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July 19, 2004

July 19, 2004



** Conservative, Israeli outlets say the verdict gives "indirect support to suicide bombers."

** Global media agree that Israel "does not have the right to sink into illegality" to fight terror.

** Muslim writers judge that the decision proves "there is still justice in our world."

** A common Arab view is that the U.S. judge's dissent proves the U.S. "has lost objectivity."


'Just another anti-Israel publicity stunt'-- The "flawed" ICJ ruling "could potentially cripple all democracies in their battle against terror," said writers who concluded that the decision suggests Israel "is not allowed to defend itself against malicious terrorists." The world "cannot but agree" with building the barrier, added Italy's elite Il Foglio, because "where it has been erected, terrorist attacks have diminished." A Canadian writer defended the wall because Israelis have the "right not to be blown to bits." Many Israeli analysts blamed the "tendentious verdict" on the "hostility toward Israel that is sweeping Europe"; the conservative Jerusalem Post asked why Europe places "a higher value on Palestinian property than on Jewish lives."

Do 'not use the excuse of self-defense to build the wall'-- Liberal dailies backed the ruling: though Israel "must have the right to protect itself," it lacks a "carte blanche to ignore international law." Papers such as Belgium's Le Soir accepted Israel's "right to build a wall...on its own territory" but rejected the wall's "deep intrusions" into the West Bank; Canada's leading Globe and Mail concluded that "if a wall must be built, let it be on the Green Line." Others joined Japan's Mainichi in opposing any wall as a "symbol of hatred and mistrust." Dailies termed "building the wall...a gross mistake" because "only negotiations can solve" the conflict.

'A milestone in the development of international law'-- Arab dailies hailed the ICJ's "impartiality towards right, law and principles of justice" and said the "historic" ruling proves "the justice of Palestinian demands." Syria's government-owned Al-Thawra sought a "UNSC resolution that forces Israel to demolish the wall." Britain's independent Economist also saw a "case for censure and even sanctions." But many dailies warned Palestinians not to be "too euphoric" given "Israel's arrogance" in rejecting the ICJ verdict and the fact that the U.S. will "veto any step the UN might contemplate." Brazil's center-right O Globo judged the verdict nothing but an "exercise in rhetoric" following which "nothing will happen."

'Tear down this wall, Mr. Bush'-- Muslim observers slammed the U.S. for its "provocative and rude statements" about the ruling, which exemplify how it has "consistently and blindly supported all Israeli excesses." The West Bank's independent Al-Ayyam alleged that the U.S. "is now challenging international justice," with Jordan's center-left Al-Dustour lamenting that the "Washington-Tel Aviv axis...considers itself above international legitimacy." Other papers urged "measured statesmanship" and "moral pressure" using the verdict to lessen the U.S.' "blind backing" of Israel. Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Madina hoped the ruling would be a "wake-up call for the U.S. to stop its double standard policies."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 89 reports from 36 countries over 10 - 19 July 2004. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.

EDITOR: Ben Goldberg


BRITAIN: "The Wall And The Law"

An editorial in the independent weekly Economist read (7/17): "They said that the wall should be torn down and that Israel should compensate the Palestinians for the disruption it caused. However, the court is allowed to issue advisory opinions only, not binding ones, and this is a piece of advice that Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, also no mincer of words, says he intends to ignore.... At some point--probably after November...the assembly is likely to send a resolution to the UNSC, which is the only UN body that has the power to order Israel to comply with the court's wishes and apply sanctions if it does not. The Americans may then find themselves facing that second question, along with a familiar dilemma. Should it use its veto to defend its ally, or allow the UNSC to punish Israel for its illegal activities? That depends.... If by then Israel is moving towards the two-state solution that Mr. Sharon claims these days to believe in, the right answer may be nothing. But if by then it is Israel that is obstructing progress, there may be a case for censure and even sanctions. The law cannot take the place of negotiation in resolving this conflict. But it does have a role, not least in helping to remedy the imbalance between the strong and weak."

"Palestinians Risk Squandering A Moral Victory"

The left-of-center Independent commented (7/12): "It is hard to believe that the decision to route it (the Barrier) through Palestinian territory--often but not always to protect settlements also roundly declared illegal in the Hague--will not offset the security gains of the barrier because of the risk that the rage it engenders creates in its turn more militancy.... The momentousness of the Hague judgment should not be exaggerated; it does not, as Ariel Sharon made brutally clear yesterday, change the facts on the ground. But it shouldn't be underestimated either."

FRANCE: "Israel's Isolation"

Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (7/12): "The International Court in The Hague did not take a position on the legitimacy of constructing a wall for protection against terrorism. Its decision is based solely on the tracing of the wall and its consequences for the Palestinian population.... It is to be feared that the court's decision will give the Israeli majority the impression that it is 'misunderstood' by the international community, except for its American ally.... Israel's challenge lies in an attitude that was best described by Rabin when he said that Israel should 'fight terrorism as if there were no negotiations, and negotiate as if there was no terrorism.' By turning its back on this logic, and by trying to impose its unilateral solutions on the Palestinians...Israel is locking itself in an isolation which can only get worse."

"Words And Bombs"

Bruno Frappat held in Catholic La Croix (7/12): "Words are rarely used without intention, and when it comes to the Middle East conflict they are rarely devoid of meaning.... For Arafat, the use of the word 'wall' presents the strong advantage of symbolism. After the Court's decision he immediately compared the 'wall' to the Berlin Wall and to the 'wall of apartheid.' For the Israeli government, the use of the words 'security fence' is a way of sending a message to international public opinion.... The judges in The Hague, except for the U.S. judge, have unanimously decided that Israel is violating international laws when the 'wall' crosses occupied territories. The judges also fear, but this is a more political than legal stance, that the wall may anticipate tomorrow's 'fait accompli.' Israel, which is having to deal with the hostility of the UN, can count on the support of two strong allies: the U.S. of course, but also the Israeli population, which feels more secure with the 'wall' that was an idea spawned by the Israeli left but is being implemented by the Israeli right."

GERMANY: "With Peres Soon"

Wolfgang Guenter Lerch commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/13): "Part of the problem in Palestine is that there are no new and fresh politicians. Israelis and Palestinians sound like mumbling old men. Arafat and Sharon will be eighty soon, Peres has already passed that age.... Does he really want to become foreign minister again at his age? Silvan Shalom does not show any weak points. The Labor Party welcomes the Prime Minister's withdrawal plans and fears that Sharon's rival Netanyahu--who is still young in age but mentally old--could end this policy. Peres wants to get Sharon out of the jam. The way Peres supported the Prime Minister when the ICJ condemned the erection of the Israeli barrier is remarkable."

"Wrong Choice"

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/12): "The relationship between Israel and the UN has been a disaster for a long time, despite the roadmap, despite the Middle East quartet. The evil word of the Israeli prime minister that the most recent bombing in Tel Aviv was committed 'under the sponsorship of the UN' shows how disastrous it is.... It is certainly a distortion to accuse the ICJ of having sponsored the attack.... Israel feels misunderstood regarding its need for security and the fight against terrorism.... The country has not only been pushed into the isolation in which it finds itself. Through its own policy, it cooperated in maintaining this state. And statements like the most recent one from Sharon are cementing this state. This is not useful. Constructive would only be a quick (partial) withdrawal from the occupied territories."

"Perfidious Polemics"

Thorsten Schmitz noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/12): "Premier Sharon's statement can also be interpreted the other way round, i.e. that the fence which Israel has built to protect itself from terrorists...does not achieve the goals for which it was set up.... Sharon's outrageous. It unmasks a government leader who is unable to restrain himself. With a perfidious rhetoric he is damaging the reputation of his state. Of course, Israel must have the right to protect itself from terrorists, but that does not give Israel a carte blanche to ignore international law."


Erik-Michael Bader commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (7/10): "We expected the international court to rule against Israel. Many Israelis will now angrily understand that Israel is not allowed to defend itself against malicious terrorists. After years of bitter experience, there are arguments in favor of closing the borders: it could probably reduce the number of attacks in Israel and also the number of civil victims as the result of Israeli advances on Palestine territory."

"Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors"

Peter Muench argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (7/10): "This fence is bad because it was mainly erected on Palestine territory and therefore prepared the seizure of Palestinian land, it violates human rights and arbitrarily extends Israel's status as occupying power. This fence, which mutated into a high wall at some places, is a disgrace, but we should not expect that it will be pulled down after the ruling of the international court.... In principle, Israel's defensive mentality is understandable; Israel's short history is one of hatred and threats from outside, and today the country confronts terror attacks from Palestine suicide bombers. Without any doubt, Israel has the right to defend itself against such attacks, but the barrier is extreme injustice by Sharon's government--with every inch it diverges from the green line, with every piece of land that is seized and with every olive tree that is cut. However, if the ruling in The Hague were to become more than a Palestine victory at the PR front, two sides would have to exert pressure on Sharon: the country needs a debate over the barrier and must understand that it is no good for Palestinians and Israelis, because violence emerges from the shadow of this monster and no wall is high enough that it can't be crossed. Secondly, Americans and Europeans must demand more changes of the barrier's route."

ITALY: "Sharon: National Unity Or Early Elections"

Marco Berti noted in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero (7/13): "These are decisive hours for the beginning of a process whose aim it is to bring about the withdrawal of Jewish settlements from Gaza, thereby bringing hope for peace in the Middle East. Yesterday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held a 75-minute meeting with the leader of the opposition Shimon Peres to lay the foundation for a coalition government to handle the withdrawal plan.... If Sharon and Peres succeed in getting the green light from their respective parties, then negotiations will move forward.... But what's at stake now is the unilateral withdrawal plan from Gaza, that pleases neither of the two parties, but that nonetheless represents a starting point for a future, very long-term future, appeasement between the two states."

"Hague Ruling 'Reinstates' Arafat"

Fiamma Nirenstein opined in centrist, influential daily La Stampa (7/12): "The Hague court ruling was followed by a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv.... Arafat was busy meeting with international lawyers in an attempt to transform the ruling into UN resolutions and he said...that Israel organized the attack in order to oppose The Hague's ruling.... The truth of the matter is that Arafat is quickly regaining center stage. He's a juggler who can count on a vast and loyal public, and he does this both with diplomatic weapons as well as by keeping an eye on terrorist organizations that are always competing to keep their heads above water during hard times.... Arafat was confidently waiting for The Hague's ruling in order to go back to showing his charismatic power."

"The Hague's Know-It-Alls"

An editorial in elite, classical liberal Il Foglio read (7/10): "The Hague's ICJ has ruled that Israel's fence should be torn down because it is 'illegal.' From a practical point of view, the decision is virtually meaningless. The decision now goes to the UNSC, where the U.S. can use its right of veto, as it has done on many other occasions.... From a practical point of view, the fence works. Where it has been erected, terrorist attacks have diminished from 26 to 3 per year."

RUSSIA: "Israel Ignores International Law"

Vladimir Iordansky contended in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (7/13): "For a long time Israel was a great moral authority, actively supported by people of goodwill in Western Europe and the U.S. For many years it enjoyed support from the Soviet Union. Not anymore. It has outraged very many people, including at home, by the way it treats Palestinians. Hated by Palestinians in occupied lands, with young Palestinian boys and girls committing terrible acts of terrorism, killing themselves in the process, the right-wing Israeli government has built a 'protection wall' around its country. The world has seen such walls in the past decades. Fortunately, all of them are history now. The one in Israel is a new symbol of a divided world, a challenge to the Palestinians. It does not run along the Israeli border, but cuts deep into Palestinian territory. It is more evidence of Tel Aviv's reluctance to seek a solution to the old dispute, a gesture of open hostility.... Ever since the extreme nationalists came to power several years ago, Israel has been a distorted image of the country and its people.... Several decades after the colonialist era, the Arabs have found themselves up against a colonialist policy at its worst."

"There'll Be More Of Same"

Grigoriy Asmolov said in business-oriented Kommersant (7/12): "It has been acknowledged in Israel that, for all the slant in The Hague court's approach, its ruling, legally substantiated, is hard to ignore. Israel is likely to see more of the same on the international arena. The verdict is strictly advisory. But the UN General Assembly, meeting one of these days, will hear the Palestinians and Arab countries demand that Israel be denounced as violating the norms of international law. Jerusalem realizes that there is no way for it to block the decision, with the Arabs having an automatic majority at the General Assembly. Washington is its only hope."

BELGIUM: "The Hague Ruling Clarifies Why The Wall Is Illegal"

Baudouin Loos wrote in left-of-center Le Soir (7/12): "The feeling among the Israeli population is that 'the world is undoubtedly against us.' Yet, the ICJ's opinion pointed out that any country has the right--and even the duty--to protect its citizens, but it added that this has to be done in the framework of international law. And that is where the problem lies. The judges in The Hague would never have criticized Israel if, in order to protect itself against unacceptable terrorist attacks, it had built an impassable barrier within its territory or on Israel's border. But the problem is that the Ariel Sharon government wanted to build the wall by including as many Jewish settlements as possible--80 percent of the some 400,000 settlers--thereby penetrating Palestinian territories and inflicting terrible sufferings to Palestinians, as even the Israeli Supreme Court acknowledged on June 30. The ICJ's non-binding ruling has the merit of clarifying the situation: it confirmed that the territories that Israel seized in 1967 are 'occupied territories,' that colonization of these territories is illegal, and that the security wall is therefore also illegal.... The terrorists' methods are clearly immoral and unacceptable, but Israel does not have the right to sink into illegality to fight them. It has the right to build a wall, but on its own territory, and, to really solve the conflict, it should negotiate with the Palestinians the evacuation of the occupied territories and the creation of a Palestinian State with mutually acceptable borders."

CZECH REPUBLIC: "The Wall Against Terror: Salvation And Trap"

Viliam Buchert opined in leading, centrist MF Dnes (7/12): "Given the fight against terrorism, which is currently one of the biggest threats to the world, one cannot but agree with the building of the Israeli security barrier. Moreover, according to the Road Map, the Palestinian Authority of Yassir Arafat should have already ensured that all rebels and rebel groups on its territory be disarmed by the end of May 2003. It did not happen. The Israeli security barrier thus became a structure, which puts the peace process in ruins."

"UN And The EU Binds Israel's Hands"

Bohumil Dolezal commented in leading, centrist MF Dnes (7/12): "Peace in the region would be first of all secured if Palestinians were not represented by smooth and polished diplomats on one hand, and by commandos of assassins on the other. Their initiatives are mutually complementary. I would like to believe that the diplomats have no influence over their militant fellow citizens, but it just does not make sense to me. On the other hand, there is an army of smiling gentlemen with umbrellas, which the older of us know well from 1938 [the Munich Agreement], equipped with broad smiles, massive rhetorical abilities, and piles of papers containing noble ideas, which are made a laughing stock by terrorists.... The policy of the UN and the EU is a wonderful example of how noble idealism and boundless cynicism are close to each other."

HUNGARY: "The Hague Ruling"

Endre Aczel commented in leading Hungarian-language Nepszabadsag (7/14): "The ruling of the Hague Court is a moral victory for Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority. It is not more than that though.... The situation is not going to change, even if the UN assembly accepts the ruling and encodes it into a resolution. Israel won't suspend building the wall unless a UNSC resolution enforces so, and Israel knows it. But a UNSC resolution is unlikely to pass because it is guaranteed that the U.S. will veto it. Especially now, in an election year, when the Bush administration has committed itself to supporting the Sharon cabinet's Palestine policy as firmly as never before. Consequently, the Arabs and Palestinians are not going to address the issue in the UNSC because it is not in their interest to press President Bush to show his colors. The consequence of their move would be anything but positive. An informal pressure could lead to a more tactical solution."

NORWAY: "The Wall That Doesn't Protect"

Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten observed (7/12): "It's futile to believe that the current Israeli government will recognize the Hague Court decision. PM Ariel Sharon and other members of the government have rejected the decision, and have in addition asked the U.S. to block a possible resolution in the Security Council to stop the building of the wall.... In the final analysis, the ones who are going to lose because of this attitude are Israel and the Israelis themselves. A state that does not follow the rule of law weakens its own authority and its own case. Building the wall is a gross mistake, and a gross encroachment against the Palestinians. That's what the International Court in the Hague determined. Israel has, both by building the wall and by refusing to accept the decision, shoved aside its friends and created even more enemies for itself."

"Judgment Of The Wall"

Independent Dagbladet editorialized (7/10): "The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ascertained that Israel is breaking international law by building the controversial wall that physically closes Palestinians out of what Israel considers its own territory.... This is a crushing decision over Israel's policy.... The court has only an advisory function, but is historically important nonetheless. Israel's government has warned that the decision means nothing to them; these are unfortunately familiar rumblings, and seem like sheer reflex. The wall of shame will remain standing for the time being, while its legitimacy is further weakened by the Hague decision."

POLAND: "The Wall Will Not Collapse"

Andrzej Brzeziecki said in mainstream Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny (7/18): "The verdict by the ICJ is important as long as the UN turns out to be capable of executing it. So it is of very little importance, because the U.S. will most likely veto the possible sanctions against Israel. Nevertheless, the Israeli government will comply with the ruling pronounced a week earlier by the Israeli Supreme Court, which ordered that the several kilometer-long barrier be modified.... The Palestinians can count on their rights being protected as long as Israel respects the law."

SPAIN: "Sharon Makes A Move"

Conservative ABC opined (7/13): "Although it is true that the decision of the ICJ...underestimates the real and permanent threat of Palestinian terrorism against Israel--isolating the consequences of the wall from its causes--it is no less important that the angry reaction of the Israeli Prime Minister makes evident the fragility of his position in a matter that was condemned almost unanimously by the whole world. It can be accepted that the barrier has been highly effective in reducing Palestinian attacks...but the end of a democratic state does not justify the means.... Peace is not gained by building a wall, however effective it might be in the fight against terror and reducing the number of Israeli troops in Palestinian territory."

TURKEY: "Break Down This Wall"

Zafer Atay wrote in economic-political Dunya (7/14): "Decisions of the ICJ are, in reality, more like recommendations than legally binding obligations. They have more moral authority rather than legal force. Of course, Israel will not obey this decision. The 'wall of shame,' of which 200 kilometers have already been constructed, will be completed in 2005. Israel will spend $4 billion on this wall.... The ICJ presented the UN Security Council with a request that construction of the wall be halted, and that the section already constructed be demolished. UNSC decisions are binding. Those who do not obey these rules are subject to sanction. The punishment could come in the form of an embargo or even a military intervention. However, Israel is not concerned about these binding rules, because they know that the power of the US is on its side. The US has saved Israel many times by using its UNSC veto. Instead of solving disagreements through dialogue, Israel tries to cover itself by creating security paranoia. They are now building a wall on the West Bank and digging ditches along the Egyptian border.... If Israel does not find these precautions adequate, what is next: nuclear or biological attacks?"

"The Wall"

Turgut Tarhanli held in liberal-intellectual Radikal (7/13): "Israel built this wall without paying any attention to international relations, human relations, or economic and social concerns. Therefore some parts of the wall divide Palestinian residential sites from agricultural areas and schools. Israel's argument is one of 'self defense,' yet the ICJ disagrees. The current situation makes the right of self-determination for the Palestinians more difficult than ever, to the point that it has become a virtual impossibility. Such a clear violation of Palestinian rights deepens the problems in the Middle East. Each state is entitled to take measures in order to protect its citizens against terrorist attacks. However, such measures must fall within the boundaries of legitimacy.... The construction of Israel's security wall is about collective punishment for the Palestinians rather than reducing the risk for Israelis."


ISRAEL: "Needed"

Lev Mazin held in conservative, Russian-language Vesty (7/15): "Is the defense wall needed? Yes, for the Jews. Today, nobody can contradict the fact of a sharp decrease in the number of terror attacks and terror victims after the construction of the northern part of the [defense] wall was completed.... It's sad that Israel has to build this 'monster'--a concrete wall defiling the landscape of the Holy Land just in order to stay alive, but what else could be done? Paradoxically enough, the Arab residents of the West Bank, too, benefit from the wall.... Infinite terror resulting in closures on the traffic...on the roads...checkpoints and checks--would the inconveniences brought by the wall compare to all of this? As the [number of] terror attacks decreased, the necessity of checkpoints and closures has been reduced. Obviously, the wall improves the condition of the Palestinians. This situation could be much better, should terror, which is almost unanimously supported by the Palestinians, stop entirely."

"From The Hague To Khan Yunis"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (7/14): "The ICJ's ruling in The Hague must shock every Israeli. How is it possible that in their lengthy ruling, the justices did not find it necessary anywhere to explicitly mention Palestinian terrorism or devote even a single sentence to the 1,000 Israeli dead of the past four years?.... [Still], not a day goes by without reports of civilians and children killed in the territories. Not a week goes by without broadcasts of images from the territories showing humiliations, checkpoints, bullet and shell-ridden walls in homes, or elderly people trying to rescue some personal possession from a pile of rubble that was once their home. These images fan the flames of criticism of Israel in the world and make people forget the Israeli victims of terrorism. The images cannot justify the one-sided verdict in The Hague, but neither are they disconnected from the atmosphere that legitimized the tendentious verdict and the hostility toward Israel that is sweeping Europe.... Of course, it is possible to scorn the ruling in The Hague and to count on the American veto in the UN Security Council. But who will guarantee that the U.S. will forever rescue us from Arab efforts to impose South Africa-style sanctions? A moral and responsible approach is not a luxury. It is a true defense of the state's existence."

"Tactical Victory, Strategic Debacle"

Aluf Benn held in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/14): "With its meandering route, the separation fence reflects Israel's situation today, after four years of warfare with the Palestinians. It constitutes a tactical victory and a strategic debacle. Defying expectations held by many, Ariel Sharon has proven that forceful methods can be used to fight terror, and that democracy, internal unity and American support can be preserved at the same time.... Israel has succeeded in restraining terror, but it has failed to translate its tactical success into a strategic victory. The Palestinians have not caved in, despite the devastating blows they have endured.... For everyone [including Sharon and those on his right], life will get harder after the elections in America, after Bush or Kerry takes steps to soften European and Arab hostility toward the U.S. partly by stepping up pressure on Sharon."

"Post-Colonial Ruling"

Guy Maayan opined in popular, pluralist Maariv (7/14): "A critical reading of the [ICJ] document shows that it refers to the negation of the right of a Western country to make use of defensive force against the 'other'.... The success of 14 learned people in imagining the region in such a groundless fashion is also a corollary of the victory of the post-colonial discourse, in its superficial version. Why become entangled in facts or a complex reality, when the situation can be dismissed with a simplistic stereotype?.... However, the most worrying characteristic of the decision's text is the absolute depiction of Israel as an aggressor. The opinion takes care to mention Israel's steps, and emphasize their unilateral nature: it was the party that occupied Palestinian territories in 1967 (section 73 [of the document]) and built 'the wall.' This is stated without mentioning why Israel was forced to occupy the territories or defend itself against terror; without mentioning the word terror once except when quoting Israel; and without addressing the violations of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinians and the central role of the Palestinian Authority institutions in murdering civilians.... Not that Israel does not have part in the responsibility for the evolution of the conflict. But people who deal with justice and integrity could have been expected to demonstrate a shred of intellectual integrity.... Along with the careful implementation of the [Israeli] High Court of Justice's decision, Israel should launch a PR campaign that will present the meaning of the opinion and its implications for the political, cultural and legal concepts that stand at the basis of the modern Western state. This is no less important to the U.S., Britain, France and Russia than it is to Israel."

"Two Messages From The Hague"

Zeev Schiff observed in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (7/13): "Two substantial messages have been sent by the ruling of the ICJ at The Hague. The first is that Israel has no right to determine how it should defend itself against terror. The second, representing a trend that has for long been gaining strength in Europe, is that the Israelis are never seen as victims. The decision, from which we can understand that the ICJ will be the one to decide how Israel should defend itself in the war declared against it, is without precedent. To a great extent, it grants a kind of indirect support to suicide bombers.... [All told], so far the story of the construction of the fence has left very hard feelings. It's clear that if Israel carries out the disengagement plan by the same method, we can anticipate even greater problems."

"The Hague Ruling"

Nationalist, Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (7/12): "We got the short end of the stick both with [Chief Justice of Israel's High Court] Aharon Barak and with the court at The Hague. Now that the position of the obtuse justices has been issued, it is incumbent upon the Knesset to pass legislation that bypasses the High Court of Justice and allows for the fence to remain where it is. The data that demonstrate the dramatic drop in the number of terror attacks since the fence was built speak for themselves.... Now is the time to bring to the world's attention everything we know about the prevalent corruption in the Palestinian Authority and, in tandem, to exile Arafat. It would be better were the world press to focus on that arch-murderer, who is a source of dismay for even the architects of the Oslo accords, than on the separation fence. This should be done immediately, before forming a national unity government, whose members from the Labor Party will not lend a hand to this initiative. It is known that some of the justices on The Hague panel routinely apprised the Palestinians of the progress in their work, and the leaders of the PA knew long in advance what the nature of the ruling would be. The world is hypocritical and it should be dealt with as such, particularly with respect to the justices, whose sender countries were silent and worse during the Holocaust."

"Europe And The ICJ"

Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (7/12): "Right now, the ruling of the ICJ appears as another crisis for Israel. In fact, it is a crisis for Europe. The clear intention of the ICJ ruling is to do to Israel what it helped do to apartheid South Africa in the early 1970s when it ruled the occupation of Namibia illegal and sanctionable. Europe will have to think carefully about how far it wants to travel down that road vis-a-vis the Jewish state. Is it ready to make good on its anti-fence instincts by voting for UN sanctions, as the ICJ ruling advises? Does Europe place a higher value on Palestinian property than on Jewish lives? The game here is clear. Like adolescents who rely upon parental restrictions they claim to abhor to set limits to behavior they know is irresponsible, Europe is relying upon an American veto to protect the international system from a decision it knows is wrong and should not be implemented. Israel has made its choice to protect its citizens from terror. Soon Europe will have a choice, too. Whatever choice it makes will be usefully clarifying for the rest of us."

"The Hypocrites And The Lepers"

Nahum Barnea stated in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (7/11): "Thirty-seven years after the occupation, Israel has become a leper country in the eyes of a substantial part of the world. It is not yet South Africa of the apartheid era, but it definitely is a member of the same family. Unequivocal American support has spared us, for the time being, from sanctions, but that too comes with a price: the hatred for Israel and the hatred for America feed on one another. A majority of Israelis feel they are victims. They expect of the world to identify with them and fight alongside them against terror. But the world, at least the part of it whose representatives sit on the bench at The Hague, prefers to focus its attention on the settlements, not terror. And when it comes to the settlements, Israel is lacking a good answer. Therefore, it does not have a good answer when it comes to the fence either. [Israel's] High Court of Justice gave Sharon a comfortable ladder to climb down from the high bough of the current route of the fence. Instead of bowing to a dictate from The Hague he can bow to a dictate from Jerusalem. And the sooner the better."

"Between Jerusalem And The Hague"

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (7/11): "Even if Israel succeeds, with the help of the United States, in preventing the conversion of the court's decision into an abiding ruling by the Security Council, the decision is harmful to the international standing of the country. It constitutes another challenge to the legitimacy of Israel's actions in the territories it conquered in 1967, and especially in the building of settlements and the annexation of east Jerusalem.... [But] the absolute rejection of Israel's arguments is infuriating. It is difficult to accept the omission of Palestinian terrorism by the court and the murky reference to 'violence' against Israelis, whose perpetrators appear to be anonymous. In its fervor to present the Palestinians as innocent victims of the occupation the court ignores the suicide attacks and other terrorist activities. Herein lies the main difference between the decision at The Hague and the ruling of the High Court of Justice on the fence. The latter recognized the security necessity of the fence and accepted the government's approach that its construction was meant to protect the citizens and not annex territory. However, over the main issue there is agreement between Jerusalem and The Hague: Israel's security needs cannot ignore the rights of the Palestinians, and a fence that harms their right of movement, employment and education cannot be built.... The idea of the fence was justified.... But the flawed planning locked Israel into an unnecessary and damaging diplomatic conundrum, which undermines international support for the war against terrorism and presents it as a war against occupation."

"Hague Shmague"

Diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit wrote on page one of popular, pluralist Maariv (7/11): "True, if the [ICJ] decision were more balanced, if it showed any empathy whatsoever to those harmed by terrorism in Israel, if it recognized Israel's need for self-defense, if it called upon Israel to build a fence along the Green Line-- hen we would be in real trouble. Go try to respond to logical, legitimate demands, which show wisdom and also some justice. But the ruling of the International Court in The Hague is twisted to the point that it is so bad that it is even a bit good. It boomerangs. And after all this, there is no reason for celebration. On the contrary. First, because this decision will go down in history, to be filed among its pages, becoming a brand name in international discourse and casting a fairly large stain on us. Morally, ethically, humanly, internationally. there is no American veto that can remove this stain from us. It could gain momentum in Europe, for example. It could seep in and damage what is left of Israel's reputation. How long can the Americans, on their own, stand as a separation fence between us and the world? No one knows."

WEST BANK: "The Hague Ruling Placed Israel In A Confrontation With The World"

Azmi Khawaja concluded in independent Al-Ayyam (7/19): "The Palestinian people, leadership and PLO must invest in the Hague ruling by using it as an essential step to return the Palestinian cause to its correct path.... Israel's lack of commitment to the ruling should not discourage us from continuing to urge the world and world public opinion to impose political, economic, trade and media pressures against Israel until the latter stops building the wall and goes back to the negotiating table. The wall battle is a major one and Palestinians must utilize its consequences to get their national rights. America, which supports Israel, is actually embarrassed with Israel's actions, particularly while going through a presidential elections campaign. Israel's positions pull America into an awkward situation, especially in the Arab world where it is increasingly hated for its unfair support to Israel.... It might also be hard for it [the U.S.] to completely ignore the ICJ's ruling. It [the U.S.] is in a very awkward position as it can't give up supporting Israel and at the same time appear to violate international law by vetoing [a resolution in support of the ruling]."

"A Closer Look At The Sad Scene"

Talal 'Ukal noted in independent Al-Ayyam (7/15): "Unified Europe and others in the international community in general announced that they have sided with international law and demanded that Israel abide by and implement it. There are initial signs that Europe might take punitive measures against Israel. The Palestinian party, on the other hand, seemed confused. Its reactions appeared in at least two contradictory levels.... On one level, the whole leadership welcomed this historic victory [the ICJ ruling] and expressed their determination to removing the wall from every last millimeter of occupied land and to raise the ruling at the UNGA. The second level was expressed by an anonymous minister whom the press quoted as saying that the Authority [PA] is determined to delay raising the ruling with the UNSC...until American elections take place, in avoid provoking the American administration. [...] There's no reason at all for a delay, since the present and any future American administration expresses American policy and interests. Thus, any delay will be useless."

"The Legal And Political Elements In The ICJ Ruling"

Ahmad Majdalani commented in independent Al-Ayyam (7/14): "The wording of the [ICJ] ruling from a legal perspective, since it's based on international legitimacy and international law, has aspects that are broader than just the political feature of any UN resolution. Thus, it is possible to say that following this ruling, the Palestinian cause has reached a new level of conflict that classifies Israel and the U.S. as scofflaws if both continue to reject the ruling and refuse to abide by it.... We should not be preoccupied with the illusion that the ruling will be applied very soon. We are approaching a long and harsh battle with the U.S., whose most important strategic platform in the region--[namely] the imposition of an American vision in settling regional disputes in a way that meets the interests of its strategic partnership with Israel--we have undermined with this ruling."

"Washington: From Protecting The Occupation To Sponsoring Racial Isolation"

Rajab Abu Sariya said in independent Al-Ayyam (7/13): "American State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher wasted no time in calling the ICJ's ruling 'illegitimate' at a time when Washington is presenting its model for international justice through the Iraqi court in Baghdad, which is not based on a democratic or elected regime.... Boucher then warned against implementing the court's ruling, another sign that the administration in Washington is now challenging international justice. He stated that it is not necessary for the UN General Assembly to intervene at this stage.... The American position as a whole came as an immediate response to a previous Israeli demand directed to Washington through its FM, Silvan Shalom, to prevent the issuance of any UNSC resolution following the ICJ's ruling. With that, Washington has shifted its policy from providing protection to the Israeli occupation to protecting the racially-based Israeli isolation policy."

"Deterring Balance With Veto"

Hasan Al-Batal opined in independent Al-Ayyam (7/13): "UN Secretary General Annan can no longer comply with U.S. wishes. Perhaps the Hague ruling offers him a unique opportunity to release international political legitimacy from American control. The larger UNSC members, who suffered American humiliation by having to accept Washington's well-known decisions on Iraq, will, following the Hague ruling, have their chance to restore balance to the UNSC.... Palestinians have no 'Sadat dreams' to 'neutralize' America in the Arab-Israeli conflict; rather they have realistic political calculations to make America less carried away with its overwhelming support to the Israeli policy that contradicts international laws. Thus, within the next few months, Palestinians will try to place Washington under moral pressure in light of the Hague ruling as a means to force it [Washington] to better distinguish between its own position on the separation wall and the Israeli one."

"The Decision... What Comes Next?"

Talal 'Ukal commented in independent Al-Ayyam (7/12): "American policy assumes that the UN has lost its role and should change its principles and functions in a way that adapts to the new international order, which the U.S. is leading on its own.... At the Hague, the disagreement that appeared among the judges reflects the international equation: on his own, the American judge (whom an Israeli judge, if there were one on the panel, would have followed) made politics prevail over justice and law, weakening his credibility and undermining the neutrality and objectivity every judge should enjoy. Owing to its judge at the Hague, America has lost objectivity and instead presented new values that contradict international law and make the power of individual interests win over humanitarian ones and the equilibrium of right and justice."

"ICJ Provides Historic Opportunity To Demolish The Wall

Ali Abu Hilal wrote in independent Al-Quds (7/12): "The ICJ's decision is a new historic one that adds to its honorable role in viewing and ruling on international disputes. The Court has again proved its impartiality toward right, law and principles of justice.... By this position, the International Court of Justice has proven a stronghold for the rights of oppressed nations and a trustworthy protector of international humanitarian law regardless of all pressure techniques and threats practiced against it by Israel and its ally the U.S."

"A Historic Decision; How Can We Invest It?"

Yahya Rabah opined in official Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (7/12): "The ICJ ruling at the Hague is a victory for Palestinian diplomacy and our dear brother Dr. Nasser Al-Qudwa who was behind the idea from beginning to end.... This historic decision did not come in easy circumstances; on the contrary, it came as a counterweight to strong Israeli and U.S. pressures based on the notion that the issue is a political one and can be solved only through political means.... We have a real opportunity: we can get much closer to those friends who supported us, to trust them enough in some of our own affairs, to stand by them in a political front based on clear objectives and to help them gain more success that can benefit us.... Thank you, brave ICJ judges at the Hague; you have proved that international law is still alive."

"An Important Decision, And Its Implementation An International Responsibility"

Independent Al-Quds editorialized (7/10): "Despite the official reaction by Israel, which has never respected international law and has always scorned the United Nations and international legal institutions and organizations, the decision issued by the highest international judiciary body, which enjoys great prestige and is known for its honesty, is particularly significant and supports the justice of Palestinian demands on the international level in terms of achieving liberation from the occupation as well as considering all occupation measures void and illegal."

EGYPT: "Oppose Aggression And Occupation"

Pro-government small-circulation Al-Gomhuriya urged (7/10): "The ICJ ruling...articulates the wishes of the international community which opposes aggression and occupation.... The international community will find it difficult to implement the ICJ ruling because the U.S. will veto any relevant UNSC resolution without listening to the voice of the majority in the UN General Assembly."

SAUDI ARABIA: "What Did We Gain From The International Court of Justice Resolution?"

Riyadh's conservative Al-Riyadh editorialized (7/14): "The resolution of the ICJ regarding the 'racial' wall is one of our most important achievements. However, Arab countries and governments must use this resolution to empower the Palestinian cause.... The international community has ignored the Palestinian issue for a long time.... The world condemns the legitimate resistance of the Palestinians and turns a blind eye on Israel's storage of nuclear weapons, its racial crimes, and its ignoring international resolutions.... We must make all this clear to the public and tell the world about the misery in which the Palestinians are living.... Anyhow, the resolution could not shake Israel. Israel knows that the resolution will die soon, and knows that Arabs have neither memory nor value in this age."

"The Veto Will Minimize The Court's Decision"

Jeddah's moderate Al-Bilad declared (7/12): "Israel's policies have always been formulated based on fear of the future, and distrust of Arabs and Palestinians. This is more evident now because the Palestinian resistance has increased its operations and has delivered painful blows to Israel's security. When the Israeli government takes a decision it does not go back on it, because Israel's security is their most important objective. The decision of the ICJ was a significant victory for the Palestinians, but unfortunately the Palestinians do not have the power to activate this decision in the UN. A veto by the U.S. will definitely reduce any chance for a Palestinian victory."

"U.S. Partiality Toward Israel"

Mecca's conservative Al-Nadwa editorialized (7/11): "If the United States really wanted to achieve a political solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict, why does it not play a neutral role, which could achieve its aspirations.... Why does the U.S. keep silent on assassinations and the demolishing of homes every day in the Palestinian territories?... The U.S. has become a party to the conflict because of its tireless defense of the aggressive policies of Israel."

"The Decision Of The International Court Of Justice"

Jeddah's conservative Al-Madina remarked (7/11): "It was not difficult to predict the decision of the International Court of Justice. Any other verdict would have caused damage to the credibility of the Court. Anything other than what the judges have said would have delivered a strong blow to an already shaky and tense international situation. As a matter of fact, this decision is good for Washington, because it is a wake-up call for the U.S. to stop its double standard policies when dealing with international matters.... It also should be noted here that the UN General Assembly turned the decision on the issue of the wall over to the International Court of Justice only when Arabs had failed to formulate an international consensus to condemn the construction of the wall."

"The Palestinian Case And World Justice"

Abha's moderate Al-Watan observed (7/11): "What happened in The Hague on Friday, July 9, 2004 was a historic event by all standards. The International Court of Justice considered illegitimate the separating wall that Israel has constructed on Palestinian soil. The State of Israel attempted to issue a balanced decision of its own regarding the Palestinian interests and their suffering after the construction of the wall. Israel has implemented its own court decision, but this decision will not be met with compliance because its issuing organization is an extension of the ailing and weak UN."

JORDAN: "Proving Statesmanship"

The elite, English-language Jordan Times editorialized (7/12): "The fact that four out of the five permanent members of the UNSC were lukewarm to the idea of submitting the Israeli wall issue to the ICJ in the first place diminishes the chances of the council adopting a strongly worded resolution supporting the court's decision declaring the barrier illegal and saying that it must be dismantled. The U.S. is already on record as saying that it will veto any resolution that calls for the application of sanctions against Israel. The UNSC's stance may still change, however, if the wording of the projected resolution is meaningful and effective, but not sanctions-oriented. The Palestinian side can live without punitive sanctions being slapped on Israel. What the Palestinians need most is the endorsement of the ICJ decision as a legal and political basis for the resolution of the border issue between Israel and the future Palestinian state, as well as the status of the Jewish settlements.... The aim of the next Palestinian move is to elevate the advisory status of the ICJ verdict to a binding one, both politically and legally.... Neither incumbent President George Bush nor the Democratic candidate for the presidential elections, John Kerry, would be supportive of any effective sanctions against Israel. The next best thing, therefore, is to focus on a resolution by the council that codifies the ICJ decision into a legally binding principle. Anything else would be simply a waste of time. And while the Arab and Muslim worlds continue to hail the ICJ decision as a big triumph, they must endeavour to build on it by measured statesmanship. Getting too euphoric about the results of the court's decision or heightened expectations from it may prove to be counterproductive."

"The Axis Of Evil"

Basem Sakijha remarked in center-left, influential Arabic-language Al-Dustour (7/11): "We are afraid that Washington's reaction to the international court's verdict will reach the point of striking the Hague itself with missiles and considering the judges terrorists.... If a question about the most important axes of evil were asked all around the world, the answer would be one: the Washington-Tel Aviv axis. It is the only axis that considers itself above international legitimacy and uses excessive force in the implementation of its objectives from Iraq to Afghanistan and Palestine and elsewhere, and then does not feel shame to consider others the evil ones and turn facts inside out. The advisory nature of the verdict may not have practical value, but the moral value is important and historic.... Anyhow, the American search for the answer to the question 'why do they hate us?' should start in Washington itself."

"Washington As It Becomes A Stumbling Block On The Road To Peace"

Urayb Rintawi wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour (7/11): "When the United States turns its back to the highest judicial authority in the world, it is entrenching its commitment to the 'Bush principle' in foreign policy of bypassing the United Nations, international law, adopting unilateral actions away from international partnerships and coalitions, and preemptive war. Had the international court's advisory opinion been stated in relation to any country in the world other than Israel, papers would have already been submitted to the Security Council...and the U.S. representative would have already started making threats of sanctions and preemptive war. Yet the Hague court placed Israel, Washington's pet baby, in the box this time, and so the masters of the White House came out with provocative and rude statements, accusing the court of interference and describing its opinion as a stumbling block on the road to peace and to the roadmap.... One who sees the angry American storm towards the Darfur crisis and the suspicious American silence towards the racist wall will realize that the policy of dual standards is being underscored day in and day out. They will also realize that a Washington that claims to be sponsoring the peace process is becoming day after day one of the major stumbling blocks in the way of that process and a detonator of grudges, anger, violence, extremism and terrorism in the region."

"No Ifs, Ands Or Buts"

The elite English-language Jordan Times editorialized (7/11): "Even though the verdict of the International Court of Justice...came as no surprise to the international community as a whole, it is nevertheless a milestone in the development of international law.... While it can be taken for granted the UN General Assembly will adopt the necessary resolution on the Israeli wall, it is still uncertain that the UN Security Council will follow suit. The United States is expected to veto any resolution that aims to order the dismantling of the controversial wall, especially in the wake of the disclosure that the U.S. judge on the bench of the court was the only dissenting judge on the otherwise unanimous verdict.... This ruling gives added legitimacy to the Palestinian and Arab submissions that any encroachment on the Palestinian territories occupied in the 1967 war including the construction of Jewish settlements thereon is illegal. This is where the court's decision is most far-reaching and with considerable impact on the entire peace process in the Middle East and the projected resumption of peace talks between Israel and the neighboring Arab parties. Accordingly with or without any follow-up action by the UN Security Council, the message is now clearer than ever. Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as the construction of the Israeli barrier on Palestinian lands are illegal under international law."

"There Is Justice In This World!"

Mahmoud Rimawi remarked in semi-official, influential Al-Rai (7/11): "This decisive legal battle has been won thanks to the living consciences of the fourteen judges (with the exception of the American judge) and to the actions of Arab countries like Jordan and Egypt in addition to the Palestinian party. This decision proved that there is still justice in our world, and that invasion, abuse and lies do not hold before the rule of justice and the law, even if there is a superpower administration like the Republican administration that collaborates with injustice and crime."

KUWAIT: "Jews Heading To The Point Of No Return"

Isam Al-Fulaij contended in independent Al-Watan (7/14): "Jews never fail to prove how far they are willing to commit crimes and challenge the world while at the same time knowing they can lean on support from America's veto. Israel's rejection of the ICJ ruling on the security barrier, and her continued contempt for the UN, is her way of heading to the point of no return. Despite a period of weakness, we should never reverse our initial religious and intellectual positions toward the Jews. Our rejection of Jews must be manifested in teaching future generations about the real enemy as mentioned in the Quran."

"Brave Ruling"

Dr. Abdel Muhsin Yousef Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas (7/12): "Not the ICJ's ruling nor all the laws in the world can force Israel to submit to world opinion. This is because Israel understands the language of power. It revels in blatant American support. The recent court ruling, which judged Israel's security barrier in violation of international law, will expose Israel especially before the Europeans, who have previously shown in a poll that they consider Israel a danger to global peace. The brave ruling will invalidate the Zionists' justifications and of those who extend assistance to them."

"Wise Ruling.... But?!"

Dr. Ayed Al-Man'a maintained in independent Al-Watan (7/12): "The recent ICJ ruling on Israel's West Bank barrier constitutes the latest international opinion exposing Israel's aggression. Regrettably, this just ruling is non-binding, and since Israel never complied with earlier resolutions, there is no reason why it should comply with a non-binding ICJ ruling. However, such a ruling can generate international pressure, which could force the U.S. to 'whisper' into Israel's ear to stop challenging the will of the international community."

LEBANON: "The Law, Unlike Strawberries, Cannot Be Selectively Chosen"

The moderate English-language Daily Star contended (7/12): "The World Court's decision Friday declaring the Israeli separation barrier illegal was predictable, as were the swift Israeli and American reactions criticizing the verdict.... This has all the appearances of just another example of Arab-Israeli American diplomatic ships passing in the night, making no contact, having no impact. We've witnessed this dozens of times in recent decades.... The World Court is the global embodiment of humankind's modern commitment to the rule of law.... For the U.S. and Israel to reject this ruling because, they argue, it did not sufficiently consider the terrorism and other related to degrade from the value of the rule of law by making it contingent on local and changing political circumstances. The whole point of having one law, and a single legal standard that applies to all peoples and states is precisely to force human actions to adhere to legal statutes, dictates and rights. The U.S. and Israel, instead, would seem to want the law to bend to human actions and national political policies. If the U.S. and Israel are to negate the fundamental sanctity and relevance of the international rule of law in a case whose outcome they do not like, the global consequences will be severe.... The impact of the rule of law derives from its universality, and its applicability to all, without exception. If the U.S. and Israel are serious about wanting democracy and the rule of law in this region and the whole world, they should start by giving credence to those views by adhering to the verdict of the World Court in this case."

"The Duty Of Colliding With The Wall"

Joseph Samaha asserted in Arab nationalist As-Safir (7/10): "Had the world been a just and a fair place, Arabs and Palestinians would have gained back a lot of their rights. The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that the decision by the ICJ regarding the Barrier did not really need exceptional Arab effort. This victory was not imposed by a certain balance of power or a certain policy or extraordinary pressure. It is a ruling that reflects what courts should usually do when they are doing their duty, which is giving victims their rights.... The biggest problem is that those who oppose the World Court's ruling have the right to veto. They are the same forces that belittle international legitimacy and think that their political and military power is enough."

QATAR: "A Strong Call"

Semi-offiical Arabic-langauge Al-Watan editorialized (7/10): "The ICJ ruling on the illegality of the racist separation wall being built by the Israeli occupation viewed as a strong call to the international community to wake up from its long deep sleep.... Arabs are called upon to adopt no less a position than the ICJ. It is up to them to take advantage of this ruling to increase Israel's isolation by pressurising it to stop erecting the wall."

SYRIA: "One Who Misses Something Cannot Give"


Ahmad Hamadeh commented in government-owned Al-Thawra (7/14): "How could America ignore international justice and law while it calls on others to apply its rules in the world? How could the world believe the bright slogans upheld by the US Administration on the Greater Middle East and spreading justice, democracy and freedom while it defends Israel's violation of the Hague verdict? Certainly such slogans will receive deaf ear in the world community which welcomed the Hague advocacy for the principles of righteousness and justice except for Washington and Tel Aviv.... The flagrant irony is that both the US and Israel dissented the Hague verdict without discussing the international laws on which it was based.... By the Hague verdict, the ICJ has opened the door for the Arab countries to proceed from an unbinding consultation to a UNSC resolution that forces Israel to demolish the wall, compensate Palestinians who are harmed by it and to punish Israel if it does not commit to it."

UAE: "Israeli Arrogance Knows No Limits"

The pro-government English-language Gulf News maintained (7/13): "By rebuffing a decision by the ICJ to tear down the separation wall, Israel has once again demonstrated to the world community its arrogance and insistence to defy the global community and violate international law. What more evidence does the international community need to determine that Israel is not a state that respects international laws and its prime minister Ariel Sharon and other leaders are mere outlaws?.... This should prompt immediate action from the UN and all its affiliated organisations and other international groups to put an end to Israel's arrogance and ensure that no nation is above international law. The UN's failure to curb Israel could encourage other countries to follow its example and indulge in serious violations without any deterrence. Unfortunately, this could happen at a time when the Western world, namely the U.S., is beating the drums of war against terrorism and those countries which they claim are violating human rights, freedom and international law. It is indeed pathetic to see that the U.S., which is supposed to be leading a war to impose international law, is the most vehement supporter of Israel in its illegitimate practices and violations of human rights. It has become quite evident that without such US support, encouragement and protection, Israel would not dare defy the world. For this reason, the UN and all other international organisations are called upon not only to condemn Israel but also denounce Washington for its blind backing of Israel.... Trapped as they are in this hopeless situation, the Palestinians are right in deciding to seek a UNSC resolution that will reinforce the world court decision, after the U.S. presidential election in November. On many occasions, Sharon and his clique in Israel have proved that they are the real terrorists and the real threat to international peace.... Israel's claims that the wall is essential for its security are pathetic and shameful because one should not try to protect oneself at the expense of an entire race and their social, political, economic and human needs.... What is needed today are urgent measures to force this terrorist state to end its terrorist practices and repression against the Palestinian people."

"Seeking Support Against The Wall"

The English-language expatriate-oriented Khaleej Times declared (7/12): "The Hague verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the building of the security wall by Israel was a decision hailed by the dispossessed Palestinians and much of the world sympathising with the cause of the Palestinians. While Israel continues to maintain that it needs the wall to protect itself against suicide attacks, the Palestinians claim that the wall intrudes into their territory, and is therefore, illegal. Now, Israel has rejected the court decision, saying that the ICJ is no forum to decide such a matter, as it is something to be sorted out between the two parties. It has also sought the help of U.S. to project its cause.... As a counter to that, the Palestinians have sought the help of the European nations to back them.... While the Palestinians can expect support from many European nations, notably France and Germany, it should be wary of placing too much trust on them as they have been known to back out in the face of US pressure. Considering the kind of Israeli lobbying that goes on in the American corridors of power, the US cannot be expected to give a very sympathetic hearing to the Palestinian cause.... The Palestinians believe with some conviction that Israel will find it increasingly hard to ignore the ICJ verdict as that would tantamount to caring two hoots for international law, even though the judgment is not legally binding on Israel. Yasser Arafat has stated as much that Israel will be unable to avoid dismantling the separation barrier after the court ruling. While Israel has been able to get away with many transgressions earlier, this time it may be difficult to do so because world opinion will go against it if it opposes the ruling. The U.S. too may find it difficult to bail out its ally in such a situation, especially since public opinion within the U.S. may find it unpalatable to be on the wrong side of justice. Therein lies some hope for the Palestinians."

YEMEN: "When Will Israel Really Want Peace?"

The pro-government English-language Yemen Times declared (7/16): "The ICJ decision clearly rendered the so-called 'Security Wall'...which Israel is building in the West Bank an illegitimate enterprise. The decision also goes to prove that Israel's policies under Ariel Sharon are not in line with a quest for peace or cohesion with the international community's desires to work towards a peaceful world. What Israel has time and again shown is that it neither wants peace nor to abide by any laws or statutes that will regulate its hunger for land and Ariel's Sharon's hunger for Arab blood.... Ariel Sharon went on to build his diabolical wall, to make sure that all this havoc does not get lost. Israel has no intention of living at peace with the Palestinians, nor is it willing to let the Palestinians live in any decent conditions.... Time and again, Ariel Sharon carries out his relentless drive to end all facets of a neighboring Palestinian State.... To make sure that all these efforts are entrenched, Ariel Sharon comes up with the building of a wall, which he says is to secure Israelis from 'suicide bombers.' The Israelis claim that because of the wall, suicide bombings have stopped. That is a farce.... With merciless bombardment and indiscriminate shellings, the Israelis have killed all spirit amongst the Palestinians.... It was amazing to hear the Israelis point out that they have no intentions of abiding by the ICJ decision, as the only law that Israel recognizes is the Law of the State of Israel.... Of course, the ICJ has made it also clear that the U.S. among others should see to it that the ICJ decisions are enforced...[but this one] will simply be shelved among all the international rulings and conventions as Israel has been at liberty to make a mockery of international legitimacy."


AUSTRALIA: "World Court Indulges In Israel Bashing"

The national conservative Australian held (7/12): "Friday's ruling by the International Court of Justice against Israel's security barrier along the West Bank is flawed. Israel, the key party to the dispute, did not agree to have the matter tested by the ICJ in the first place, something that is required under the court's rules.... By limiting a sovereign state's inherent right to self-defense against attacks by another state, the ruling could potentially cripple all democracies in their battle against terror. Shaky in terms of legal principle, the ruling is an affront in terms of real-world politics, which is the proper context for considering Israel's barrier.. Mr. Arafat hailed the ICJ ruling as a triumph for the Palestinian people, when really it was just another anti-Israel publicity stunt. The real triumph will be the replacement of Arafat himself with an uncorrupted leader who rejects terror in deed as well as in word."

"Judges Ruling Rewrites UN Charter On Self-Defense"

Sydney University lecturer Leanne Piggott opined in the national conservative Australian (7/12): "The advisory opinion brought down by the International Court of Justice last Friday in relation to Israel's separation barrier has implications far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Buried deep in the text of its opinion is a bombshell that purports to radically rewrite the rules of international law governing the inherent right of states to defend themselves and their citizens.. In the long run, the ICJ's pronouncements on a state's right of self-defense will be of more lasting significance than its conclusions about Israel's separation barrier. Many states are likely to reject the ICJ's attempt to confine the right of self-defense to responses to armed attacks by state actors. The ICJ's opinion not only departs from the text of Article 51 of the UN Charter, it also defies common sense."

CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS): "U.S. Should Support Dismantling Wall"

Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (7/13): "The UN's ICJ ruled last Friday that the building of the separation wall in the West Bank and the establishing of a colony in the occupation area violated the international law. Both would hinder the autonomy of Palestine. Israel should not use the excuse of self-defense to build the wall. The court ruled that Israel should stop building the wall and dismantle the part that stretched into Palestine. It should also compensate for any losses of the Palestinians. The ruling urged the UN to take action to stop this 'illegal situation.' The ruling is a victory for the Palestinians and a victory for justice.... The issue of the separation wall will definitely pass on to the UN for a future resolution. Whether the resolution can be passed hinges on the U.S. The U.S. has veto power in the Security Council. It is not surprising that the U.S. can use its power to veto the decision of dismantling the wall because the U.S. had vetoed many resolutions that were not unfavorable to it many times before. However, if the U.S. exercises its power again this time, it will set up an even worse image in the Arab world and Muslim world. It will be difficult for the U.S. to stay in these areas in the future. The U.S. will particularly encounter more difficulties when it tries to mediate Israeli-Palestinian disputes."

JAPAN: "Doubts Over Wall Around Peace"

Liberal Mainichi editorialized (7/14): "Israeli concerns over security and terrorism, partly attributable to the Holocaust, are understandable. But, Israelis should also consider the plight of Palestinian people forced to live near the 'wall of separation,' in areas reminiscent of the ghettos where Israelis themselves were once forced to live. The security fence flies in the face of the U.S.-brokered 'Roadmap' agreement calling for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. As seen by the fall of the Berlin Wall, any attempt to block human exchange is destined to fail. Peace cannot be achieved by this symbol of hatred and distrust."

INDONESIA: "Bush, Iraq And Palestine"

Nationalist Harian Merdeka opined (7/13): "In the last few days, President George W. Bush's administration also gave its support to Israel although the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the separator barrier built in Palestinian areas was illegal. ICJ advised Israel to pay compensation to Palestinian victims who have suffered as a result of the construction of the separator barrier.... So far, President Bush has not shown any signals that he would end the occupation of U.S. and allies' troops in Iraq. Among his persistence, Bush also openly defends the construction of the separator barrier by Israel in Palestinian areas."

MALAYSIA: "Mr Sharon, Tear Down That Wall"

Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times declared (7/12): "To anyone neutral enough to weigh the wrongs inflicted on the Palestinians by the building of a barrier in the occupied West Bank against Israel's right of self-defense, Friday's ruling by the ICJ was predictable, as was the lone dissenting opinion by the American representative on the 15-member panel. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's promise to remove the wall when his country feels itself safe from terrorism rings hollow.... Unlike Iraq, Israel's disregard of international law is unlikely to be punished by sanctions, at least not while the U.S. can brandish its veto in the UNSC. But the ICJ's ruling adds ballast to the argument that only negotiations can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These should even include militants such as Hamas, whose malevolence Israel has done so much to foster."

"Difficult To Enforce ICJ Decision About Israeli Security Wall"

Government-influenced, Malay-language daily Berita Harian commented (7/12): "The ICJ decision to order Israel to cease building its security wall on the West Bank, and to tear down the existing structure, is a political victory in the Palestinian struggle. Israel considers the decision to be non-binding while the Arab world and Palestine know that only the members of the Security Council can force the Jewish state to comply with the ICJ ruling. However, the U.S. is expected to use its veto power to protect Israel if this matter comes forth to the Security Council. The arrogant Israel has the strong backing of the U.S. when Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted that the wall was a way to reduce suicide attacks by Palestinian fighters. The reluctance of Israel and the U.S. to abide by the ICJ ruling leaves it out in limbo, the same way that many decisions favoring Palestine in the UN end up."


INDIA: "Landmark Judgement"

An editorial in the Bangalore-based left-of-center English-language Deccan Herald read (7/13): "The ICJ, in a landmark judgment, has condemned Israel's construction of a wall that separates the West Bank from its territory and declared that it is a transgression of international law.... Clearly the latest ruling is a rebuff not only to Israel, but also to the U.S. which has all along supported Israel.... The ICJ verdict against the wall puts the EU in a difficult position prior to its foreign ministers meeting shortly. Arab states are also expected to lobby for the Palestinian Authority in the UN that would further affect Israeli-Arab relations. While the ICJ verdict is not binding on Israel it is an indictment of the Jewish state and will help shape world opinion in favor of the Palestinian cause. The Palestinians seek an independent state in all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However Israel has been impervious to other states' opinions, but Tel Aviv should now heed the ICJ verdict to improve its image and strengthen the hands of the UN's highest legal body that strives to make the member states accountable besides promote the West Asia peace process."

"Fencing In Offensively"

The nationalist Hindustan Times judged (7/13): "Once again Israel is being forced to square itself off against world opinion. The issue this time is the concrete barrier it's building in the occupied West Bank which the ICJ has termed illegal.... Israel is well within its rights to protect its people from living under the shadow of terrorism and if the fence serves that purpose, it is Israel's right to build one. However, the 160-km long fence built so far makes deep intrusions into Palestinian territory which in any case is pockmarked by Israeli settlements. It violates Palestinian human rights by separating many Palestinians from their farms, schools, jobs and family and perpetuates Israeli occupation by requiring those living on the 'Israeli side' to take written permission to live in their own homes.... Good fences can make good neighbors, as India has realized in fencing off its borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh. But the Indian fence is in Indian territory and does not annex anything that does not belong to it. Considering that the U.S. supports Israel on the subject, the ICJ ruling will have no impact on the UNSC. However, it does serve to highlight the problem which requires a better answer than the one being provided by the Israeli government."

"Wall Of Suspicion"

The centrist Asian Age asserted (7/13): "The ruling by the ICJ at the Hague declaring the construction of the controversial Israeli wall in the Palestinian territory unlawful, is a landmark verdict. It is a major moral victory for not only the Palestinian people, but all those in the world who had been consistently raising their voice against Tel Aviv's illegitimate and inhuman exercise. No one will dispute Israel's need for security for its citizens, but the international community is not convinced that this could be achieved by building a 425-mile long wall in the West Bank. The ICJ's verdict is a clear indictment of the Israeli stand.... And the only country (other than Israel) which has criticized the ruling is the U.S. which has consistently and blindly supported all Israeli excesses.... Once again the U.S., which had promised to play the role of an honest broker in the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian problem, has blatantly sided with Tel Aviv.... If Tel Aviv is really serious about the security of its people, it should reach a negotiated peace settlement with the Palestinians and take measures to improve lives on both sides. The wall will push...Palestinians into ghettos and isolated enclaves which will emerge as breeding grounds for bitterness, hatred and terrorism. Such a development will spell trouble for the Israelis. The need of the hour is to pull down the walls of suspicion and hatred which already exist between the Israelis and Palestinians, and not erect new walls."

PAKISTAN: "Decision Of International Court Of Justice Against Israel"

Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang declared (7/12): "The ICJ judgment has clearly laid out what is right and what is not. Who is pursuing the way of justice and who has adopted the course of tyranny? But one has to see if this judgment could also provide justice to the oppressed and whether the hands of tyrant could be stopped or not. From this perspective, the situation does not seem to be that encouraging. In all likelihood, despite the opposition of the entire international community to the U.S. and Israel, Israel under the American patronage would be as obstinate as always and the U.S. may veto any step that UN might contemplate to take."

"How Would The Decision Be Implemented"

Sensationalist Urdu-language Ummat editorialized (7/12): "Israel, under the U.S. patronage, is touching the height of barbarism and terrorism and it had already pointed out that it is not going to accept the verdict of the ICJ. This judgment has fully exposed all the claims of the U.S. regarding justice and human rights. The Hague court has handed out its decision, but it is a vain imagination that the UN would get it implemented."

"The ICJ Decision"

The centrist national English-language News held (7/11): "The decision of the world court is quite clear-cut on the issue. Would now the aggrieved party be able to get justice? In a world dominated by the jungle law in our times this may seem to be a wishful thinking.... If the world community can act in unison, it may as well be able to find a way out to help the oppressed in an atmosphere of unipolarity that seems to be stifling all efforts to bring sanity in the present-day world order."

"The Hague Verdict"

Center-right national English-language daily The Nation editorialized (7/11): "With Washington's unabashed and unconditional support to Tel Aviv's every move in the occupied territories virtually assured, it was almost certain that the American judge on the panel would hardly dare to be impartial and go against his government's wishes.... Meanwhile, New Delhi should take a cue from the ICJ's ruling and pull down the illegal barbed wire fence it is erecting along the LoC in the vain hope that it would somehow succeed in converting it into an international boundary."

BANGLADESH: "Tear Down This Wall, Mr. Bush"

The independent English-language Daily Star opined (7/15): "Everyone acknowledges the degree of difficulty in implementing the World Court's ruling without a positive U.S. role. However, it would be too much for the world to expect its current "leader" to take the lead in implementing what the world's highest court of law wants Israel to do--tear down the wall. It would not be wrong to say that the U.S. administration does not have the will to implement the view of the majority of the international community, expressed through the judgment of the ICJ."


CANADA: "Defending The Fence"

The centrist Winnipeg Free Press opined (7/13): "On Friday, the UN ICJ declared that Israel's security barrier, a fence designed to keep the country safe from Palestinian suicide bombers, was illegal under international law. It demanded that Israel reroute the fence in some places, dismantle it others.... The forces of the intifada seem determined to demonstrate their contempt for the international organizations, the Western governments that give them moral, financial and even, as in the case of the ICJ, speciously legal support. But although the rulings of the ICJ are unenforceable, they are not without moral force. Mr. Arafat and the Arabs can use them as diplomatic clubs with which to beat Israel. Nations such as Canada need to approach international courts more carefully than they have for precisely this reason. As the ICJ's ruling on the security fence shows, they can be as easily hijacked by their members as the UN General Assembly and its assorted international bodies. That kind of hijacking is morally wrong and politically short-sighted. In the wake of last week's ruling and this week's attack, Israelis are again under attack; and they have in response begun to regroup, with the ruling Likud and opposition Labour parties negotiating a coalition that can respond from strength, domestically and internationally."

"Empty Condemnation"

The conservative tabloid Winnipeg Sun commented (7/12): "Since construction on the security fence began, Israel claims suicide bombing attacks from inside the West Bank have fallen drastically. In areas where the barrier is complete, they are said to have ceased. Yet, in its scathing, albeit non-binding, judgment against Israel, the world court said the concrete and steel barrier infringes too far on the freedom of Palestinians.... As futile as the arguments for it seem, a Palestinian state remains the Middle East's best hope. And judicial rulings like this, as much as it will amount to anything once the U.S. vetoes any UN resolution demands, never foster the goodwill that political peace requires.... That conundrum of conscience pretty much sums up the Middle East conflict and that other resulting normalization--elusive peace. So the UN's highest judicial authority ruled that Israel's security fence violates international law. In a region built upon the legacies of war and plagued by fear, violence and indiscriminate attacks, that's no solution."

"The Tortured Path Of Israel's Barrier"

The liberal Toronto Star observed (7/11): "Palestinians chalked up a legal victory in the World Court's ruling Friday that Israel's security fence in the West Bank violates international law. But it will be a hollow win as long as violence and terror continue to cast a dark cloud across the region.... It is Israel's reply to horror attacks on buses, family gatherings and restaurants. Yet the World Court seemed curiously uninterested in this. While no one likes the idea of a wall, Israel has the right, indeed the duty, to protect the lives of its citizens. Desperation drove this measure. If Palestinian President Yasser Arafat ever hopes to regain some international legitimacy he will have to suppress the culture of incitement and terrorism that has taken root in the occupied areas.... That Supreme Court concern for Palestinian rights should be reciprocated. Israelis have rights, too. Including the right not to be blown to bits. Instead of attacking Israel at the UN, the Palestinian Authority should ponder its own role in creating the barrier that it finds so offensive."

"The Path Of Israel's Fence"

The leading Globe and Mail opined (7/10): "As expected, the ICJ in The Hague ruled yesterday that Israel's separation fence on the West Bank is illegal and must be torn down. And as expected, Israel immediately dismissed the ruling. It says the fence is a purely political matter, to be resolved by Israelis and Palestinians and not by the World Court. This position has merit. Indeed, the U.S., Canada and the members of the EU, despite having reservations about the fence, have taken this view all along. They believe, quite rightly, that the only way to a Mideast settlement is through negotiation on the ground, based on the principles laid out in last year's road map.... Israel's elites must realize it's just a matter of time before the Israeli high court precedent is applied to other sections of the barrier. This, combined with a growing international political consensus that its chosen route is unjust, begins to make the entire structure look untenable. That does nothing to advance the cause of Israeli security. If a wall must be built, let it be on the Green Line, Israel's internationally recognized border with the West Bank."

ARGENTINA: "The Questioned Israeli Wall"

Daily-of-record La Nacion stated (7/15): "The highest international court, the ICJ...has just pointed out that most of the 700-km wall, which Israel is building in Palestinian territory in the so-called West Bank...violates international law. In a non-binding verdict...the high international court advised Israel to demolish it, at least in some sections defined as 'illegal'.... According to the ICJ, the wall cannot be justified by invoking the right to self-defense...which should cede vis--vis the rights protected by international law.... Israel has already notified it will continue building the wall.... The Israeli Government argues that there has been no terrorist attack in the last four months, which it largely attributes to the defensive wall.... But the fact that both the highest national judges and the international courts have issued similar verdicts about the issue...invites the two sides to...continue looking for peace with reflection and prudence in spite of the huge difficulties and reiterated retreats."

BRAZIL: "Sharon's Wall"

Liberal Folha de S. Paulo stressed (7/14): "The wall Israel is building goes beyond the limits of its right of self-defense for the simple reason that it is not being built on Israeli territory, but in Palestinian areas illegally occupied by Israel. The argument being used by some Israelis that the West Bank is not Palestinian territory, but an area subject to dispute, is questionable.... It is not acceptable that Israel takes unilateral possession of approximately ten percent of Palestinian land, as the wall project intends. Therefore, the decision by the ICJ considering the building of the wall illegal seems correct.... Sharon's wall is certainly an important element in the complex Middle East question. But it does not represent the end of actions aimed at a peace accord."

"The Tipsters Of The Hague"

Luiz Garcia wrote in center-right O Globo (7/13): "It's a waste of time to discuss who is right or not. In the Middle East everybody is and nobody is. With impressive regularity, a country that was right yesterday may be wrong tomorrow. That explains, for example, why the U.S. armed Iraq for the war against Iran and, sometime later, faced the same Iraq in two wars--one with reason and the other without. The maximum that may happen with the Court's decision is that it may fall on the lap of the UN General Assembly, which might and probably will use it as a starting point for the approval of some sanctions against Israel. And all of that won't be more than an exercise in rhetoric. In the end, any member of the UNSC--in that case certainly the U.S.--may veto it. And nothing will happen. In the real world, The Hague International Court...doesn't issue sentences: it merely issues tips. Even worse: despite the judges' frailty and inefficiency, they are undergoing attacks from Israel, which has accused them of being responsible for any future terrorist attack. As if terrorists--Arabs or not--needed any other stimulus besides their own fanaticism to kill and to die."

MEXICO: "Bush, Sharon And International Law"

Eugenio Anguiano Roch wrote in nationalist El Universal (7/14): "Unfortunately in the current international political and juridical systems built by democracies and other nations that overcame totalitarian regimes, there have been more than a few cases of disobedience to international rulings.... We note the arrogant attitude of President Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who do not hesitate to place their interests squarely in front of decisions by international organizations that their countries helped to create--such as the UN, in the case of the U.S.--and which in principle are favorable to them. For example, the resolutions that permitted the partition of Palestine and the acceptance of the state of Israel were supported by an overwhelming majority of UN members."

COLOMBIA: "Illegal Barrier In The West Bank"

Medellin-based center-right El Colombiano stated (7/13): "The conclusion of the ICJ (in The Hague) is not innocuous.... Hopefully, the leaders committed to the 'roadmap' negotiation process will act according to this ruling so that the principles harmed by Israel will recover."

"A Bad Precedent For The ICJ"

Bucaramanga-based center-left Vanguardia Liberal noted (7/13): "Israel's decision to ignore the Court ruling...produces a terrible precedent for the observance that the nations of the world must have of the highest maximum court.... The barrier is not only the greatest case of discrimination and prejudgment for considering all Palestinians as potential terrorists, but an insult to humanity."


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