WASHINGTON - July 9 - The International Court of Justice ruled today on the legality of the wall the Israeli government has been constructing in the occupied West Bank. On its web page, the Israeli newspaper Haartz headlines the story: "World Court: West Bank Separation Barrier Violates International Law, Israel Must Tear It Down."
The following are available for interviews:
SUSAN AKRAM, email@example.com
JOHN QUIGLEY, firstname.lastname@example.org
NADIA HIJAB, email@example.com, www.palestinecenter.org
Akram is a professor at Boston University College of Law and author of the article "The Case On The Legality Of Israel's Wall At The International Court Of Justice." Professor of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley wrote the article "The Lack Of Necessity For Israel's Separation Wall." Hijab is executive director of the Palestine Center.
The three of them will be available for a phone-in press conference on the court decision at 3 p.m. ET; call (202) 338-1290 for the 800-number.
Quigley said today: "The court appropriately found violations of both humanitarian law and the law of human rights. The wall seriously violates international law. As a result, it must be torn down, and compensation paid to those who have already suffered harm."
Hijab said today: "The fact that the Court ruled that the Wall is illegal is no surprise; it could hardly rule anything else given where and how the Wall is being built, and the weight of international law. What is surprising is that the Court wasn't cowed by the political pressure exerted by the U.S., some European countries, and Israel to adopt a narrow ruling. It has issued a comprehensive statement of the rights to which Palestinians, as human beings, are entitled: self-determination, freedom of movement, work, health, education. This ruling will not by itself change the balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians. But it gives the citizens of Europe, the U.S., and other countries whose policies allow the Israeli occupation of Palestine to continue a powerful way of holding their governments accountable for their trade with and aid to Israel so long as it insists on occupying Palestinian land." Hijab added: "The Court's ruling against the South African presence in Namibia in the 1970s is widely believed to have contributed to the imposition of sanctions against South Africa, which helped to end apartheid."
AZMI BISHARA, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.miftah.org
Bishara is a Palestinian Arab member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, and has been on a hunger strike with over 20 others to protest the Israeli Wall. They have just issued a statement available at the above web page.
TERRY BOULLATA, email@example.com, www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june04/barrier2_2-10.html
Boullata is a member of the Palestinian Popular Campaign Against The Occupation Wall. She is headmistress of a school in the West Bank. The wall goes right in front of her house, cutting her family off from direct access to work, schools and relatives. She said today: "The court decision is a triumph not only for Palestinians, but for Israeli lovers of peace and all those who respect human rights and the rule of law."
Dr. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/07/09/144228
BARBARA LUBIN, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mecaforpeace.org
Director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, Lubin recently returned from the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza. She said today: "The wall is not about security, it's about grabbling land, what Israel has been doing for decades. It goes into territory Israel has been occupying. It is surrounding towns and villages and in effect strangling them, suffocating them to make life unbearable for Palestinians with tactics like this wall. And we as U.S. taxpayers are supporting it." Barghouti is secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative and president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Committee. He will be visiting the U.S. for three days and will be reachable through Lubin beginning this weekend.