Israel criticized again in UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

The Geneva based NGO UN Watch, which monitors UN activities that touch Israel, notes that, at the end of its third regular session, today, “the UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel twice, bringing its total number of resolutions against the Jewish state, in its [meaning the Human Rights Council – because the State of Israel has existed since 15 May 1948] six months of existence, to eight.  Israel is the only country in the world that the Council has condemned for human rights violations since it was inaugurated in June.  Today’s censures were the only Council resolutions from this session that addressed a specific country.  The two texts deal with ‘follow up’ to two earlier Council resolutions pronouncing Israel guilty of human rights violations in Gaza and in Lebanon without mentioning the actions or violations of Hamas or Hezbollah, which were widely criticized by Western states and human rights organizations as one-sided.  Both of today’s resolutions mandate additional reporting on and scrutiny of Israel’s conduct when the Council meets again in March.”  www.unwatch.org

A press release issued by UN Watch quotes executive director Hillel Neuer as saying ” The Council, regrettably, continues to defy the repeated pleas of Secretary-General Annan to move past its obsession with one-sided resolutions against Israel … [T]he Council is reserving virtually all of its criticism for Israel, and today’s resolutions guarantee that this imbalance will continue at its next session.”

The UN Watch press release adds that “The only other country situation on which the Council has passed a resolution in its first six months is that of Darfur, Sudan.  That resolution, however, neither accuses Sudan of committing violations nor holds it responsible for halting the ongoing atrocities in Darfur”.

The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Darfur next Tuesday, 12 December.

But, until now, UN Watch notes, “The Council’s three previous special sessions, held in July, August, and November, all focused on Israel”.

UN Watch was founded in 1993, by a former U.S. Ambassador (Morris B. Abram).

The present U.S. Ambassador in Geneva, Warren W. Tichenor, made his own statement during today’s session of the UN Human Rights Council, saying: “By condemning only Israel and discouraging an examination of the actions of Hizballah, the Council is rewarding an armed non-state actor, one that is currently trying to bring down the democratically elected Lebanese government, for engaging in repeated armed attacks against a member state of the United Nations.  Hizballah has attacked civilians and has conducted its operations in Lebanon in a manner that puts civilians in harm’s way.  Hizballah deliberately adopted these tactics to camouflage its operations — to insulate its forces from attack, in such a way that even if Israel attacks legitimate targets, Hizballah will score public relations points from the spectacle of Lebanese civilian casualties and death.  The United States remains a strong supporter of Lebanon’s democratically elected government, and the Lebanese people, as we reiterate our dedication to help Lebanon rebuild as they deserve a prosperous and secure country in which they are free to make decisions without fear of violence or intimidation.”

Ambassador Tichenor also said, in his statement to the UN’s Human Rights Council: “The human suffering on both sides of the Lebanon-Israel border earlier this year was a tragedy and remains a serious concern of my government.  Faced with the tragic results of the conflict in Lebanon precipitated by the egregious cross-border attacks by Hizballah, the Council reacted in August with a one-sided and unfair resolution aimed only at Israel. The Council compounded its actions by creating a Commission of Inquiry to investigate only Israel’s use of force. As we heard at this session, the Commission report was one-sided and flawed. When evaluating issues such as targeting, use of weapons, and proportionality — which are in any event matters outside the mandate of the Council — one needs to look fully at all sides to the armed conflict.  Nevertheless, in its long list of recommendations, the Commission managed to make a few that would apply to Hizballah.”

The UN Human Rights Council will hold its fourth session in Geneva next year, over a four-week  period, from 12 March to 5 April 2007.

(The Human Rights Council is mandated to hold at least three separate sessions per year, totalling at least ten weeks.)

Before closing this last regular session of 2006, the Human Rights Council’s President, Luis Alfonso de Alba of Peru, said, according to a UN Press release, that “The Council had been working hard by combining substantive issues with a focus on institution-building. The Council had also dealt with highly topical and substantive issues. Although there were still matters to be worked out, many important things had successfully been accomplished. The Council had been requested by the resolution of the General Assembly to strengthen the mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights by taking the positive and effective instruments of the former Commission on Human Rights… [He also said] It was also important to underscore the achievements made in a positive manner, without excluding any one from participating in the process. The Council was starting a new phase of institution-building and should continue to deal with other issues as well.”

John Bolton won’t give exit interview, AP reports

The outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, told AP (Associated Press) that he won’t be doing exit interviews, and he won’t be talking about his personal situation, before he leaves his post by the end of the year. 

The AP article, written by Edith Lederer, reported that “On Wednesday afternoon, he [Bolton] wanted to talk only about the Security Council resolution authorizing an African force to protect the weak transitional government in Somalia against an increasingly strong Islamic militant movement. The U.S.-sponsored resolution was adopted unanimously by the council soon after Bolton spoke.”

Nevertheless, Ambassador Bolton could not resist commenting on his encounter with outgoing SG Kofi Annan at a White House dinner on Wednesday night. 

AP writes that “Relations between Bolton and Annan have long been strained. On the subject, the U.S. ambassador was asked whether there was ‘more of a healing process’ as both he and the secretary-general prepare to exit the U.N. ‘Nope, nobody sang ‘Kumbaya’ ‘ [a song American children learn to sing while at summercamp, or maybe in their church fellowship groups], Bolton replied.” 

The AP story also revealed that “When told at an evening reception about Bolton’s comment, Annan laughed and asked: ‘But does he know how to sing it?’ “http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061207/ap_on_re_us/un_bolton_departure

The Security Council resolution authorizing “East African group to establish mission in Somalia” was discussed at the UN’s Noon Briefing in New York:

Yesterday afternoon, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that authorized the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and member states of the African Union to establish a protection and training mission in Somalia. It also endorsed the idea that states bordering Somalia would not deploy troops to the country.

Asked whether the United Nations would help IGAD to form a force in Somalia, the Spokesman said that the resolution does not give the UN a mandate with regard to the establishment or deployment of the force. It only gives the UN a role in reporting on the implementation of the force’s mandate, in consultation with the African Union and IGAD.

He said that the Secretary-General hopes that the resolution will succeed in stabilizing the situation in Somalia and contribute to the restoration of peace in the country.

In this regard, Dujarric added, the Secretary-General urges the Transitional Federal Institutions and the Union of Islamic Courts to resume their dialogue in Khartoum without any preconditions, with a view to reaching a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

Asked about press reports that Somalis who do not pray five times a day were being threatened with beheading, the Spokesman said he had no information about that. The Secretary-General, he said, is greatly concerned by the situation in Somalia and is trying to bring the parties together with the help of his Special Representative, Francois Lonseny Fall.”  http://www.un.org/News/ossg/hilites.shtml

Kofi Annan’s Regret – Iraq

The BBC World Service radio is leading today with remarks made by SG Kofi Annan in an interview with correspondent Lyse Doucet (who has occasionally been hired by the UN’s Department of Public Information to “chair” or “moderate” some of their organized round-table discussions).

The BBC story reports that Kofi Annan inched closer to calling the present situation in Iraq a “civil war”, and he expressed regret that the UN was unable to prevent the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  The SG also told Lyse Doucet that life for the “average Iraqi” is harder now than it was under Saddam Hussein.

The AP (Associated Press) news agency has also picked the story up from the BBC, and writes that “Last week, when askedby reporters whether the fighting in Iraq could be considered a civil war, Annan sald ‘almost'”.   The AP story added that “In the BBC interview, Annan agreed when it was suggested that some Iraqis believe that life is worse now than it was under Saddam’s regime.”

The AP story reported that the SG “urged the international community to help rebuild the country, saying he was not sure Iraq could do it on its own.” 

Actually, this is not really a new story, and the play this story is getting indicates that this must otherwise be a slow news day. 

Even the attention being given to a reaction solicited from Iraq’s National Security Advisor Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie is being overplayed.  It appears that all Mr. al-Rubaie said was that he is shocked and stunned that Kofi Annan could suggest that Iraq was ever better under Saddam Hussein.”  Mr. al-Rubaie also sent a dart back to the UNSG, saying that “The UN, I believe, shied away from the responsibilities to the Iraqi people in 2003.” 

It is not entirely clear exactly what he meant by that — and whether or not he was unimpressed with the activities of the UN mission in Iraq, headed by Sergio Vieira De Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who had taken a few month’s leave to go to Iraq, or whether he was disappointed that the UN pulled almost all its international staff out of Iraq after the car bombing of its relatively unprotected [they did not want to be too closely associated with the U.S.-led occupation forces] headquarters.  That bombing killed Mr. De Mello, who had been a friend of the SG, as well as Nadia Younes and a number of UN staff.

It did not take much journalistic sleuthing or delicatesse to coax these comments out of the SG. 

Kofi Annan said much the same in a press conference in Geneva on 21 November: “On the question of regret [looking back on his ten years in office], I still have to say it’s the war in Iraq, and that the debate and the discussions that took place in the [Security] Council could not have helped us stop the war.  I firmly believe that the war could have been avoided, and that the [arms] inspectors should have had a bit more time.  And then, of course, after that, on [19] August 2003, the tragic loss of my friends and colleagues who had gone there to help because we believe that regardless of the differences, we should try to get Iraq right.  And these wonderful colleagues and friends offered to go, only to be blown away, and that had a — it was really very hard on me and my colleagues.  It was very tough to digest and to accept.”  http://www.un.org/apps/sg/offthecuff.asp?nid=952

On its editors blog pages, the BBC reflects on the point at which “sectarian violence” becomes a civil war:  In April, the BBC notes, Iraq’s former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi had already described the situation in his country as a civil war. 

The BBC editor’s blog posting, signed by Jon Williams, BBC world news editor, goes on to reflect: 

“Harvard professor Monica Toft suggests there are six objective criteria all modern civil wars share:
• the struggle for power over which group governs the country;
• at least two organised, armed, groups of combatants;
• that the “state” is formally involved in the fighting;
• the intensity of the conflict;
• that the two groups are each taking significant numbers of casualties;
• and that the fighting is within the boundaries of a single country. 

She believes Iraq meets all six.

But I wonder if describing it as such, really aids our understanding of what’s going on?

The fighting in Iraq defies simple categorisation. There are at least two other dimensions to the situation there.

In Anbar province, the violence in places like Fallujah and Ramadi is driven by the original insurgency against the US-led occupation. Anbar is a Sunni stronghold – the targets, by and large, are not Shia Muslims, but American servicemen and women.

Further south, a third battle emerges – fighting between rival Shia militias. The two most powerful are the Badr Organization and the Mahdi Army, linked respectively to Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and Moqtada al-Sadr, the leaders of the two largest blocs in Iraq’s coalition government. These militia vie with each other for power, in tit-for-tat assassinations and drive-by shootings that have become a regular feature of life in places like Basra. It’s this battle that British troops in the south of Iraq often find themselves caught up in.

There is no single picture in Iraq – no single term can do justice to the complexity of what’s going on there.

For now, we’ve decided not to use the term civil war – not because the situation isn’t bad, nor life for those involved increasingly difficult. Others will continue to describe it as a “civil war” – we’ll continue to report their comments with attribution. But it’s precisely because things are critical, that we need to explain and provide the context – something, one simple phrase can never do.”       http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors

Is UN about to backtrack on Lebanese border?

The UN should never have gotten into the business of demarcating borders.

The first time was after Iraq had confirmed its surrender by accepting UN Security Council Resolution 687, following its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and its expulsion by the U.S.-led Desert Storm coalition in April 1991. Under the terms of that resolution, the UN demarcated the Iraq-Kuwait border, possibly laying the groundwork for a future conflict.

The second time the UN got into this boundary demarcation business was after Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 — but at the time the UNSG very pointedly stated that the Organization was “not engaged in a border demarcation exercise”.

The UN said they were just trying to determine the line behind which Israel must withdraw On 16 June 2000.

UNSG Kofi Annan reported to the Security Council that he was “in a position to confirm that Israeli forces have withdrawn from Lebanon in compliance with resolution 425 (1978)”.

To do this, of course, Kofi Annan had to know more or less what the frontier was, between Lebanon and Israel.

And there, he ran into difficulty.

To overcome the problem, the SG proposed that the line separating the UNIFIL (UN Peacekeeping force in Lebanon) area of operations from that of the UN Disengagement Observer force (UNDOF) operating in the Golan Heights “be adopted for the purpose of confirming Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon”.

After an exercise involving cartographers, engineers, and painting stones and other markers with “UN blue” paint, this withdrawal line is now known as the “blue line”.

A little patch of territory along the Syrian-Lebanese borders, known as the Shebaa Farms, had meanwhile become a big problem.

The United Nations determined that the Shebaa Farms region was territory that belonged to Syria, and put it within UNDOF’s Golan Heights zone.

The United Nations did so despite the claims by both Lebanon and Syria — although to varying degrees, it has to be admitted –that this bit of territory is in fact Lebanese.

The UN’s high-handed actions, based on a certain amount of exasperation with Syria, had something to do with the conflict that broke out last summer between Hizbullah and Israel, and the Israeli attack on Lebanon in July and August.

There was more than a little diplomatic sniggering, both in 2000, and again this past summer, that Syria was just slyly throwing a wrench into the works in order to advance its own interests, and using Lebanon in the process — and that Lebanon was not strong enough to stand up for itself.

But, in a revised balance-of-power calculation, there is some indication that the UN might now be preparing to consider some diplomatic adjustment. But Kofi Annan is being very cautious — and it now appears that this might not happen on his watch, before his term of office comes to an end at midnight on 31 December.

Kofi Annan explained in 2000 that no international boundary agreement has been concluded between Lebanon and Syria, and that his decision was based on a post-World War I deal between colonial powers Britain and France, that adjusted the border between the mandates they operated in the Middle East. (In this deal, Britain gave a small piece of its Palestine Mandate to France’s Syrian Mandate, in exchange for France’s acquiescence in Britain’s “administrative” separation of Transjordan from Palestine.)

Kofi Annan noted that the 1923 British-French deal was reaffirmed in the Israeli-Lebanese General Armistice Agreement signed on 23 March 1949, which was designed to settle the fighting that broke out upon Britain’s withdrawal from Palestine and Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948.

In the June 1967 war, however, Israeli Forces overran the Syrian Golan Heights, and then, in a fit of pique in 1980, Israel announced it had annexed the Golan Heights — but the UN has declared this annexation, which would mean the illegitimate acquisition of territory by force, null and void.

So, the particular issue here is that if Shebaa farms were Lebanese, Israel would have had to withdraw, and the UN would have to confirm Israel’s withdrawal.

If it is Syrian, well, then Israel can just stay put in the Shebaa farms until there is some movement in the non-existent Israel-Syrian peace process.

For Israel, the Shebaa farms (which Israelis call the Mount Dov region, named after an IDF officer killed while Israel was constructing roads to what it called a permanent post there), on the slopes of Mount Hermon, is strategically important for Israel’s security because it dominates the water sources for the Jordan River (including the Hasbani River).

PLO forces operated against Israel from this region, until their expulsion from southern Lebanon in Israel’s 1982 invasion. More recently, Hizbollah has claimed that their resistance activities in southern Lebanon were legitimized by the continued Israeli occupation of this bit of Lebanese territory.

The cease-fire that was brokered in August to end Israel’s attack upon Lebanon, agreed in UN Security Council resolution, refers to a Lebanese Government “seven-point plan” on the Shebaa Farms, in which the Lebanese Government proposed putting the Shebaa farms area under UN jurisdiction.

Resolution 1701 asked the UNSG to develop proposals for demarcation of the boundary in areas that are disputed or uncertain, including the Shebaa farms. The SG’s proposals, which were to have been delivered within 30 days of the 14 August cease-fire, were delivered in a “status report” to the UN Security Council on Friday 1 December.

Reuters’ Senior UN Correspondent Evelyn Leopold reports that Annan told the Security Council that “he had sent a senior cartographer to review the material on the Shebaa Farms area, a strip of land occupied by Israel which Lebanon claims as its own but the United Nations says is part of Syria. He said he took ‘careful note’ but gave no recommendations on Lebanon’s proposal to put the Shebaa Farms under UN jurisdiction until a permanent border was delineated.”

Leopold also reports that “The secretary-general said that he continued to receive reports of illegal arms smuggling across the Lebanese-Syrian border but has been unable to verify them. Still, his envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, said earlier this month he had evidence of the smuggling but was unable to reveal his sources.”

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, however, reported last week in an article authored by Ze’ev Schiff that Israel was the source of intelligence information that UNIFIL acted on: “UNIFIL intelligence has led to the discovery of a number of Katyusha and ammunition dumps in south Lebanon, and their subsequent destruction… Israel is said to have been the source of the intelligence regarding the munitions dumps. The units involved in the searches are Belgian, Spanish and French.”

(Schiff added that “Despite this success, thousands of Katyusha rockets are still being hidden, especially in the larger villages in the Tyre region.” And he wrote that “Senior Israel Air Force officers met recently with the heads of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on the issue, and it was decided to establish an Israel-UNIFIL coordinating body.”)

See http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/793966.html

Haiti’s children and the UN: Louise Arbour says condition of children in Haiti is particularly dire — while the BBC uncovers fresh allegations of harassment by UN peacekeepers there

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, who recently visited Haiti, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 November that although more is being said about violations of civil and political rights, such as arbitrary detention and extrajudicial executions, the general population lives in extreme poverty, and suffers from equally severe violations of their economic and social rights.

Children are often targets of violence, the High Commissioner said, and there is a big problem with access to adequate education and health care.
Minors who come in conflict with the law are most harshly affected by the general dysfunction and the many weaknesses of the judicial and detention systems in Haiti. The Government, she said, told her it needed more help from the international community to address these issues.
The High Commissioner’s remarks took on a sharp edge a day later, with the BBC World Service’s Mike Williams reporting from Port au Prince that fresh allegations of the sexual abuse of children by United Nations peacekeepers have been uncovered.
In the BBC report, broadcast on 30 November, Mike Williams said that there are some 9000 Blue Helmeted troops in Haiti now, coming from 19 different countries. They come under fire regularly, and a number have been killed. “Many of them have come to help. They work hard in dangerous conditions to bring security and aid to the desperate people…Half of the population of Haiti struggle to survive on just a dollar a day and the streets are filled with people selling whatever they can to raise a little cash. At nighttime, those who have nothing to sell, sell themselves. Among the UN soldiers and civilians, they can find willing buyers. One UN official told me that a great many of the girls who work the streets are children and, in the dark streets of the capital Port-au-Prince, we watched UN officials picking up young prostitutes and driving off with them…”
He added: “I spoke to a 14-year-old girl who told of the peacekeeper who offered her jelly, sweets and a few dollars for sex with her and her friend – a child of just 11 years…Sarah (not her real name) is a fragile looking girl of 16. She says that two years ago, she was raped by a Brazilian soldier serving with the UN mission there. She stared at the ground while we talked and, almost in a whisper, she explained what happened: “He held me down by the arms and held both my wrists, twisting them back and we struggled together. And then he raped me.” Her mother cried while she recalled that day: ‘When I found her I didn’t recognise my own child,’ she says. ‘She had the face of a dead person – I started to cry out, she couldn’t tell me what had happened.’
“The family have been seeking justice from the United Nations but officials at the local UN mission say that justice was done. Three internal inquiries found there was insufficient evidence against the man and he was sent back to his unit in Brazil.
“Soldiers serving with the UN have immunity from local laws and it’s up to their home countries to discipline them. More often than not, they’re simply repatriated and the UN has little information about what, if anything, happens to them then…”
The BBC report included comments from the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jane Holl Lute, who told the BBC that the UN “has a very serious problem. ‘My operating presumption that this is either an ongoing or potential problem in every single one of our missions,’ she says. ‘All of our missions are in areas that are economically deprived, where societies have been torn by conflict and war, where habits like prostitution of very young children is seen as a matter of course. We need to bring every resource we can to bear to make that not the case when a peacekeeping mission is in place’”.
The BBC reported that Ms Lute, a former US Air Force military officer, said “’the UN’s inability to impose punishments was a shortcoming in the system and she admitted that the organization does not have a system of justice that everyone would recognize as fair and equitable…’”
The BBC reported that the UN will be holding a conference on this issue at UNHQ/NY on Monday 4 December, at which officials will hear from victims, NGO workers and researchers in the field.
In his farewell press conference in Geneva on 20 November, UNSG Kofi Annan reflected on this issue: “I think I should take this opportunity to address the issue of sexual exploitation which has been written about so extensively. I think in a way, I’m not criticising anyone, but the way they have been written about, I don’t think has been entirely fair to the bold and hardworking peacekeepers, military and civilian, who are deployed around the world to help. As you know, the UN does not have its own army, we borrow the troops from governments, and we borrow them from governments who are willing to give us troops.
“Some contingents are much better commanded than others. We have had some problems with some soldiers, and a handful of civilians, some of whom we’ve sacked and some other soldiers we’ve sent back home. But I wish if when one is covering these things, one would say, a contingent from such and such a country, a soldier from such and such a country, has done this or that, not the UN is involved in this. In fact, what is even interesting on two recent incidents, we could not even discipline these, we had to send them for the government concerned to discipline them. We may have eight different contingents in a country, and one contingent, members of one contingent, may commit such a crime. Six or seven others, well commanded, never have any other problems, but we give them the same blanket condemnation – the peacekeepers in Congo. There are some large contingents, extremely well commanded, kept busy, whose troops have never been involved in this. And I don’t think it’s really fair.
So I would urge you, sometimes, if you can, to get into a bit more detail, you know. It also helps us put pressure on the governments concerned to train their soldiers properly to be responsible and also know that we are going to monitor whether they are going to discipline the troops when they are sent home or not. So I am pleading for a bit of fairness.”
The Secretary-General also told journalists in Geneva that “the peacekeeping operations will continue unfortunately. We would be happy if we did not have any peacekeeping operations because peacekeeping operations and deployment of troops reflects the type of world we live in, the turbulence, the conflicts, and we would much rather be out of business. But unfortunately, the trend is going the other way”
He noted that “Some years ago, one thought that UN peacekeeping was on its last legs, after the peak in the nineties when we had about 75,000 troops deployed. We went down drastically to about 10,000 to 15,000. We are now back up to about 90,000, and if all the deployment demanded of us were to go through, including Darfur, we’d probably get to over 120,000-140,000 which is huge for the UN. We are not a big military organization. We backstop and support these operations with a relatively small number of staff. But I was gratified not long ago, and some of you may want to look at it, the Rank Corporation did a study indicating that the UN does peacekeeping operations better than the US Government and others, and I thought that was gratifying for my staff who work very hard on this. Having said that, let me say that we are almost at the outer limits of our capabilities. I have shared this with the [Security] Council, that they need to be careful not to pile too much on us. There is a limit as to what a relatively small organization can take on.”

UN Opens Register of Damages Caused by Israeli construction of a Barrier / Wall in the West Bank

 

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.  In August 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution endorsing the 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.  “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 secretariat”, 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 “legal consequences of the violation by Israel of its obligations”:

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 self‑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 régime, 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)