The last 15 years have proven that only when we as people hold accountable those that decide about and profit from the crimes against us human rights gain value. They have furthermore shown that together we are strong enough to withhold the hardest times. Today is the moment to intensify our efforts, to demand the implementation of the ICJ decision as a fundamental step towards a World without Walls and respect for human rights for all! READ THE FULL STOPTHEWALL STATEMENT HERE.
Against a World of Walls and Lawlessness – Together we resist!
July 9 2004 – exactly 15 years ago – the International Court of Justice (ICJ) released its verdict on the legal consequences of the Wall Israel had started building on our land it holds occupied. The decision was clear: The Wall is illegal, Israel has to dismantle the Wall, pay reparations and the international community has the duty not to recognize, aid or assist Israel’s violations of international law and to take appropriate action to stop them.
Our immediate response was not less clear: “This opinion will only mark an important event in the struggle against the Apartheid Wall and for Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, if the UN, world governments and the international community demand the implementation of the opinion and act to sanction Israeli Apartheid for its crimes against the Palestinian people.”
On July 9 2005, one year later, in response to the continued failure of the UN and states to act in order to uphold Palestinian rights and to stop Israel’s enduring regime of apartheid, colonialism and occupation, Palestinian civil society united in the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
In occasion of the 10th anniversary of the ICJ decision regarding the Wall, 92 leading legal experts and international legal networks signed a Joint Letter ‘Time to Act’ in which they detailed the legal duties of states and warned that “The failure of the United Nations and individual Member States to uphold their binding obligations to uphold international law and world order in this case undermines the international system and faith in international law.”
Today, 15 years later, the Wall in the West Bank is continuing to be built.
Israel’s geopolitical vision traced by the Wall was already inscribed in the maps of the Oslo Agreements that defined Palestinian residential zones as Area A – largely delineating the ghettoes in which we are to be confined today. Already in 1995, Wall building started with the encircling of Gaza behind fences and walls, which has transformed into the cruel ongoing siege on the tiny coastal strip. The walls around Gaza and in the West Bank and their related infrastructure of checkpoints, bypass roads and military zones, that cut off Jerusalem and 60% of the West Bank land, are at the sight of everybody. People are loosing their homes, dozens of communities, such as Khan al Ahmar, are threatened with destruction and expulsion. The two-state solution, ostensibly supported by world leaders, is burried deep under walls and settlement expansion.
Israel and its allies in the international community have not only failed to stop the Wall that strangles our people. Worse – they have adopted the paradigm and we have entered a new era of walls. Over 70 walls are today militarizing borders and imposing state control on other people’s land.
The Trump administration has not only underwritten Israel’s policies of annexation, it works continuously to legitimize and sustain them. The first part of the so-called ‘Deal of the Centrury’, presented at the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ conference in Bahrein last month unearthed once again the World Bank proposals developed already in 2005 that we have at that time debunked as ‘Do-It-Yourself Apartheid’ – a vicious proposal to transform ghettoized and dispossessed Palestinian farmers and refugees in cheap labour for Israeli and transnational capital. The Palestinian elite was to be bought up by giving it a share.
We are today assisting a concerted attempt to exclude rights and international law as irrelevant from the conversation on Palestine. This is why it is central to uphold the ICJ decision on the Wall and the uncomfortable obligations, of which it reminds the international community.
The generalized disregard of the verdict of the world’s highest court has become de facto a green light for the law of the jungle, not only in Palestine. Like with the Walls, the neglect of UN resolutions and international agreements and law as well as human rights has become a growing trend. Those at the receiving end of this increasing lawlessness are people facing militarization, oppression and marginalization and our planet itself.
Palestine today is a global laboratory not only for Walls but for a world of where might is right.
In a world where for ever more people ‘to exist is to resist’, upholding at the very minimum international law and human rights is a question of survival. Por us Palestinians this means to stand firm in defending our basic right to self-determination.
We are continuing to resist. Since last year, the Great Return March continues to give a powerful sign that Palestinians won’t surrender to life behind ghetto walls. The dramatic situation we are living in has given momentum to our people behind the apartheid Wall to redouble their struggle and to forge new unity in the popular resistance. Beyond that, we know that for our struggle to succeed, international solidarity and a deep connection with global justice struggles across all continents is essential.
Globally, ever more movements are coming together in a common understanding that our struggles are inherently connected. The call given out by Palestinian and Mexican movements for a #WorldwithoutWalls has recently be joined by 73 solidarity and migrant rights groups in Europe.
The movement for BDS, launched in response to the inaction on the world governments, is growing and is giving us all the hope we need to continue to stand steadfast every day. It is giving us the confidence that we are not alone and soon we shall overcome.
The last 15 years have proven that only when we as people hold accountable those that decide about and profit from the crimes against us human rights gain value. They have furthermore shown that together we are strong enough to withhold the hardest times.
Today is the moment to intensify our efforts, to demand the implementation of the ICJ decision as a fundamental step towards a World without Walls and respect for human rights for all!