9 Aug 2008IPSC Home
Letter from IPSC to members of the Joint Committees on Foreign Affairs and European Affairs - 9th August 2008
On his recent visit to the Middle East, Minister Micheál Martin raised Ireland’s concerns about the impact of Israel’s separation barrier on Palestinian economic and social development in the West Bank. Minister Martin is to be commended for doing so. However, in our view, the Minister should have gone much further and insisted that Israel should remove the barrier, which the International Court of Justice declared to be “contrary to international law” in its opinion of 9 July 2004. The Court concluded:a) The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law;Regrettably, for the past four years, Israel has categorically refused to comply with these obligations and has continued to build the wall.
b) Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151 of this Opinion;
c) Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem;
Israel has maintained this recalcitrant stance despite a near unanimous demand by the international community that it comply. In resolution ES-10/15, passed on 2 August 2004, the UN General Assembly demanded that “Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations” as laid down by the Court. This resolution was passed by 150 votes to 6. Ireland, and all other EU states, supported it. Only Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and the United States opposed.
The Court stated in its opinion:
“The United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated regime.”
Israel has ignored the action taken four years ago by the UN General Assembly with the support of Ireland and other EU states. It is now time for the Security Council to take action.
Ireland should seek to persuade the EU to raise this matter at the Security Council, as requested by the Court. We urge you to raise this issue in the appropriate fora.
We look forward to this matter receiving your attention.