"Legal Issues of the Fence" - a Summary
Here are the most frequent PR attacks on Israel's Security Fence, and appropriate answers.
a) Accusations that it is a "Wall" or "Separation Wall" or "Apartheid Wall" -
b) The suffering caused to those Palestinians who are being separated from their fields and from each other
c) The view that where the fence is built East of the green line, Israel is "illegally grabbing Palestinian land"
d) "The construction of the fence undermines Oslo"
The four issues are more and more legally loaded, and so will be our answers.
To a/ Accusations that it is a "Wall" or "Separation Wall" or "Apartheid Wall"
we have several clear and factual answers to these on the site, for example in the Home page articles: "Three lies in five words of Palestinian PM Qurei", or in "Spanish Editor's Newsletter on the Fence"
We have to use consequently the phrases 'Security Fence' and Anti-Terror Barrier (ATB), this is an answer in itself.
To b) The suffering caused to those Palestinians
In the last three years 700 Israeli civilians were deliberately killed and thousands wounded by Palestinian terror, mostly by suicide bombers entering Israel easily in the absence of a physical barrier. As any country, any property or every home has the right to defend itself with a security fence, so does Israel.
To weigh the unfortunate inconveniences and delays caused to Palestinian farmers in reaching their lands, against prevention of the murder of hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians, Arabs and Jews alike, including infants and the elderly, is absurd and inhuman.
(See Sample letters and many supporting tools on the site).
To c) Israel is "illegally grabbing Palestinian land"
Maurice Ostroff's brand new article on the site gives an overview of the "Legalities of the Anti-Terror Barrier"
International legal experts of the first rank point out (see their articles below) that :
i/ the legal status of the territories of Judea and Shomron are "disputed territories" and NOT "Palestinian terrritories", since Israel gained them from Jordan in 1967 in a defensive war, Jordan, having occupied them illegally in 1948 and Jordan's attempt to annex them having been refused recognition internationally, even by the Arab states. They have never ever been Palestinian territories.
ii/ Resolution 242 clearly requires Israel to administer the territories it occupied in the 1967 defensive war, until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved. Until such a final peace agreement is achieved Israel as occupying power is responsible for the safety of the population in those territories and is entitled and even responsible to take temporary measures necessary, such as a security fence system, to protect the lives of its citizens,
To d) "The construction of the fence undermines Oslo"?!
Maurice Ostroff has shown clearly that far from the ATB conflicting with the Oslo accords, the Oslo 2 Interim Agreement actually obliges Israel to construct it! He writes:
"An impartial observer must surely be amazed at the illogical, even hysterical, condemnation of Israel's anti-terrorist barrier (ATB), especially since Article XV of the Oslo 2 Interim Agreement obliges both sides to prevent acts of terrorism. Having regard to the PA's flagrant failure to comply with its obligations under this article, Israel's construction of the ATB should be welcomed as a non-violent means of complying with its obligations which will hopefully obviate the necessity of incursions by the Israel army into PA territory to prevent the awful terror attacks.
It is difficult to understand the violent condemnation of this defensive ATB, while complete silence is maintained about the PA's violation of its obligation under Article XXII to abstain from incitement and to ensure that its educational system contributes to peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. Surely the world must at last realize that the prevalent, obscene incitement to hate and to glorify indiscriminate killing is the fundamental cause of the terror which is spreading internationally" (READ MORE!)
To introduce the authors and articles on the Legal issues of the Fence or ATB, on the site:
- Maurice Ostroff, English writer, is a Member of TAP's Strategic Team,
- Ian Lacey's updated work, cited below, is one of the first and most specialized international law studies on legal aspects of the Arab-Israel conflict.
- As the late Eugene Rostow was one of the few international legal experts originally preparing the text of UN resolution 242, his articles cited below contain the most authoritative interpretations of this frequently quoted the resolution.
(1) Maurice Ostroff: "The Legalities of the Anti-Terror Barrier"
(2) Ian Lacey's revised booklet: "International Law and the Arab Israel Conflict", can be downloaded in pdf format
(3) Eugene Rostow's two articles: "Are the settlements legal? Resolved"
and "Historical Approach to the Issue of Legality of Jewish Settlement Activity"