Marking 17 Years on the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of a Wall in occupied Palestine

Media Briefs
July 09, 2021

On 9 July 2004, Palestine achieved one of its most important diplomatic victories: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) released an unprecedented Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The result was a solid document that deemed the Wall illegal and reminded Israel of its obligations as occupying power, as well as it reminded the international community of their obligations as third parties with regards to the case. Seventeen years later, it would be difficult to argue that the ICJ opinion has been taken seriously by several western countries: the Wall and its related infrastructure built to de facto annex occupied territory has not been dismantled, colonial settlements have continued to expand, and foreign companies and organizations are still involved in the expansion of this illegal enterprise.


Israel’s Illegal Facts on the Ground in occupied Palestine

Israel, the occupying Power, continues to kill, injure, arrest, and imprison thousands of Palestinians to further expropriate Palestinian lands and natural resources and to consolidate and protect its illegal colonial project and apartheid regime that it has created by means of denying the right of the people of Palestine to self-determination and to exist on their land in freedom and dignity.


Key Figures 2004- 2021

  •  Annexation Wall: Israel has so far completed 70% of the wall’s intended length (712km) and 3% is currently under construction (see attached map).
  •  Settlement Activities: from 2012 until June 2021, Israeli settlement construction continued throughout occupied Palestine, with at least 35,453 announced plans (excluding occupied Jerusalem). Currently, there are 144 settlements in occupied Palestine, including in occupied Jerusalem, and 139 colonial settlement installations (outposts). Moreover, between January 2004 till March 2021 at least 31,636 new settlement units (including colonial installations) were constructed. 1
  • Settlers Population: Israel continues to illegally move its population into occupied Palestine, and correspondingly the settlers’ population has increased from 415,058 in 2004 to 660,820 in 2019.2
  • Settlers Violence: until 30 June 2021, Israeli settlers have carried out more than 15,000 attacks against Palestinians while enjoying full support and immunity from the occupation authorities.3
  • Palestinian Homes Demolished: until the end of June 2015, Israel demolished more than 3,000 Palestinian homes and other livelihood structures. According to UNOCHA, between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2021: Israel demolished and confiscated +4,160 structures, including +1,050 homes and nearly 920 donor-funded structures, displacing +1,030 Palestinian families and affecting +100,000 Palestinians.4
  • Palestinians Detained: until 30 June 2021, Israel detained +70,000 Palestinians.
  • Palestinians Killed: until 30 June 2021, Israel killed 8,065 Palestinians.5


Israeli crimes and policies in the occupied Palestinian Territory are not just aimed at denying the inalienable Palestinian right to self-determination but have also severely undermined the mere idea of rules-based world order: to have a country that has systematically violated all its obligations under UN resolutions is an indication of failure. But in this case, the problem goes beyond Israel alone: several governments continue to ignore their obligations in occupied Palestine, including those contained in the ICJ opinion. Lack of concrete measures to implement international law, including sanctions, has continued to undermine the prospects of a just and lasting peace. The ICJ Opinion will remain an important document. Yet, the lack of use of its recommendations serves as a reminder of how much members of the international community are willing to tolerate the apartheid regime established against the people and the land of Palestine.

  • 1. Peace Now
  • 2. Ibid
  • 3. Palestinian Monitory Group
  • 4. UNOCHA
  • 5. Palestinian Monitoring Group
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