Five Years of Illegality

Time to dismantle the Wall and respect the rights of Palestinians

Published: 8 July 2009

In an advisory opinion, rendered on 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice stated that Israel’s construction of the Wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory was illegal and called for its immediate dismantling. Five years later, the advisory opinion has been met only by inaction: Israel continues constructing the Wall and the international community remains silent. Oxfam International underscores the urgency of addressing this situation in a compilation of testimonies that is published today.

This report presents testimonies of fifteen Palestinian men and women who recount their daily problems, arising from the construction of the Wall and its associated regime of land confiscation and permits, and the construction and expansion of settlements.

Tragic consequences: farmers separated from their fields, workers without access permits, pregnant women unable to reach the hospital, villages without adequate access to water. The UN estimates that in the north of the West Bank approximately 80 per cent of Palestinians who own land on the other side of the Wall have not received permits from the Israeli authorities, and hence cannot cultivate their fields. It is a similar story in other parts of the West Bank.

“For five years now, different Israeli governments and the international community have turned a deaf ear to the appeals by the General Assembly of the United Nations and have refused to respect and observe the opinion of the International Court of Justice. This inaction gives the wrong signal: that international law can be violated without accountability. For the sake of Palestinians and Israelis alike, it is time for the rule of law to triumph. If not, it will be very difficult to achieve a just, negotiated, and durable peace in the Middle East”, says Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International.

In this report, Oxfam International calls on the international community to effectively challenge the construction of the Wall in occupied territory and its associated regime, together with the construction of settlements and the confiscation and control of natural resources (land and water), which all de facto contribute to the altering of the demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian Territory and are in violation of international humanitarian law.