli barrier is
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/12): "The
relationship between Israel and the UN has been a disaster for a long time,
despite the roadmap, despite the Middle East quartet. The evil word of the Israeli prime minister
that the most recent bombing in Tel Aviv was committed 'under the sponsorship
of the UN' shows how disastrous it is....
It is certainly a distortion to accuse the ICJ of having sponsored the
attack.... Israel feels misunderstood
regarding its need for security and the fight against terrorism.... The country has not only been pushed into the
isolation in which it finds itself.
Through its own policy, it cooperated in maintaining this state. And statements like the most recent one from
Sharon are cementing this state. This is
not useful. Constructive would only be a
quick (partial) withdrawal from the occupied territories."
Thorsten Schmitz noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (7/12): "Premier Sharon's
statement can also be interpreted the other way round, i.e. that the fence
which Israel has built to protect itself from terrorists...does not achieve the
goals for which it was set up....
Sharon's allegation...is outrageous.
It unmasks a government leader who is unable to restrain himself. With a perfidious rhetoric he is damaging the
reputation of his state. Of course,
Israel must have the right to protect itself from terrorists, but that does not
give Israel a carte blanche to ignore international law."
Erik-Michael Bader commented in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (7/10): "We expected
the international court to rule against Israel.
Many Israelis will now angrily understand that Israel is not allowed to
defend itself against malicious terrorists.
After years of bitter experience, there are arguments in favor of
closing the borders: it could probably
reduce the number of attacks in Israel and also the number of civil victims as
the result of Israeli advances on Palestine territory."
"Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors"
Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of
Munich (7/10): "This fence is bad
because it was mainly erected on Palestine territory and therefore prepared the
seizure of Palestinian land, it violates human rights and arbitrarily extends
Israel's status as occupying power. This
fence, which mutated into a high wall at some places, is a disgrace, but we
should not expect that it will be pulled down after the ruling of the
international court.... In principle,
Israel's defensive mentality is understandable; Israel's short history is one
of hatred and threats from outside, and today the country confronts terror
attacks from Palestine suicide bombers.
Without any doubt, Israel has the right to defend itself against such
attacks, but the barrier is extreme injustice by Sharon's government--with
every inch it diverges from the green line, with every piece of land that is
seized and with every olive tree that is cut.
However, if the ruling in The Hague were to become more than a Palestine
victory at the PR front, two sides would have to exert pressure on Sharon: the country needs a debate over the barrier
and must understand that it is no good for Palestinians and Israelis, because
violence emerges from the shadow of this monster and no wall is high enough
that it can’t be crossed. Secondly,
Americans and Europeans must demand more changes of the barrier's route."
National Unity Or Early Elections"
Marco Berti noted in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero
(7/13): "These are decisive hours
for the beginning of a process whose aim it is to bring about the withdrawal of
Jewish settlements from Gaza, thereby bringing hope for peace in the Middle
East. Yesterday, Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon held a 75-minute meeting with the leader of the opposition Shimon Peres
to lay the foundation for a coalition government to handle the withdrawal
plan.... If Sharon and Peres succeed in getting
the green light from their respective parties, then negotiations will move
forward.... But what’s at stake now is
the unilateral withdrawal plan from Gaza, that pleases neither of the two
parties, but that nonetheless represents a starting point for a future, very
long-term future, appeasement between the two states."
"Hague Ruling ‘Reinstates’ Arafat"
Fiamma Nirenstein opined in centrist, influential daily La
Stampa (7/12): "The Hague court
ruling was followed by a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv.... Arafat was busy meeting with international
lawyers in an attempt to transform the ruling into UN resolutions and he
said...that Israel organized the attack in order to oppose The Hague’s
ruling.... The truth of the matter is
that Arafat is quickly regaining center stage.
He’s a juggler who can count on a vast and loyal public, and he does
this both with diplomatic weapons as well as by keeping an eye on terrorist
organizations that are always competing to keep their heads above water during
hard times.... Arafat was confidently
waiting for The Hague’s ruling in order to go back to showing his charismatic
"The Hague’s Know-It-Alls"
An editorial in elite, classical liberal Il Foglio read
(7/10): "The Hague’s ICJ has ruled
that Israel's fence should be torn down because it is ‘illegal.’ From a practical point of view, the decision
is virtually meaningless. The decision
now goes to the UNSC, where the U.S. can use its right of veto, as it has done
on many other occasions.... From a
practical point of view, the fence works.
Where it has been erected, terrorist attacks have diminished from 26 to
3 per year.”
Ignores International Law"
Vladimir Iordansky contended in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(7/13): "For a long time Israel was
a great moral authority, actively supported by people of goodwill in Western
Europe and the U.S. For many years it
enjoyed support from the Soviet Union.
Not anymore. It has outraged very
many people, including at home, by the way it treats Palestinians. Hated by Palestinians in occupied lands, with
young Palestinian boys and girls committing terrible acts of terrorism, killing
themselves in the process, the right-wing Israeli government has built a
'protection wall' around its country.
The world has seen such walls in the past decades. Fortunately, all of them are history
now. The one in Israel is a new symbol
of a divided world, a challenge to the Palestinians. It does not run along the Israeli border, but
cuts deep into Palestinian territory. It
is more evidence of Tel Aviv's reluctance to seek a solution to the old
dispute, a gesture of open hostility....
Ever since the extreme nationalists came to power several years ago,
Israel has been a distorted image of the country and its people.... Several decades after the colonialist era,
the Arabs have found themselves up against a colonialist policy at its
"There'll Be More Of Same"
Grigoriy Asmolov said in business-oriented Kommersant
(7/12): "It has been acknowledged
in Israel that, for all the slant in The Hague court's approach, its ruling,
legally substantiated, is hard to ignore.
Israel is likely to see more of the same on the international
arena. The verdict is strictly advisory. But the UN General Assembly, meeting one of
these days, will hear the Palestinians and Arab countries demand that Israel be
denounced as violating the norms of international law. Jerusalem realizes that there is no way for
it to block the decision, with the Arabs having an automatic majority at the
General Assembly. Washington is its only
BELGIUM: "The Hague
Ruling Clarifies Why The Wall Is Illegal"
Baudouin Loos wrote in left-of-center Le Soir
(7/12): "The feeling among the
Israeli population is that 'the world is undoubtedly against us.' Yet, the ICJ's opinion pointed out that any
country has the right--and even the duty--to protect its citizens, but it added
that this has to be done in the framework of international law. And that is where the problem lies. The judges in The Hague would never have
criticized Israel if, in order to protect itself against unacceptable terrorist
attacks, it had built an impassable barrier within its territory or on Israel's
border. But the problem is that the
Ariel Sharon government wanted to build the wall by including as many Jewish
settlements as possible--80 percent of the some 400,000 settlers--thereby
penetrating Palestinian territories and inflicting terrible sufferings to
Palestinians, as even the Israeli Supreme Court acknowledged on June 30. The ICJ's non-binding ruling has the merit of
clarifying the situation: it confirmed that the territories that Israel seized
in 1967 are 'occupied territories,' that colonization of these territories is
illegal, and that the security wall is therefore also illegal.... The terrorists' methods are clearly immoral
and unacceptable, but Israel does not have the right to sink into illegality to
fight them. It has the right to build a
wall, but on its own territory, and, to really solve the conflict, it should
negotiate with the Palestinians the evacuation of the occupied territories and
the creation of a Palestinian State with mutually acceptable borders."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "The
Wall Against Terror: Salvation And
Viliam Buchert opined in leading, centrist MF Dnes
(7/12): "Given the fight against
terrorism, which is currently one of the biggest threats to the world, one
cannot but agree with the building of the Israeli security barrier. Moreover, according to the Road Map, the
Palestinian Authority of Yassir Arafat should have already ensured that all
rebels and rebel groups on its territory be disarmed by the end of May
2003. It did not happen. The Israeli security barrier thus became a
structure, which puts the peace process in ruins."
"UN And The EU Binds Israel's Hands"
Bohumil Dolezal commented in leading, centrist MF Dnes
(7/12): "Peace in the region would
be first of all secured if Palestinians were not represented by smooth and
polished diplomats on one hand, and by commandos of assassins on the
other. Their initiatives are mutually
complementary. I would like to believe
that the diplomats have no influence over their militant fellow citizens, but
it just does not make sense to me. On
the other hand, there is an army of smiling gentlemen with umbrellas, which the
older of us know well from 1938 [the Munich Agreement], equipped with broad
smiles, massive rhetorical abilities, and piles of papers containing noble
ideas, which are made a laughing stock by terrorists.... The policy of the UN and the EU is a
wonderful example of how noble idealism and boundless cynicism are close to
HUNGARY: "The Hague
Endre Aczel commented in leading Hungarian-language Nepszabadsag
(7/14): "The ruling of the Hague
Court is a moral victory for Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. It is not more than that though.... The situation is not going to change, even if
the UN assembly accepts the ruling and encodes it into a resolution. Israel won’t suspend building the wall unless
a UNSC resolution enforces so, and Israel knows it. But a UNSC resolution is unlikely to pass
because it is guaranteed that the U.S. will veto it. Especially now, in an
election year, when the Bush administration has committed itself to supporting
the Sharon cabinet’s Palestine policy as firmly as never before. Consequently, the Arabs and Palestinians are
not going to address the issue in the UNSC because it is not in their interest
to press President Bush to show his colors.
The consequence of their move would be anything but positive. An informal pressure could lead to a more
NORWAY: "The Wall That
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten observed (7/12): "It's futile to believe that the current
Israeli government will recognize the Hague Court decision. PM Ariel Sharon and other members of the
government have rejected the decision, and have in addition asked the U.S. to
block a possible resolution in the Security Council to stop the building of the
wall.... In the final analysis, the ones who are going to lose because of
this attitude are Israel and the Israelis themselves. A state that does not follow the rule of law
weakens its own authority and its own case.
Building the wall is a gross mistake, and a gross encroachment against
the Palestinians. That's what the International Court in the Hague
determined. Israel has, both by building
the wall and by refusing to accept the decision, shoved aside its friends and
created even more enemies for itself."
"Judgment Of The Wall"
Independent Dagbladet editorialized (7/10): "The International Court of Justice in
The Hague has ascertained that Israel is breaking international law by building
the controversial wall that physically closes Palestinians out of what Israel
considers its own territory.... This is
a crushing decision over Israel's policy....
The court has only an advisory function, but is historically important
nonetheless. Israel's government has
warned that the decision means nothing to them; these are unfortunately
familiar rumblings, and seem like sheer reflex.
The wall of shame will remain standing for the time being, while its
legitimacy is further weakened by the Hague decision."
POLAND: "The Wall Will
Andrzej Brzeziecki said in mainstream Catholic weekly Tygodnik
Powszechny (7/18): "The verdict
by the ICJ is important as long as the UN turns out to be capable of executing
it. So it is of very little importance,
because the U.S. will most likely veto the possible sanctions against
Israel. Nevertheless, the Israeli government
will comply with the ruling pronounced a week earlier by the Israeli Supreme
Court, which ordered that the several kilometer-long barrier be
modified.... The Palestinians can count
on their rights being protected as long as Israel respects the law."
SPAIN: "Sharon Makes A
Conservative ABC opined (7/13): "Although it is true that the decision
of the ICJ...underestimates the real and permanent threat of Palestinian
terrorism against Israel--isolating the consequences of the wall from its causes--it
is no less important that the angry reaction of the Israeli Prime Minister
makes evident the fragility of his position in a matter that was condemned
almost unanimously by the whole world.
It can be accepted that the barrier has been highly effective in
reducing Palestinian attacks...but the end of a democratic state does not
justify the means.... Peace is not
gained by building a wall, however effective it might be in the fight against
terror and reducing the number of Israeli troops in Palestinian
TURKEY: "Break Down
Zafer Atay wrote in economic-political Dunya (7/14): “Decisions of the ICJ are, in reality, more
like recommendations than legally binding obligations. They have more moral authority rather than
legal force. Of course, Israel will not
obey this decision. The ‘wall of shame,’
of which 200 kilometers have already been constructed, will be completed in
2005. Israel will spend $4 billion on
this wall.... The ICJ presented the UN
Security Council with a request that construction of the wall be halted, and
that the section already constructed be demolished. UNSC decisions are binding. Those who do not obey these rules are subject
to sanction. The punishment could come
in the form of an embargo or even a military intervention. However, Israel is not concerned about these
binding rules, because they know that the power of the US is on its side. The US has saved Israel many times by using
its UNSC veto. Instead of solving
disagreements through dialogue, Israel tries to cover itself by creating
security paranoia. They are now building
a wall on the West Bank and digging ditches along the Egyptian border.... If Israel does not find these precautions
adequate, what is next: nuclear or biological attacks?"
Turgut Tarhanli held in liberal-intellectual Radikal
(7/13): "Israel built this wall
without paying any attention to international relations, human relations, or
economic and social concerns. Therefore
some parts of the wall divide Palestinian residential sites from agricultural
areas and schools. Israel’s argument is
one of ‘self defense,’ yet the ICJ disagrees.
The current situation makes the right of self-determination for the
Palestinians more difficult than ever, to the point that it has become a
virtual impossibility. Such a clear
violation of Palestinian rights deepens the problems in the Middle East. Each state is entitled to take measures in
order to protect its citizens against terrorist attacks. However, such measures must fall within the
boundaries of legitimacy.... The
construction of Israel’s security wall is about collective punishment for the
Palestinians rather than reducing the risk for Israelis."
Lev Mazin held in conservative, Russian-language Vesty
(7/15): "Is the defense wall
needed? Yes, for the Jews. Today, nobody can contradict the fact of a
sharp decrease in the number of terror attacks and terror victims after the
construction of the northern part of the [defense] wall was completed.... It's sad that Israel has to build this
'monster'--a concrete wall defiling the landscape of the Holy Land just in
order to stay alive, but what else could be done? Paradoxically enough, the Arab residents of
the West Bank, too, benefit from the wall....
Infinite terror resulting in closures on the cities...limited
traffic...on the roads...checkpoints and checks--would the inconveniences
brought by the wall compare to all of this?
As the [number of] terror attacks decreased, the necessity of
checkpoints and closures has been reduced.
Obviously, the wall improves the condition of the Palestinians. This situation could be much better, should
terror, which is almost unanimously supported by the Palestinians, stop
"From The Hague To Khan Yunis"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (7/14): "The ICJ's ruling in The Hague must
shock every Israeli. How is it possible
that in their lengthy ruling, the justices did not find it necessary anywhere
to explicitly mention Palestinian terrorism or devote even a single sentence to
the 1,000 Israeli dead of the past four years?.... [Still], not a day goes by without reports of
civilians and children killed in the territories. Not a week goes by without broadcasts of images
from the territories showing humiliations, checkpoints, bullet and shell-ridden
walls in homes, or elderly people trying to rescue some personal possession
from a pile of rubble that was once their home.
These images fan the flames of criticism of Israel in the world and make
people forget the Israeli victims of terrorism.
The images cannot justify the one-sided verdict in The Hague, but
neither are they disconnected from the atmosphere that legitimized the
tendentious verdict and the hostility toward Israel that is sweeping
Europe.... Of course, it is possible to
scorn the ruling in The Hague and to count on the American veto in the UN
Security Council. But who will guarantee
that the U.S. will forever rescue us from Arab efforts to impose South
Africa-style sanctions? A moral and
responsible approach is not a luxury. It
is a true defense of the state's existence."
"Tactical Victory, Strategic Debacle"
Aluf Benn held in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(7/14): "With its meandering route,
the separation fence reflects Israel's situation today, after four years of
warfare with the Palestinians. It
constitutes a tactical victory and a strategic debacle. Defying expectations held by many, Ariel
Sharon has proven that forceful methods can be used to fight terror, and that
democracy, internal unity and American support can be preserved at the same
time.... Israel has succeeded in
restraining terror, but it has failed to translate its tactical success into a
strategic victory. The Palestinians have
not caved in, despite the devastating blows they have endured.... For everyone [including Sharon and those on
his right], life will get harder after the elections in America, after Bush or
Kerry takes steps to soften European and Arab hostility toward the U.S. partly
by stepping up pressure on Sharon."
Guy Maayan opined in popular, pluralist Maariv (7/14): "A critical reading of the [ICJ]
document shows that it refers to the negation of the right of a Western country
to make use of defensive force against the 'other'.... The success of 14 learned people in imagining
the region in such a groundless fashion is also a corollary of the victory of
the post-colonial discourse, in its superficial version. Why become entangled in facts or a complex
reality, when the situation can be dismissed with a simplistic
stereotype?.... However, the most
worrying characteristic of the decision's text is the absolute depiction of
Israel as an aggressor. The opinion
takes care to mention Israel's steps, and emphasize their unilateral nature: it
was the party that occupied Palestinian territories in 1967 (section 73 [of the
document]) and built 'the wall.' This is
stated without mentioning why Israel was forced to occupy the territories or
defend itself against terror; without mentioning the word terror once except
when quoting Israel; and without addressing the violations of the Oslo Accords
by the Palestinians and the central role of the Palestinian Authority
institutions in murdering civilians....
Not that Israel does not have part in the responsibility for the
evolution of the conflict. But people
who deal with justice and integrity could have been expected to demonstrate a
shred of intellectual integrity....
Along with the careful implementation of the [Israeli] High Court of
Justice's decision, Israel should launch a PR campaign that will present the
meaning of the opinion and its implications for the political, cultural and
legal concepts that stand at the basis of the modern Western state. This is no less important to the U.S.,
Britain, France and Russia than it is to Israel."
"Two Messages From The Hague"
Zeev Schiff observed in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(7/13): "Two substantial messages
have been sent by the ruling of the ICJ at The Hague. The first is that Israel has no right to
determine how it should defend itself against terror. The second, representing a trend that has for
long been gaining strength in Europe, is that the Israelis are never seen as
victims. The decision, from which we can
understand that the ICJ will be the one to decide how Israel should defend
itself in the war declared against it, is without precedent. To a great extent, it grants a kind of
indirect support to suicide bombers....
[All told], so far the story of the construction of the fence has left
very hard feelings. It's clear that if
Israel carries out the disengagement plan by the same method, we can anticipate
even greater problems."
"The Hague Ruling"
Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (7/12): "We got the short end of the stick both
with [Chief Justice of Israel's High Court] Aharon Barak and with the court at
The Hague. Now that the position of the
obtuse justices has been issued, it is incumbent upon the Knesset to pass
legislation that bypasses the High Court of Justice and allows for the fence to
remain where it is. The data that
demonstrate the dramatic drop in the number of terror attacks since the fence
was built speak for themselves.... Now
is the time to bring to the world's attention everything we know about the
prevalent corruption in the Palestinian Authority and, in tandem, to exile
Arafat. It would be better were the
world press to focus on that arch-murderer, who is a source of dismay for even
the architects of the Oslo accords, than on the separation fence. This should be done immediately, before
forming a national unity government, whose members from the Labor Party will
not lend a hand to this initiative. It
is known that some of the justices on The Hague panel routinely apprised the
Palestinians of the progress in their work, and the leaders of the PA knew long
in advance what the nature of the ruling would be. The world is hypocritical and it should be
dealt with as such, particularly with respect to the justices, whose sender
countries were silent and worse during the Holocaust."
"Europe And The ICJ"
Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(7/12): "Right now, the ruling of
the ICJ appears as another crisis for Israel.
In fact, it is a crisis for Europe.
The clear intention of the ICJ ruling is to do to Israel what it helped
do to apartheid South Africa in the early 1970s when it ruled the occupation of
Namibia illegal and sanctionable. Europe
will have to think carefully about how far it wants to travel down that road
vis-a-vis the Jewish state. Is it ready
to make good on its anti-fence instincts by voting for UN sanctions, as the ICJ
ruling advises? Does Europe place a
higher value on Palestinian property than on Jewish lives? The game here is clear. Like adolescents who rely upon parental
restrictions they claim to abhor to set limits to behavior they know is irresponsible,
Europe is relying upon an American veto to protect the international system
from a decision it knows is wrong and should not be implemented. Israel has made its choice to protect its
citizens from terror. Soon Europe will
have a choice, too. Whatever choice it
makes will be usefully clarifying for the rest of us."
"The Hypocrites And The Lepers"
Nahum Barnea stated in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot
Aharonot (7/11): "Thirty-seven years after the occupation, Israel has
become a leper country in the eyes of a substantial part of the world. It is not yet South Africa of the apartheid
era, but it definitely is a member of the same family. Unequivocal American support has spared us,
for the time being, from sanctions, but that too comes with a price: the hatred
for Israel and the hatred for America feed on one another. A majority of Israelis feel they are
victims. They expect of the world to
identify with them and fight alongside them against terror. But the world, at least the part of it whose
representatives sit on the bench at The Hague, prefers to focus its attention
on the settlements, not terror. And when
it comes to the settlements, Israel is lacking a good answer. Therefore, it does not have a good answer
when it comes to the fence either.
[Israel's] High Court of Justice gave Sharon a comfortable ladder to climb
down from the high bough of the current route of the fence. Instead of bowing to a dictate from The Hague
he can bow to a dictate from Jerusalem.
And the sooner the better."
"Between Jerusalem And The Hague"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(7/11): "Even if Israel succeeds,
with the help of the United States, in preventing the conversion of the court's
decision into an abiding ruling by the Security Council, the decision is
harmful to the international standing of the country. It constitutes another challenge to the
legitimacy of Israel's actions in the territories it conquered in 1967, and
especially in the building of settlements and the annexation of east
Jerusalem.... [But] the absolute rejection
of Israel's arguments is infuriating. It
is difficult to accept the omission of Palestinian terrorism by the court and
the murky reference to 'violence' against Israelis, whose perpetrators appear
to be anonymous. In its fervor to
present the Palestinians as innocent victims of the occupation the court
ignores the suicide attacks and other terrorist activities. Herein lies the main difference between the
decision at The Hague and the ruling of the High Court of Justice on the fence. The latter recognized the security necessity
of the fence and accepted the government's approach that its construction was
meant to protect the citizens and not annex territory. However, over the main issue there is
agreement between Jerusalem and The Hague:
Israel's security needs cannot ignore the rights of the Palestinians,
and a fence that harms their right of movement, employment and education cannot
be built.... The idea of the fence was
justified.... But the flawed planning
locked Israel into an unnecessary and damaging diplomatic conundrum, which
undermines international support for the war against terrorism and presents it
as a war against occupation."
Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of popular,
pluralist Maariv (7/11):
"True, if the [ICJ] decision were more balanced, if it showed any
empathy whatsoever to those harmed by terrorism in Israel, if it recognized
Israel's need for self-defense, if it called upon Israel to build a fence along
the Green Line-- hen we would be in real trouble. Go try to respond to logical, legitimate
demands, which show wisdom and also some justice. But the ruling of the International Court in
The Hague is twisted to the point that it is so bad that it is even a bit
good. It boomerangs. And after all this, there is no reason for
celebration. On the contrary. First,
because this decision will go down in history, to be filed among its pages,
becoming a brand name in international discourse and casting a fairly large
stain on us. Morally, ethically,
humanly, internationally. there is no
American veto that can remove this stain from us. It could gain momentum in Europe, for
example. It could seep in and damage
what is left of Israel's reputation. How
long can the Americans, on their own, stand as a separation fence between us
and the world? No one knows."
WEST BANK: "The Hague
Ruling Placed Israel In A Confrontation With The World"
Azmi Khawaja concluded in independent Al-Ayyam (7/19): "The Palestinian people, leadership and
PLO must invest in the Hague ruling by using it as an essential step to return
the Palestinian cause to its correct path....
Israel’s lack of commitment to the ruling should not discourage us from
continuing to urge the world and world public opinion to impose political,
economic, trade and media pressures against Israel until the latter stops
building the wall and goes back to the negotiating table. The wall battle is a major one and
Palestinians must utilize its consequences to get their national rights. America, which supports Israel, is actually
embarrassed with Israel’s actions, particularly while going through a
presidential elections campaign.
Israel’s positions pull America into an awkward situation, especially in
the Arab world where it is increasingly hated for its unfair support to
Israel.... It might also be hard for it
[the U.S.] to completely ignore the ICJ’s ruling. It [the U.S.] is in a very awkward position
as it can’t give up supporting Israel and at the same time appear to violate
international law by vetoing [a resolution in support of the ruling]."
"A Closer Look At The Sad Scene"
Talal 'Ukal noted in independent Al-Ayyam (7/15): "Unified Europe and others in the
international community in general announced that they have sided with
international law and demanded that Israel abide by and implement it. There are initial signs that Europe might
take punitive measures against Israel.
The Palestinian party, on the other hand, seemed confused. Its reactions appeared in at least two contradictory
levels.... On one level, the whole
leadership welcomed this historic victory [the ICJ ruling] and expressed their
determination to removing the wall from every last millimeter of occupied land
and to raise the ruling at the UNGA. The
second level was expressed by an anonymous minister whom the press quoted as
saying that the Authority [PA] is determined to delay raising the ruling with
the UNSC...until American elections take place, in order...to avoid provoking
the American administration. [...]
There’s no reason at all for a delay, since the present and any future American
administration expresses American policy and interests. Thus, any delay will be useless."
"The Legal And Political Elements In The ICJ Ruling"
Ahmad Majdalani commented in independent Al-Ayyam
(7/14): "The wording of the [ICJ]
ruling from a legal perspective, since it’s based on international legitimacy
and international law, has aspects that are broader than just the political
feature of any UN resolution. Thus, it
is possible to say that following this ruling, the Palestinian cause has
reached a new level of conflict that classifies Israel and the U.S. as
scofflaws if both continue to reject the ruling and refuse to abide by
it.... We should not be preoccupied with
the illusion that the ruling will be applied very soon. We are approaching a long and harsh battle
with the U.S., whose most important strategic platform in the region--[namely]
the imposition of an American vision in settling regional disputes in a way that
meets the interests of its strategic partnership with Israel--we have
undermined with this ruling."
Protecting The Occupation To Sponsoring Racial Isolation"
Rajab Abu Sariya said in independent Al-Ayyam (7/13): "American State Department Spokesman
Richard Boucher wasted no time in calling the ICJ’s ruling ‘illegitimate’ at a
time when Washington is presenting its model for international justice through
the Iraqi court in Baghdad, which is not based on a democratic or elected regime.... Boucher then warned against implementing the
court’s ruling, another sign that the administration in Washington is now
challenging international justice. He
stated that it is not necessary for the UN General Assembly to intervene at
this stage.... The American position as
a whole came as an immediate response to a previous Israeli demand directed to
Washington through its FM, Silvan Shalom, to prevent the issuance of any UNSC
resolution following the ICJ’s ruling.
With that, Washington has shifted its policy from providing protection
to the Israeli occupation to protecting the racially-based Israeli isolation
"Deterring Balance With Veto"
Hasan Al-Batal opined in independent Al-Ayyam (7/13): "UN Secretary General Annan can no
longer comply with U.S. wishes. Perhaps
the Hague ruling offers him a unique opportunity to release international
political legitimacy from American control.
The larger UNSC members, who suffered American humiliation by having to
accept Washington’s well-known decisions on Iraq, will, following the Hague
ruling, have their chance to restore balance to the UNSC.... Palestinians have no ‘Sadat dreams’ to
‘neutralize’ America in the Arab-Israeli conflict; rather they have realistic
political calculations to make America less carried away with its overwhelming
support to the Israeli policy that contradicts international laws. Thus, within the next few months,
Palestinians will try to place Washington under moral pressure in light of the
Hague ruling as a means to force it [Washington] to better distinguish between
its own position on the separation wall and the Israeli one."
"The Decision... What
Talal ‘Ukal commented in independent Al-Ayyam (7/12): "American policy assumes that the UN has
lost its role and should change its principles and functions in a way that
adapts to the new international order, which the U.S. is leading on its
own.... At the Hague, the disagreement
that appeared among the judges reflects the international equation: on his own, the American judge (whom an
Israeli judge, if there were one on the panel, would have followed) made
politics prevail over justice and law, weakening his credibility and
undermining the neutrality and objectivity every judge should enjoy. Owing to its judge at the Hague, America has
lost objectivity and instead presented new values that contradict international
law and make the power of individual interests win over humanitarian ones and
the equilibrium of right and justice."
"ICJ Provides Historic Opportunity To Demolish The Wall
Ali Abu Hilal wrote in independent Al-Quds (7/12): "The ICJ’s decision is a new historic
one that adds to its honorable role in viewing and ruling on international
disputes. The Court has again proved its
impartiality toward right, law and principles of justice.... By this position, the International Court of
Justice has proven a stronghold for the rights of oppressed nations and a
trustworthy protector of international humanitarian law regardless of all
pressure techniques and threats practiced against it by Israel and its ally the
"A Historic Decision; How Can We Invest It?"
Yahya Rabah opined in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
(7/12): "The ICJ ruling at the
Hague is a victory for Palestinian diplomacy and our dear brother Dr. Nasser
Al-Qudwa who was behind the idea from beginning to end.... This historic decision did not come in easy
circumstances; on the contrary, it came as a counterweight to strong Israeli
and U.S. pressures based on the notion that the issue is a political one and
can be solved only through political means....
We have a real opportunity: we can get much closer to those friends who
supported us, to trust them enough in some of our own affairs, to stand by them
in a political front based on clear objectives and to help them gain more
success that can benefit us.... Thank
you, brave ICJ judges at the Hague; you have proved that international law is
"An Important Decision, And Its Implementation An International
Independent Al-Quds editorialized (7/10): "Despite the official reaction by
Israel, which has never respected international law and has always scorned the
United Nations and international legal institutions and organizations, the
decision issued by the highest international judiciary body, which enjoys great
prestige and is known for its honesty, is particularly significant and supports
the justice of Palestinian demands on the international level in terms of
achieving liberation from the occupation as well as considering all occupation
measures void and illegal."
"Oppose Aggression And Occupation"
Pro-government small-circulation Al-Gomhuriya
urged (7/10): "The ICJ
ruling...articulates the wishes of the international community which opposes
aggression and occupation.... The
international community will find it difficult to implement the ICJ ruling
because the U.S. will veto any relevant UNSC resolution without listening to
the voice of the majority in the UN General Assembly."
SAUDI ARABIA: "What
Did We Gain From The International Court of Justice Resolution?"
Riyadh’s conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (7/14): "The resolution of the ICJ regarding the
'racial' wall is one of our most important achievements. However, Arab countries and governments must
use this resolution to empower the Palestinian cause.... The international community has ignored the
Palestinian issue for a long time....
The world condemns the legitimate resistance of the Palestinians and
turns a blind eye on Israel’s storage of nuclear weapons, its racial crimes,
and its ignoring international resolutions....
We must make all this clear to the public and tell the world about the
misery in which the Palestinians are living....
Anyhow, the resolution could not shake Israel. Israel knows that the resolution will die
soon, and knows that Arabs have neither memory nor value in this
"The Veto Will Minimize The Court’s Decision"
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad declared (7/12): "Israel’s policies have always been
formulated based on fear of the future, and distrust of Arabs and
Palestinians. This is more evident now
because the Palestinian resistance has increased its operations and has
delivered painful blows to Israel’s security.
When the Israeli government takes a decision it does not go back on it,
because Israel’s security is their most important objective. The decision of the ICJ was a significant
victory for the Palestinians, but unfortunately the Palestinians do not have
the power to activate this decision in the UN.
A veto by the U.S. will definitely reduce any chance for a Palestinian
"U.S. Partiality Toward Israel"
Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (7/11): "If the United States really wanted to
achieve a political solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict, why does it not
play a neutral role, which could achieve its aspirations.... Why does the U.S. keep silent on
assassinations and the demolishing of homes every day in the Palestinian
territories?... The U.S. has become a
party to the conflict because of its tireless defense of the aggressive
policies of Israel."
"The Decision Of The International Court Of Justice"
Jeddah’s conservative Al-Madina remarked (7/11): "It was not difficult to predict the
decision of the International Court of Justice.
Any other verdict would have caused damage to the credibility of the
Court. Anything other than what the
judges have said would have delivered a strong blow to an already shaky and
tense international situation. As a
matter of fact, this decision is good for Washington, because it is a wake-up
call for the U.S. to stop its double standard policies when dealing with
international matters.... It also should
be noted here that the UN General Assembly turned the decision on the issue of
the wall over to the International Court of Justice only when Arabs had failed
to formulate an international consensus to condemn the construction of the wall."
"The Palestinian Case And World Justice"
Abha’s moderate Al-Watan observed (7/11): "What happened in The Hague on Friday,
July 9, 2004 was a historic event by all standards. The International Court of Justice considered
illegitimate the separating wall that Israel has constructed on Palestinian
soil. The State of Israel attempted to
issue a balanced decision of its own regarding the Palestinian interests and
their suffering after the construction of the wall. Israel has implemented its own court decision,
but this decision will not be met with compliance because its issuing
organization is an extension of the ailing and weak UN."
The elite, English-language Jordan Times editorialized
(7/12): "The fact that four out of
the five permanent members of the UNSC were lukewarm to the idea of submitting
the Israeli wall issue to the ICJ in the first place diminishes the chances of
the council adopting a strongly worded resolution supporting the court's
decision declaring the barrier illegal and saying that it must be
dismantled. The U.S. is already on
record as saying that it will veto any resolution that calls for the
application of sanctions against Israel.
The UNSC's stance may still change, however, if the wording of the
projected resolution is meaningful and effective, but not sanctions-oriented.
The Palestinian side can live without punitive sanctions being slapped on
Israel. What the Palestinians need most is the endorsement of the ICJ decision
as a legal and political basis for the resolution of the border issue between
Israel and the future Palestinian state, as well as the status of the Jewish
settlements.... The aim of the next
Palestinian move is to elevate the advisory status of the ICJ verdict to a
binding one, both politically and legally....
Neither incumbent President George Bush nor the Democratic candidate for
the presidential elections, John Kerry, would be supportive of any effective
sanctions against Israel. The next best
thing, therefore, is to focus on a resolution by the council that codifies the
ICJ decision into a legally binding principle. Anything else would be simply a
waste of time. And while the Arab and
Muslim worlds continue to hail the ICJ decision as a big triumph, they must
endeavour to build on it by measured statesmanship. Getting too euphoric about
the results of the court's decision or heightened expectations from it may
prove to be counterproductive."
"The Axis Of Evil"
Basem Sakijha remarked in center-left, influential Arabic-language
Al-Dustour (7/11): "We are
afraid that Washington’s reaction to the international court's verdict will
reach the point of striking the Hague itself with missiles and considering the
judges terrorists.... If a question
about the most important axes of evil were asked all around the world, the
answer would be one: the Washington-Tel Aviv axis. It is the only axis that considers itself
above international legitimacy and uses excessive force in the implementation
of its objectives from Iraq to Afghanistan and Palestine and elsewhere, and
then does not feel shame to consider others the evil ones and turn facts inside
out. The advisory nature of the verdict
may not have practical value, but the moral value is important and
historic.... Anyhow, the American search
for the answer to the question 'why do they hate us?' should start in
"Washington As It Becomes A Stumbling Block On The Road To
Urayb Rintawi wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour
(7/11): "When the United States
turns its back to the highest judicial authority in the world, it is
entrenching its commitment to the ‘Bush principle’ in foreign policy of
bypassing the United Nations, international law, adopting unilateral actions
away from international partnerships and coalitions, and preemptive war. Had the international court’s advisory
opinion been stated in relation to any country in the world other than Israel,
papers would have already been submitted to the Security Council...and the U.S.
representative would have already started making threats of sanctions and
preemptive war. Yet the Hague court
placed Israel, Washington’s pet baby, in the box this time, and so the masters
of the White House came out with provocative and rude statements, accusing the
court of interference and describing its opinion as a stumbling block on the
road to peace and to the roadmap.... One
who sees the angry American storm towards the Darfur crisis and the suspicious
American silence towards the racist wall will realize that the policy of dual
standards is being underscored day in and day out. They will also realize that a Washington
that claims to be sponsoring the peace process is becoming day after day one of
the major stumbling blocks in the way of that process and a detonator of
grudges, anger, violence, extremism and terrorism in the region."
"No Ifs, Ands Or Buts"
The elite English-language Jordan Times editorialized
(7/11): "Even though the verdict of
the International Court of Justice...came as no surprise to the international
community as a whole, it is nevertheless a milestone in the development of
international law.... While it can be
taken for granted the UN General Assembly will adopt the necessary resolution
on the Israeli wall, it is still uncertain that the UN Security Council will
follow suit. The United States is
expected to veto any resolution that aims to order the dismantling of the controversial
wall, especially in the wake of the disclosure that the U.S. judge on the bench
of the court was the only dissenting judge on the otherwise unanimous
verdict.... This ruling gives added
legitimacy to the Palestinian and Arab submissions that any encroachment on the
Palestinian territories occupied in the 1967 war including the construction of
Jewish settlements thereon is illegal.
This is where the court’s decision is most far-reaching and with
considerable impact on the entire peace process in the Middle East and the
projected resumption of peace talks between Israel and the neighboring Arab
parties. Accordingly with or without any
follow-up action by the UN Security Council, the message is now clearer than
ever. Jewish settlements in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as the construction of the Israeli barrier on
Palestinian lands are illegal under international law."
"There Is Justice In This World!"
Mahmoud Rimawi remarked in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(7/11): "This decisive legal battle
has been won thanks to the living consciences of the fourteen judges (with the
exception of the American judge) and to the actions of Arab countries like
Jordan and Egypt in addition to the Palestinian party. This decision proved that there is still
justice in our world, and that invasion, abuse and lies do not hold before the
rule of justice and the law, even if there is a superpower administration like
the Republican administration that collaborates with injustice and crime."
KUWAIT: "Jews Heading
To The Point Of No Return"
Isam Al-Fulaij contended in independent Al-Watan
(7/14): "Jews never fail to prove
how far they are willing to commit crimes and challenge the world while at the
same time knowing they can lean on support from America's veto. Israel's
rejection of the ICJ ruling on the security barrier, and her continued contempt
for the UN, is her way of heading to the point of no return. Despite a period
of weakness, we should never reverse our initial religious and intellectual positions
toward the Jews. Our rejection of Jews must be manifested in teaching future
generations about the real enemy as mentioned in the Quran."
Dr. Abdel Muhsin Yousef Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas
(7/12): "Not the ICJ's ruling nor all
the laws in the world can force Israel to submit to world opinion. This is because Israel understands the
language of power. It revels in blatant American support. The recent court
ruling, which judged Israel's security barrier in violation of international
law, will expose Israel especially before the Europeans, who have previously
shown in a poll that they consider Israel a danger to global peace. The brave
ruling will invalidate the Zionists' justifications and of those who extend
assistance to them."
Dr. Ayed Al-Man'a maintained in independent Al-Watan
(7/12): "The recent ICJ ruling on
Israel's West Bank barrier constitutes the latest international opinion
exposing Israel's aggression. Regrettably, this just ruling is non-binding, and
since Israel never complied with earlier resolutions, there is no reason why it
should comply with a non-binding ICJ ruling.
However, such a ruling can generate international pressure, which could
force the U.S. to 'whisper' into Israel's ear to stop challenging the will of
the international community."
LEBANON: "The Law,
Unlike Strawberries, Cannot Be Selectively Chosen"
The moderate English-language Daily Star contended
(7/12): "The World Court’s decision
Friday declaring the Israeli separation barrier illegal was predictable, as
were the swift Israeli and American reactions criticizing the verdict.... This has all the appearances of just another
example of Arab-Israeli American diplomatic ships passing in the night, making
no contact, having no impact. We’ve
witnessed this dozens of times in recent decades.... The World Court is the global embodiment of
humankind’s modern commitment to the rule of law.... For the U.S. and Israel to reject this ruling
because, they argue, it did not sufficiently consider the terrorism and other
related reasons...is to degrade from the value of the rule of law by making it
contingent on local and changing political circumstances. The whole point of having one law, and a
single legal standard that applies to all peoples and states is precisely to
force human actions to adhere to legal statutes, dictates and rights. The U.S. and Israel, instead, would seem to
want the law to bend to human actions and national political policies. If the U.S. and Israel are to negate the
fundamental sanctity and relevance of the international rule of law in a case
whose outcome they do not like, the global consequences will be severe.... The impact of the rule of law derives from its
universality, and its applicability to all, without exception. If the U.S. and Israel are serious about
wanting democracy and the rule of law in this region and the whole world, they
should start by giving credence to those views by adhering to the verdict of
the World Court in this case."
"The Duty Of Colliding With The Wall"
Joseph Samaha asserted in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(7/10): "Had the world been a just
and a fair place, Arabs and Palestinians would have gained back a lot of their
rights. The first thing that comes to
mind is the fact that the decision by the ICJ regarding the Barrier did not
really need exceptional Arab effort.
This victory was not imposed by a certain balance of power or a certain
policy or extraordinary pressure. It is
a ruling that reflects what courts should usually do when they are doing their
duty, which is giving victims their rights....
The biggest problem is that those who oppose the World Court’s ruling
have the right to veto. They are the
same forces that belittle international legitimacy and think that their
political and military power is enough."
"A Strong Call"
Semi-offiical Arabic-langauge Al-Watan
editorialized (7/10): "The ICJ
ruling on the illegality of the racist separation wall being built by the
Israeli occupation authorities...is viewed as a strong call to the
international community to wake up from its long deep sleep.... Arabs are called upon to adopt no less a
position than the ICJ. It is up to them
to take advantage of this ruling to increase Israel's isolation by pressurising
it to stop erecting the wall."
"One Who Misses Something Cannot Give"
Ahmad Hamadeh commented in government-owned Al-Thawra
(7/14): "How could America ignore
international justice and law while it calls on others to apply its rules in
the world? How could the world believe
the bright slogans upheld by the US Administration on the Greater Middle East
and spreading justice, democracy and freedom while it defends Israel's
violation of the Hague verdict?
Certainly such slogans will receive deaf ear in the world community
which welcomed the Hague advocacy for the principles of righteousness and
justice except for Washington and Tel Aviv....
The flagrant irony is that both the US and Israel dissented the Hague
verdict without discussing the international laws on which it was
based.... By the Hague verdict, the ICJ
has opened the door for the Arab countries to proceed from an unbinding
consultation to a UNSC resolution that forces Israel to demolish the wall,
compensate Palestinians who are harmed by it and to punish Israel if it does
not commit to it."
"Israeli Arrogance Knows No Limits"
The pro-government English-language Gulf News maintained
(7/13): "By rebuffing a decision by
the ICJ to tear down the separation wall, Israel has once again demonstrated to
the world community its arrogance and insistence to defy the global community
and violate international law. What more evidence does the international
community need to determine that Israel is not a state that respects
international laws and its prime minister Ariel Sharon and other leaders are
mere outlaws?.... This should prompt
immediate action from the UN and all its affiliated organisations and other
international groups to put an end to Israel's arrogance and ensure that no
nation is above international law. The
UN's failure to curb Israel could encourage other countries to follow its
example and indulge in serious violations without any deterrence.
Unfortunately, this could happen at a time when the Western world, namely the
U.S., is beating the drums of war against terrorism and those countries which
they claim are violating human rights, freedom and international law. It is indeed pathetic to see that the U.S.,
which is supposed to be leading a war to impose international law, is the most
vehement supporter of Israel in its illegitimate practices and violations of
human rights. It has become quite evident that without such US support,
encouragement and protection, Israel would not dare defy the world. For this
reason, the UN and all other international organisations are called upon not
only to condemn Israel but also denounce Washington for its blind backing of
Israel.... Trapped as they are in this
hopeless situation, the Palestinians are right in deciding to seek a UNSC
resolution that will reinforce the world court decision, after the U.S.
presidential election in November. On
many occasions, Sharon and his clique in Israel have proved that they are the
real terrorists and the real threat to international peace.... Israel's claims that the wall is essential
for its security are pathetic and shameful because one should not try to
protect oneself at the expense of an entire race and their social, political,
economic and human needs.... What is
needed today are urgent measures to force this terrorist state to end its
terrorist practices and repression against the Palestinian people."
"Seeking Support Against The Wall"
The English-language expatriate-oriented Khaleej
Times declared (7/12): "The
Hague verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the building
of the security wall by Israel was a decision hailed by the dispossessed
Palestinians and much of the world sympathising with the cause of the
Palestinians. While Israel continues to
maintain that it needs the wall to protect itself against suicide attacks, the
Palestinians claim that the wall intrudes into their territory, and is
therefore, illegal. Now, Israel has rejected the court decision, saying that
the ICJ is no forum to decide such a matter, as it is something to be sorted
out between the two parties. It has also sought the help of U.S. to project its
cause.... As a counter to that, the
Palestinians have sought the help of the European nations to back them.... While the Palestinians can expect support
from many European nations, notably France and Germany, it should be wary of
placing too much trust on them as they have been known to back out in the face
of US pressure. Considering the kind of Israeli lobbying that goes on in the
American corridors of power, the US cannot be expected to give a very
sympathetic hearing to the Palestinian cause.... The Palestinians believe with some conviction
that Israel will find it increasingly hard to ignore the ICJ verdict as that
would tantamount to caring two hoots for international law, even though the
judgment is not legally binding on Israel. Yasser Arafat has stated as much
that Israel will be unable to avoid dismantling
the separation barrier after the court ruling. While Israel has been
able to get away with many transgressions earlier, this time it may be
difficult to do so because world opinion will go against it if it opposes the
ruling. The U.S. too may find it difficult to bail out its ally in such a
situation, especially since public opinion within the U.S. may find it
unpalatable to be on the wrong side of justice. Therein lies some hope for the
"When Will Israel Really Want Peace?"
The pro-government English-language Yemen
Times declared (7/16): "The ICJ
decision clearly rendered the so-called 'Security Wall'...which Israel is
building in the West Bank an illegitimate enterprise. The decision also goes to prove that Israel’s
policies under Ariel Sharon are not in line with a quest for peace or cohesion
with the international community’s desires to work towards a peaceful world.
What Israel has time and again shown is that it neither wants peace nor to
abide by any laws or statutes that will regulate its hunger for land and
Ariel’s Sharon’s hunger for Arab blood....
Ariel Sharon went on to build his diabolical wall, to make sure that all
this havoc does not get lost. Israel has no intention of living at peace with
the Palestinians, nor is it willing to let the Palestinians live in any decent
conditions.... Time and again, Ariel
Sharon carries out his relentless drive to end all facets of a neighboring
Palestinian State.... To make sure that
all these efforts are entrenched, Ariel Sharon comes up with the building of a
wall, which he says is to secure Israelis from 'suicide bombers.' The Israelis claim that because of the wall,
suicide bombings have stopped. That is a farce.... With merciless bombardment and indiscriminate
shellings, the Israelis have killed all spirit amongst the
Palestinians.... It was amazing to hear
the Israelis point out that they have no intentions of abiding by the ICJ
decision, as the only law that Israel recognizes is the Law of the State of
Israel.... Of course, the ICJ has made
it also clear that the U.S. among others should see to it that the ICJ
decisions are enforced...[but this one] will simply be shelved among all the
international rulings and conventions as Israel has been at liberty to make a
mockery of international legitimacy."
Court Indulges In Israel Bashing"
The national conservative Australian held (7/12): "Friday's ruling by the International
Court of Justice against Israel's security barrier along the West Bank is
flawed. Israel, the key party to the
dispute, did not agree to have the matter tested by the ICJ in the first place,
something that is required under the court's rules.... By limiting a sovereign state's inherent
right to self-defense against attacks by another state, the ruling could
potentially cripple all democracies in their battle against terror. Shaky in terms of legal principle, the ruling
is an affront in terms of real-world politics, which is the proper context for
considering Israel's barrier…. Mr.
Arafat hailed the ICJ ruling as a triumph for the Palestinian people, when
really it was just another anti-Israel publicity stunt. The real triumph will be the replacement of
Arafat himself with an uncorrupted leader who rejects terror in deed as well as
"Judges Ruling Rewrites UN Charter On Self-Defense"
Sydney University lecturer Leanne Piggott opined in the national
conservative Australian (7/12):
"The advisory opinion brought down by the International Court of
Justice last Friday in relation to Israel's separation barrier has implications
far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Buried deep in the text of its opinion is a bombshell that purports to
radically rewrite the rules of international law governing the inherent right
of states to defend themselves and their citizens…. In the long run, the ICJ's pronouncements on
a state's right of self-defense will be of more lasting significance than its
conclusions about Israel's separation barrier.
Many states are likely to reject the ICJ's attempt to confine the right
of self-defense to responses to armed attacks by state actors. The ICJ's opinion not only departs from the
text of Article 51 of the UN Charter, it also defies common sense."
CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS):
"U.S. Should Support Dismantling Wall"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(7/13): "The UN's ICJ ruled last
Friday that the building of the separation wall in the West Bank and the
establishing of a colony in the occupation area violated the international
law. Both would hinder the autonomy of
Palestine. Israel should not use the
excuse of self-defense to build the wall. The court ruled that Israel should stop
building the wall and dismantle the part that stretched into Palestine. It should also compensate for any losses of
the Palestinians. The ruling urged the
UN to take action to stop this 'illegal situation.' The ruling is a victory for the Palestinians
and a victory for justice.... The issue
of the separation wall will definitely pass on to the UN for a future
resolution. Whether the resolution can
be passed hinges on the U.S. The U.S.
has veto power in the Security Council.
It is not surprising that the U.S. can use its power to veto the
decision of dismantling the wall because the U.S. had vetoed many resolutions
that were not unfavorable to it many times before. However, if the U.S. exercises its power
again this time, it will set up an even worse image in the Arab world and
Muslim world. It will be difficult for
the U.S. to stay in these areas in the future.
The U.S. will particularly encounter more difficulties when it tries to
mediate Israeli-Palestinian disputes."
JAPAN: "Doubts Over
Wall Around Peace"
Liberal Mainichi editorialized (7/14): "Israeli concerns over security and
terrorism, partly attributable to the Holocaust, are understandable. But, Israelis should also consider the plight
of Palestinian people forced to live near the 'wall of separation,' in areas
reminiscent of the ghettos where Israelis themselves were once forced to
live. The security fence flies in the
face of the U.S.-brokered 'Roadmap' agreement calling for peaceful coexistence
between Israelis and Palestinians. As
seen by the fall of the Berlin Wall, any attempt to block human exchange is
destined to fail. Peace cannot be
achieved by this symbol of hatred and distrust."
INDONESIA: "Bush, Iraq
Nationalist Harian Merdeka opined
(7/13): "In the last few days,
President George W. Bush’s administration also gave its support to Israel
although the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the separator
barrier built in Palestinian areas was illegal. ICJ advised Israel to pay
compensation to Palestinian victims who have suffered as a result of the
construction of the separator barrier....
So far, President Bush has not shown any signals that he would end the
occupation of U.S. and allies’ troops in Iraq. Among his persistence, Bush also
openly defends the construction of the separator barrier by Israel in
MALAYSIA: "Mr Sharon, Tear Down That Wall"
Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times
declared (7/12): "To anyone neutral
enough to weigh the wrongs inflicted on the Palestinians by the building of a
barrier in the occupied West Bank against Israel’s right of self-defense,
Friday’s ruling by the ICJ was predictable, as was the lone dissenting opinion
by the American representative on the 15-member panel. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's promise to
remove the wall when his country feels itself safe from terrorism rings
hollow.... Unlike Iraq, Israel's
disregard of international law is unlikely to be punished by sanctions, at
least not while the U.S. can brandish its veto in the UNSC. But the ICJ's ruling adds ballast to the
argument that only negotiations can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. These should even include
militants such as Hamas, whose malevolence Israel has done so much to
"Difficult To Enforce ICJ Decision About Israeli Security
Government-influenced, Malay-language daily Berita Harian
commented (7/12): "The ICJ decision
to order Israel to cease building its security wall on the West Bank, and to
tear down the existing structure, is a political victory in the Palestinian
struggle. Israel considers the decision
to be non-binding while the Arab world and Palestine know that only the members
of the Security Council can force the Jewish state to comply with the ICJ
ruling. However, the U.S. is expected to
use its veto power to protect Israel if this matter comes forth to the Security
Council. The arrogant Israel has the
strong backing of the U.S. when Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted that
the wall was a way to reduce suicide attacks by Palestinian fighters. The reluctance of Israel and the U.S. to abide by the ICJ ruling leaves it out in
limbo, the same way that many decisions favoring Palestine in the UN end
An editorial in the Bangalore-based left-of-center
English-language Deccan Herald read (7/13): "The ICJ, in a landmark judgment, has
condemned Israel's construction of a wall that separates the West Bank from its
territory and declared that it is a transgression of international law.... Clearly the latest ruling is a rebuff not
only to Israel, but also to the U.S. which has all along supported
Israel.... The ICJ verdict against the
wall puts the EU in a difficult position prior to its foreign ministers meeting
shortly. Arab states are also expected to lobby for the Palestinian Authority
in the UN that would further affect Israeli-Arab relations. While the ICJ
verdict is not binding on Israel it is an indictment of the Jewish state and
will help shape world opinion in favor of the Palestinian cause. The
Palestinians seek an independent state in all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
However Israel has been impervious to other states' opinions, but Tel Aviv
should now heed the ICJ verdict to improve its image and strengthen the hands
of the UN's highest legal body that strives to make the member states
accountable besides promote the West Asia peace process."
"Fencing In Offensively"
The nationalist Hindustan Times judged (7/13): "Once again Israel is being forced to
square itself off against world opinion. The issue this time is the concrete
barrier it's building in the occupied West Bank which the ICJ has termed
illegal.... Israel is well within its
rights to protect its people from living under the shadow of terrorism and if
the fence serves that purpose, it is Israel's right to build one. However, the
160-km long fence built so far makes deep intrusions into Palestinian territory
which in any case is pockmarked by Israeli settlements. It violates Palestinian
human rights by separating many Palestinians from their farms, schools, jobs
and family and perpetuates Israeli occupation by requiring those living on the
'Israeli side' to take written permission to live in their own homes.... Good fences can make good neighbors, as India
has realized in fencing off its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. But the
Indian fence is in Indian territory and does not annex anything that does not
belong to it. Considering that the U.S.
supports Israel on the subject, the ICJ ruling will have no impact on the
UNSC. However, it does serve to
highlight the problem which requires a better answer than the one being
provided by the Israeli government."
"Wall Of Suspicion"
The centrist Asian Age asserted (7/13): "The ruling by the ICJ at the Hague
declaring the construction of the controversial Israeli wall in the Palestinian
territory unlawful, is a landmark verdict. It is a major moral victory for not
only the Palestinian people, but all those in the world who had been
consistently raising their voice against Tel Aviv's illegitimate and inhuman
exercise. No one will dispute Israel's need for security for its citizens, but
the international community is not convinced that this could be achieved by
building a 425-mile long wall in the West Bank. The ICJ's verdict is a clear
indictment of the Israeli stand.... And
the only country (other than Israel) which has criticized the ruling is the
U.S. which has consistently and blindly supported all Israeli excesses.... Once again the U.S., which had promised to
play the role of an honest broker in the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian
problem, has blatantly sided with Tel Aviv....
If Tel Aviv is really serious about the security of its people, it
should reach a negotiated peace settlement with the Palestinians and take
measures to improve lives on both sides. The wall will push...Palestinians into
ghettos and isolated enclaves which will emerge as breeding grounds for
bitterness, hatred and terrorism. Such a development will spell trouble for the
Israelis. The need of the hour is to pull down the walls of suspicion and
hatred which already exist between the Israelis and Palestinians, and not erect
PAKISTAN: "Decision Of
International Court Of Justice Against Israel"
Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang declared
(7/12): "The ICJ judgment has
clearly laid out what is right and what is not.
Who is pursuing the way of justice and who has adopted the course of
tyranny? But one has to see if this
judgment could also provide justice to the oppressed and whether the hands of
tyrant could be stopped or not. From
this perspective, the situation does not seem to be that encouraging. In all likelihood, despite the opposition of
the entire international community to the U.S. and Israel, Israel under the
American patronage would be as obstinate as always and the U.S. may veto any
step that UN might contemplate to take."
"How Would The Decision Be Implemented"
Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat editorialized
(7/12): "Israel, under the U.S.
patronage, is touching the height of barbarism and terrorism and it had already
pointed out that it is not going to accept the verdict of the ICJ. This judgment has fully exposed all the
claims of the U.S. regarding justice and human rights. The Hague court has handed out its decision,
but it is a vain imagination that the UN would get it implemented."
"The ICJ Decision"
The centrist national English-language News
held (7/11): "The decision of the
world court is quite clear-cut on the issue.
Would now the aggrieved party be able to get justice? In a world dominated by the jungle law in our
times this may seem to be a wishful thinking.... If the world community can act in unison, it
may as well be able to find a way out to help the oppressed in an atmosphere of
unipolarity that seems to be stifling all efforts to bring sanity in the
present-day world order."
"The Hague Verdict"
Center-right national English-language daily The Nation
editorialized (7/11): "With
Washington's unabashed and unconditional support to Tel Aviv's every move in
the occupied territories virtually assured, it was almost certain that the
American judge on the panel would hardly dare to be impartial and go against
his government's wishes.... Meanwhile,
New Delhi should take a cue from the ICJ's ruling and pull down the illegal
barbed wire fence it is erecting along the LoC in the vain hope that it would
somehow succeed in converting it into an international boundary."
BANGLADESH: "Tear Down
This Wall, Mr. Bush"
The independent English-language Daily Star opined
(7/15): "Everyone acknowledges the
degree of difficulty in implementing the World Court's ruling without a
positive U.S. role. However, it would be too much for the world to expect its
current "leader" to take the lead in implementing what the world's
highest court of law wants Israel to do--tear down the wall. It would not be wrong to say that the U.S.
administration does not have the will to implement the view of the majority of
the international community, expressed through the judgment of the
CANADA: "Defending The
The centrist Winnipeg Free Press opined (7/13): "On Friday, the UN ICJ declared that
Israel's security barrier, a fence designed to keep the country safe from
Palestinian suicide bombers, was illegal under international law. It demanded
that Israel reroute the fence in some places, dismantle it others.... The forces of the intifada seem determined to
demonstrate their contempt for the international organizations, the Western
governments that give them moral, financial and even, as in the case of the
ICJ, speciously legal support. But although the rulings of the ICJ are unenforceable,
they are not without moral force. Mr. Arafat and the Arabs can use them as
diplomatic clubs with which to beat Israel. Nations such as Canada need to
approach international courts more carefully than they have for precisely this
reason. As the ICJ's ruling on the security fence shows, they can be as easily
hijacked by their members as the UN General Assembly and its assorted
international bodies. That kind of hijacking is morally wrong and politically
short-sighted. In the wake of last week's ruling and this week's attack,
Israelis are again under attack; and they have in response begun to regroup,
with the ruling Likud and opposition Labour parties negotiating a coalition
that can respond from strength, domestically and internationally."
The conservative tabloid Winnipeg Sun commented
(7/12): "Since construction on the
security fence began, Israel claims suicide bombing attacks from inside the
West Bank have fallen drastically. In areas where the barrier is complete, they
are said to have ceased. Yet, in its
scathing, albeit non-binding, judgment against Israel, the world court said the
concrete and steel barrier infringes too far on the freedom of Palestinians.... As futile as the arguments for it seem, a
Palestinian state remains the Middle East's best hope. And judicial rulings
like this, as much as it will amount to anything once the U.S. vetoes any UN
resolution demands, never foster the goodwill that political peace
requires.... That conundrum of
conscience pretty much sums up the Middle East conflict and that other
resulting normalization--elusive peace. So the UN's highest judicial authority
ruled that Israel's security fence violates international law. In a region
built upon the legacies of war and plagued by fear, violence and indiscriminate
attacks, that's no solution."
"The Tortured Path Of Israel's Barrier"
The liberal Toronto Star observed (7/11): "Palestinians chalked up a legal victory
in the World Court's ruling Friday that Israel's security fence in the West
Bank violates international law. But it will be a hollow win as long as violence
and terror continue to cast a dark cloud across the region.... It is Israel's reply to horror attacks on
buses, family gatherings and restaurants. Yet the World Court seemed curiously
uninterested in this. While no one likes the idea of a wall, Israel has the
right, indeed the duty, to protect the lives of its citizens. Desperation drove
this measure. If Palestinian President Yasser Arafat ever hopes to regain some
international legitimacy he will have to suppress the culture of incitement and
terrorism that has taken root in the occupied areas.... That Supreme Court concern for Palestinian
rights should be reciprocated. Israelis
have rights, too. Including the right not to be blown to bits. Instead of attacking Israel at the UN, the
Palestinian Authority should ponder its own role in creating the barrier that
it finds so offensive."
"The Path Of Israel's Fence"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (7/10): "As expected, the ICJ in The Hague ruled
yesterday that Israel's separation fence on the West Bank is illegal and must
be torn down. And as expected, Israel immediately dismissed the ruling. It says
the fence is a purely political matter, to be resolved by Israelis and
Palestinians and not by the World Court. This position has merit. Indeed, the
U.S., Canada and the members of the EU, despite having reservations about the
fence, have taken this view all along. They believe, quite rightly, that the
only way to a Mideast settlement is through negotiation on the ground, based on
the principles laid out in last year's road map.... Israel's elites must realize it's just a
matter of time before the Israeli high court precedent is applied to other
sections of the barrier. This, combined with a growing international political
consensus that its chosen route is unjust, begins to make the entire structure
look untenable. That does nothing to advance the cause of Israeli security. If
a wall must be built, let it be on the Green Line, Israel's internationally
recognized border with the West Bank."
"The Questioned Israeli Wall"
Daily-of-record La Nacion stated (7/15): "The highest international court, the
ICJ...has just pointed out that most of the 700-km wall, which Israel is
building in Palestinian territory in the so-called West Bank...violates
international law. In a non-binding verdict...the high international court
advised Israel to demolish it, at least in some sections defined as 'illegal'.... According to the ICJ, the wall cannot be
justified by invoking the right to self-defense...which should cede vis-à-vis
the rights protected by international law....
Israel has already notified it will continue building the wall.... The Israeli Government argues that there has
been no terrorist attack in the last four months, which it largely attributes
to the defensive wall.... But the fact
that both the highest national judges and the international courts have issued
similar verdicts about the issue...invites the two sides to...continue looking
for peace with reflection and prudence in spite of the huge difficulties and
Liberal Folha de S. Paulo stressed (7/14): "The wall Israel is building goes beyond
the limits of its right of self-defense for the simple reason that it is not
being built on Israeli territory, but in Palestinian areas illegally occupied
by Israel. The argument being used by some Israelis that the West Bank is not
Palestinian territory, but an area subject to dispute, is questionable.... It is not acceptable that Israel takes
unilateral possession of approximately ten percent of Palestinian land, as the
wall project intends. Therefore, the decision by the ICJ considering the building
of the wall illegal seems correct....
Sharon's wall is certainly an important element in the complex Middle
East question. But it does not represent the end of actions aimed at a peace
"The Tipsters Of The Hague"
Luiz Garcia wrote in center-right O Globo (7/13): "It’s a waste of time to discuss who is
right or not. In the Middle East
everybody is and nobody is. With
impressive regularity, a country that was right yesterday may be wrong
tomorrow. That explains, for example,
why the U.S. armed Iraq for the war against Iran and, sometime later, faced the
same Iraq in two wars--one with reason and the other without. The maximum that may happen with the Court’s
decision is that it may fall on the lap of the UN General Assembly, which might
and probably will use it as a starting point for the approval of some sanctions
against Israel. And all of that won’t be
more than an exercise in rhetoric. In the end, any member of the UNSC--in that
case certainly the U.S.--may veto it. And nothing will happen. In the real world, The Hague International
Court...doesn’t issue sentences: it
merely issues tips. Even worse: despite the judges’ frailty and inefficiency,
they are undergoing attacks from Israel, which has accused them of being
responsible for any future terrorist attack.
As if terrorists--Arabs or not--needed any other stimulus besides their
own fanaticism to kill and to die."
MEXICO: "Bush, Sharon
And International Law"
Eugenio Anguiano Roch wrote in nationalist El Universal
(7/14): "Unfortunately in the
current international political and juridical systems built by democracies and
other nations that overcame totalitarian regimes, there have been more than a
few cases of disobedience to international rulings.... We note the arrogant attitude of President
Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who do not hesitate to place their
interests squarely in front of decisions by international organizations that
their countries helped to create--such as the UN, in the case of the U.S.--and
which in principle are favorable to them. For example, the resolutions that
permitted the partition of Palestine and the acceptance of the state of Israel
were supported by an overwhelming majority of UN members."
Barrier In The West Bank"
Medellin-based center-right El Colombiano stated
(7/13): "The conclusion of the ICJ
(in The Hague) is not innocuous....
Hopefully, the leaders committed to the 'roadmap' negotiation process
will act according to this ruling so that the principles harmed by Israel will
"A Bad Precedent For The ICJ"
Bucaramanga-based center-left Vanguardia
Liberal noted (7/13): "Israel’s
decision to ignore the Court ruling...produces a terrible precedent for the
observance that the nations of the world must have of the highest maximum
court.... The barrier is not only the
greatest case of discrimination and prejudgment for considering all
Palestinians as potential terrorists, but an insult to humanity."