The UN General Assembly willÂ vote on 15 December to authorizeÂ the costs, or “financial implications” of establishing a office to maintainÂ the proposed register of damages caused by Israel’s construction of a Wall in the West Bank, which the UN considers occupied Palestinian territory.Â In July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague handed down an advisory opinion ruling that the construction of this Wall is a violation of international law, and the Court also said that the United Nations and all its member states hadÂ an obligation to remind Israel of its responsibilities in this regard.Â
The cost of establishing this proposed register and a secretariat to administer its office, which is to be based in Vienna, is projected to be just over $3 million, according to theÂ draft resolution that will be voted on 15 December.
The International Court of Justice in the Hague handed down a ruling on 9 July 2004 saying that the Barrier / Wall being constructed in the West Bank was illegal under international law.Â In August 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing theÂ ICJ ruling.
More than two years later, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a report suggesting the international framework required to set up a register of damages caused by Israel’s continuing construction work.Â “The Secretary-General proposes to establish an office of the Register of Damages in Vienna. That office would include a Board comprised of three independent members, as well as a small secretariatâ€, the UN Spokesman reported in New York on Friday 27 October 2006.
On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague handed down an Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. According to the press summary published by the ICJ, there are obligations on Israel, on other States, and on the United Nations — which are â€œlegal consequences of the violation by Israel of its obligationsâ€:
Israel is obliged to comply with the international obligations it has breached by the construction of the wall – Israel is obliged to put an end to the violation of its international obligations, including the obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall, to dismantle it forthwith and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith the legislative and regulatory acts relating to its construction, save where relevant for compliance by Israel with its obligation to make reparation for the damage caused – Israel obliged to make reparation for the damage caused to all natural or legal persons affected by construction of the wall.
All States have the obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction – and … to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to selfâ€‘determination is brought to an end – and … while respecting the Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention …
and the United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, [need] to consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and its associated rÃ©gime, taking due account of the Advisory Opinion.
That was the ICJ ruling in July 2004.
(Photo by Matt Robson – Bethlehem – new terminal under construction at Checkpoint 300 – July 2004)