Palestinian youths smashed holes in Israel’s separation wall in East Jerusalem on July 9. The protest marked the ninth anniversary of an International Court of Justice advisory opinion that ruled the wall illegal and called for its removal. Activists declared the anniversary a national day for the destruction of the wall. In Eizariya, dozens of youths tore two holes in the wall before Israeli forces arrived and dispersed them with stun grenades and plastic-coated steel bullets, Fatah official Mohamed Amin said. “The destruction of a portion of the wall is a protest to the daily raids at al-Aqsa holy mosque. The Palestinians have a right to break the barriers and the wall to reach Jerusalem and protect its holy sites from the Israeli violations,” Amin told Ma’an News Agency.
An Israeli army spokesman referred calls to Israeli police. An Israeli police spokesman was not familiar with the incident.
In a statement marking the anniversary of the ICJ advisory opinion, PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Israel must be pursued in international courts. “Pursuing Israel in the international judicial arena is long overdue, and it is high time that Israel is held accountable for its flagrant violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people,” Ashrawi said.
The ICJ ruling of 2004 stated that “Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law,” and “to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated.” It also said Israel must “make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.”
In a statement, the PLO noted that Israel had ignored the ICJ advisory opinion. The PLO said the wall constituted “an immoral assault and a humanitarian tragedy that has inflicted great pain and suffering on the Palestinian people.”
The PLO called on the United Nations and all its members to take immediate action “to end Israeli impunity once and for all.” It added: “Now is the time to uphold the integrity of the global rule of law and to bring Israeli violations and the occupation of Palestine to an immediate end.”
From Ma’an News Agency, July 9