The Wall and the Law: A Tale of Two Judgements
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 2006
63 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 12, 2006
The seminal rulings in 2004 by the International Court of Justice and the Israeli High Court on the legality of the wall/barrier that Israel is building through the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem provide a study in contrast. While both judgements were critical of the wall/barrier, their judicial approaches and legal conclusions were strikingly divergent, particularly given that the two courts were purporting to rely upon the same principles of international law. The judgements also elicited quite different political and diplomatic reactions, especially among the parties most involved in the Israel/Palestine conflict. This article explores the legal analysis and the legal-political consequences of the two rulings, and concludes that, if the international community fails to muster the political will to enforce the direction of the Advisory Opinion on the Wall issued by the ICJ, it may well ponder in future years about how it lost one of its very best last chances to affirmatively shape a conclusive and satisfying peace for all of those Palestinians and Israelis who live under the shadow of the sword.
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