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However judgment passed by Israeli High Court on June 30, 2004, has ordered government to re-route a 30 km section of wall as otherwise it will infringe on rights of some 45,000 people of ten Palestine villages. The Justices Aharon Barak, Mishael Heshin and Eliyahu Matza read out complex verdict- "The route that military commander established for security fence....injures local inhabitants in a severe and acute way while violating their rights under humanitarian and international law." However court upheld fact that government had right to build barrier and that construction was permissible on occupied land but that an alternative route was possible.
Then on July 9th, The International Court of justice at The Hague, ruled that wall was illegal. The non binding verdict said- "The court accordingly finds that construction of wall, and its associated regime, are contrary to international laws....... The court is of view that United Nations, and especially General Assembly and Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end illegal situation resulting from construction of wall." It also ordered Likud government to pay reparation to affected Palestinians.
The defiant Israel government refused to comply with ruling. Deputy PM Yosef Lapid emphatically declared Israel's intention to continue work on wall. Ariel Sharon said that he wanted "to make clear, state of Israel absolutely rejects ruling of International Court of Justice in The Hague." Despite Palestinian PM Ahmed Qureia's hope that Americans wound "not sabotage" endeavor of international community to deconstruct "Apartheid wall", White House officials as well as opposition in US condemned ICJ ruling. In fact Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry as well as Senator Hilary Clinton stood staunchly by Israeli decision. The support coming from US opposition must have surely emboldened Ariel Sharon.
The only threat to Israel's master plan of compartmentalization of West Bank to foil peace plan comes from persistent EU. The EU Foreign policy Chief Javier Solana has pledged to be a part of peace negotiation despite repeated rebukes from Israel. The ICJ verdict has also galvanized many European Human Rights organizations to pressurize their respective national governments to impose economic sanctions against Israel because Article 2 of EU-Israeli association agreement states that trade restrictions can be enforced because of a country's poor Human Rights report.
All said and done, enforcement of embargo on Israel seems unlikely as it still has and will always have US as its major backer. Till date US has donated Israel a record sum of $ 92 billion along with Apache helicopters and heavy and light artillery. Israel itself is now a major weapon supplier to many nations and with rise of Islamic fundamentalism in volatile middle east, Israel would be seen as a deterrent or a buffer state. After all US would be quite happy to deflect some of Al Qaida and Mujahidin ire towards Israel. So Israel is completely at its freedom to continue their murderous occupation, ensuring social and economic denigration of Palestinian society and trampling their dreams of a free Palestine under crushing burden of Apartheid wall. The saga continues.
The author is a freelance journalist, volunteer social worker and web content developer who has written in four national and local dailies in India.