Tear Down This Wall!
The International Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the Israeli separation wall (in true Orwellian style, called a "security wall" by Jerusalem's government) that cuts into Palestinian refugee land in the West bank violates international law and must be dismantled. The opinion was almost unanimous; the 15 judges voted 14-1, with the American judge giving the only dissenting opinion. The ruling lays bare the real reasons for this wall:
In a sharply worded advisory opinion - far harsher than Israel expected - the International Court of Justice said Israel should compensate Palestinians harmed by the structure and return property confiscated for its construction...
Palestinians say - and the court agreed - that the barrier could lead to the demarcation of a new border and be "tantamount to de facto annexation." If security were the only issue, the Palestinians said, the barrier could be built on the Israeli side of the 1967 border.
This is a land grab, pure and simple. It has less to do with security than turning whatever swath of "Palestine" remains into a prison compound. In fact, the wall is set up exactly like a maximum-security prison wall, with razor-wire fences, trenches and watch towers. It also practically denies work, schooling and hospitals to Palestinians who now, instead of walking the short distance across where the fence now stands to their destination, must get themselves miles and miles to a security checkpoint. The wall will kill people who are herded on one side of it.
Predictably, the US government remained at Israel's side, with Press Secretary Scott McClellan claiming that it's a political issue, not a legal one. And Israel is already making sure they will not be affected by The Hague's non-binding opinion:
Israeli public radio said Washington has already assured Israel that it will block any UN resolution calling for sanctions as demanded by the Palestinians.
Standing in opposition to a unanimous world opinion, using veto power to block its enforcement... for a superpower, we look more and more like a rogue state every day.
Incidentally, just to show that the Middle East crisis is an issue on which everybody's wrong, the leader of Hizbollah said today that the only means to tearing down the wall was armed resistance.