The Israeli Seam Sone Authorities (Ministry of defence)International Court of Justice
The ICJ Advisory ruling on the legal consequences of the construction of a Wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory
The West Bank Barrier
Since 2002, the Government of Israel has been constructing a Barrier, which it states is a security measure to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian militant attacks. It consists of 8-metre high concrete walls, ditches, trenches, wire fences, patrol roads and barbed wire.
The Barrier does not follow the 1949 armistice line – the Green Line – but rather significantly veers eastwards into the heart of the West Bank. In January 2006, 525 km (74.6%) of the total length of the projected Barrier is inside West Bank territory. This has created closed areas – 10.1% of West Bank and East Jerusalem land lies between the Barrier and the Green Line. Once the Barrier is completed, a total of 49,400 West Bank Palestinians living in 38 villages will be included in these areas.
Communities located close to the Barrier once had diverse local economies, with vibrant markets selling goods to Israeli customers, and abundant water and land resources. These communities have seen their living conditions plummet. Israel has created gates in the Barrier for passage into the closed areas between the Green Line and the Barrier. Residents of the closed areas need to ask for permission from the Israeli authorities to continue living on their land. Palestinians living to the east of the Barrier who want to visit West Bank areas to the west of it need to apply for a permit from the Israeli authorities to pass through a Barrier gate.
The Barrier impairs access to key education and health services, and by isolating wells from the land and destroying water networks and cisterns lying in its path, it creates new water and sanitation needs. The Barrier’s adverse impact on agricultural production and access to markets has increased food security.
In its advisory opinion of 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that the Barrier constructed in the West Bank is illegal under international humanitarian and human rights law. The Court found: Israel also has an obligation to put an end to the violation of its international obligations flowing from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory … Israel accordingly has the obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built by it in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. The Court also concluded that Israel has an obligation to make reparation for the damage caused and that Israel is under a responsibility to return the land, orchards, olive groves and other immovable property seized for purposes of construction of the Barrier in the oPt.