Skip to comments.A fence built for peace
Posted on 02/03/2004 9:35:06 AM PST by knighthawk
Later this month, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague will offer an advisory opinion on Israel's security fence, following a request from the UN general assembly. That request puts under threat the fundamental values and founding principles of the UN itself, and puts at risk the independent non-political nature of the ICJ, as well as jeopardising the promotion of peace and security in the Middle East. The court must reject this attempt to exploit its mandate for political objectives and instead protect the legitimacy and propriety of the institution and the goals of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. The request, set forth by an automatic majority in favour of any Palestinian-backed initiative, violated the UN's own rules of procedure and separation of responsibilities. The UN has clearly addressed the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The security council unanimously approved resolution 1515 on November 19 2003, supporting the "road map" as the method for promoting peace in the region. But now the action of the general assembly directly challenges this well-accepted UN position.
Far from being a genuine legal question, the request for a "legal opinion" is blatantly prejudicial. It makes no reference to Palestinian terrorism and incitement, nor to the total failure of the Palestinian leadership to fulfil its internationally recognised commitment to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism.
After over 19,000 terrorist attacks, over 900 dead and thousands more wounded, Israel started to build a defensive anti-terrorist fence. Its sole purpose is to prevent suicide bombers and armed terrorists from reaching Israeli cafes, city centres and buses (as happened in Jerusalem last Thursday).
The general assembly request recalls the famous observation of Abba Eban that "if Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions".
While the use of security fences to prevent the incursion of terrorist elements is widespread among states confronting terrorism, Israel is not averse to discussion or debate regarding the impact of the fence on the Palestinian population. We have no desire to cause hardship. Indeed, characteristics of the fence, including routing and humanitarian measures, such as passageways and agricultural gates to allow for easier movement, have been adapted, based on consultation within Israel and with the local population.
Israel's independent judicial system has also been deeply involved in this process. Every Palestinian who is affected by the fence has a right of direct appeal to Israel's supreme court.
There has been a longstanding effort to hijack the agendas of the UN political and humanitarian organs. The 2003 general assembly saw 19 anti-Israel resolutions, although there was not even one addressing India and Pakistan's conflict over Kashmir. This stands in stark contrast to the failure of the very same assembly to muster a majority for resolutions to protect the Israeli child against terrorism. Other international bodies dedicated literally half of their agenda to discussing Israeli-Palestinian issues.
The road map calls on both sides to resolve the conflict via direct negotiations. Phase one of the plan calls on the Palestinians directly to end violence and fight terror. Since its adoption, however, two consecutive Palestinian prime ministers have announced publicly that they would not fulfil their primary commitment pursuant to the road map - dismantling the infrastructure of terror. Instead, they have sought international backing to draw attention to Israel's response to terrorism.
The Palestinians have enlisted multiple forums to rule on the issues that must be negotiated. This time it is the ICJ whose mandate they seek to exploit. The international community must say no. The risk, beyond considerable damage to the peace process, is that "success" will lead to other dangerous political questions being posed - on Iraq, Kashmir, Chechnya for example. The international community must protect the integrity of international institutions that were founded to safeguard the rights of the citizens of the community of nations. The Palestinians are shirking the commitments they have repeatedly undertaken since the peace process began in 1993. We cannot allow their destructive behaviour to damage the ICJ. This was expressed by President Truman at the creation of the United Nations: " ... if we seek to use it selfishly - for the advantage of one nation or any small group of nations - we shall be equally guilty of ... betrayal."
· Silvan Shalom is Israel's foreign minister and deputy prime minister
2-It is an "advisory position" that carries the same amount of weight as every other anti-Israel position established in meaningless international organizations.
3-For all the faults of the UN, the good thing is that the USA is a permanent, veto-wielding member of the Security Council. Pass all the B.S. resolutions and issue all the advisory positions you want, if it comes to actually taking action against Israel, we can block it.
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