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The ICJ writes off the UN Charter


I'll admit to not knowing much about the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the body that has just delivered an advisory opinion at the behest of the UN General Assembly that condemns, with near unanimity, Israel's security barrier in the West Bank.

Still. What a bizarre document. How much did Don Rumsfeld have to bribe these judges to proclaim the UN Charter irrelevant to contemporary security needs? I kid you not. That is what they said.

(I have added emphasis to the quote below in boldface.)

139. Under the terms of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations:
"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security."
Article 51 of the Charter thus recognizes the existence of an inherent right of self-defence in the case of armed attack by one State against another State. However, Israel does not claim that the attacks against it are imputable to a foreign State.


Consequently, the Court concludes that Article 51 of the Charter has no relevance in this case.

Consider the implications of this view for America's war in Afghanistan, waged in the name of self-defense -- against al-Qaida, not against another state. Consider its implications for any state that has used military means against terrorism or violent subversion: Colombia, Egypt, Iran, India -- the list goes on quite a bit.

Just to add to the bizarreness of the opinion, it was delivered by the president of the court, who is Chinese. Consider the implications for China if states were to lack any right of self-defense against armed attacks emanating not from another state but, say, from a separatist movement, or from a rogue province.

There are two interpretations. One is that the court is a totally politicized extension of the UN General Assembly, in which case it is a sorry joke. The other is that the court sincerely believes that the UN Charter did not envision today's world and cannot be considered relevant to it, in which case it (the court) is a horror.


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by Analyst @ 08:28 AM CST [Link]


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Replies: 11 comments

The problem with the ICJ ruling is that it legitimises terror attacks against Israel by neutralising her right to build a security fence for the protection of her citizens. The route of the security fence may be questionable because of difficulties that the Palestinians experience as a result, but the practicality of it is sound and just. Despite that, the blame for the necessity of the security fence must be laid at the door of the impotent Palestinian Leadership under Arafat.

Posted by Shimon Z. Klein @ 07/12/2004 11:53 AM CST

The separation "fence" that is in fact a wall higher than the Berlin wall should be built on Israeli territory - if so wanted. It should not create facts by excluding territory from the West Banks and including them into Israeli controlled area. The court's ruling does not question the "fence" on or behind the Green Line.

The best protection of Jewish settlers would be the return to the homeland. Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Banks are illegal (as the UN stated so many times) and protecting them by an additional "fence" is even more illegal.

So simple... isn't it?

Posted by Al-Arabi Al-Amani @ 07/12/2004 12:52 PM CST

What we have to consider is what the Palestinians mean when they refer to "occupation" If they are only referring to the west bank anf Gaza. How come rhe PLO was formed in 1964 long before the warin 1967. I believe thay peace and coexistance can only come whrn The Palestinians face up to their own part in the present situation and stop the hateful racist propaganda disseminated in their schools. Israeli society as a whole has accepted the fact of eventual disengagement from the west bank and Gaza

Posted by Jane @ 07/13/2004 05:17 AM CST

Read the history of the Gaza strip post 1947:


No other nation in the world but Israel would be pressured to return territory lost by aggressor nations, not once, but three times.

Likewise for the West Bank.

In any other part of the world, you precipitate a war, you lose, you can't go crying to the UN to declare you the winner. Only Israel is subject to this double standard, which encourages continued Arab hopes of the destruction of the State of Israel.

Posted by Harry Pierson @ 07/14/2004 09:22 AM CST

The "security barrier" that Israel is building is not the real issue any more than bombings are. Both are mere metaphors for the ongoing struggle between two peoples with conflicting hopes for secure lives within the same territory. As such, the barrier is one part of the deadly political dance between Israelis and Palestinians for control of their individual, and as yet irreconcilable, destinies.

When we protest bombings and barriers, we tilt at the symptoms of dividion between peoples. Barriers will not prevent bombings any more than terror will attain terrain. This has been true throughout history: the Great Wall, Hadrian's Wall, the Berlin Wall. Whatever walls are built become symbols of a society's failures, not expressions of its hopes.

Barriers and bombings perpetuate this hopelessness that Palestinians and Israelis respectively encounter daily as they attempt to build personal and collective lives that have meaning beyond the political gyrations in which their governments engage.

When societies can both inspire confidence in their own peoples as well as encourage hope in their opponents, we will see leadership with positive, practical visions that transcend the cycle of selfish nationalism which lies at the root of conflict.

Posted by Douglas Ewing @ 07/14/2004 09:41 PM CST

The international community no longer permits a nation to keep land obtained by military conquest. (ie 1967) That's one thing. What is most bewildering is that in doing so Israel also thinks it is ok to continually violate human rights in the process. The current and projected path of the wall is just a part of this injustice. Nobody objects to Israel securing its own boarders, but since when did this give a nation the justification for such human rights violations?

Posted by Brita Rose @ 07/14/2004 09:44 PM CST

Brita Rose,

You are absolutely wrong, regarding what "the international community permits," as well as your appraisal of Israel as a human rights violator.

My son in Israel works for "Rabbis for Human Rights," which works primarily to protect Palestinian rights. No nation on earth has a spotless human rights record, but how many Arab nations have human rights groups working to protect the rights of Jews? Or for that matter, what is the status of human rights for anyone in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc etc etc? The difference of course is that Israel has a free press, and every thing that happens is open to scrutiny.

Let's examine the "human rights" record of the "international community." The international community that stood by and let 800,000 Rwandans be butchered in 1994, and ten years later refuses to even censor the Sudanese government and the Arab janjaweed murderers for killing tens of thousands in Darfur, and causing a human catastrophe endangering the lives of over 1,000,000. For that matter, where are the outcries in the UN over the suicide bombers, who lace their bombs with nails and bolts and rat poison to cause those who survive the blast to bleed to death? Where is the outcry over an 8 month pregnant mother and her 4 little children shot and killed at point blank range? It's one thing when, in a crowd of thousands of (lethal) stone throwing youngsters, someone is accidentally shot. It's something else to look into the eyes of a 2 year old girl and shoot her dead at point blank range.

In the scheme of human rights abuse, where does Israel compare to the US, which dropped 4 uranium coated "bunker busting" bombs in the middle of a populated neighborhood in Baghdad, in the hopes of killing one man, Saddam Hussein? Or the recent "shock and awe" in Fallujah, because unlike Israel, the U.S. doesn't want to risk "feet on the ground" to put down an insurrection, and is willing to accept far more civilian casualties to reduce their own?

Israeli interrogators train for 3 years before they ever question a suspect. They are professionals, who know that under torture, the victim will tell you anything you want to hear, making torture counterproductive. How does that compare to US abuses in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gitmo, by untrained troops or unsuperivsed civilian contractors? How does that compare to the interrogation of 5 Brits in Saudi Arabia, who, when torture proved insuffcient to coerce them into false confessions, were told that their children would be murdered if they didn't confess?

If you are even mildly concerned about human rights, you have targets bigger than Israel by many orders of magnitude? Are they in your sights, or are you only concerned about the (far less aggregious) abuses that do occur in Israel?

Let's go on to your remarkable claim that "the international community no longer permits a nation to keep land obtained by military conquest. (ie 1967)" This will be news to my relatives in Czechlosavakia, subject of a monstrous invasion by the Soviet Union in 1968, subject to Soviet domination until the Soviet Union fell apart (and the Czechs understood what democracy was, and desparately want it - where was the international community then?). It will news to the Afghans, invaded in 1980 by the Soviet Union, etc. etc.

Exactly what is the formal procedure that prohibits every nation if the world from retaining land captured by force (in the case of 1967, it was self defense, as the Arab armies gathered from all directions, determined to push Israel into the sea).

Is there a well documented procedure that applied to Russia as well, or is this another "rule" that applies only to Israel?

All your post demonstrates is, that in every respect, the double standard applied only to Israel continues.

Posted by Harry Pierson @ 07/15/2004 05:27 AM CST

Imagine the response of the Israeli electorate if only the reintegration of the Jewish people were unequivocally accepted, with all the national dignity it deserves, by the Arab establishment, their friends, and all their representatives in the UN General Assembly.

Posted by Zionista @ 07/17/2004 06:11 PM CST

This is why i hate zionists. "The wall is for protection... its to stop the bombings" Yeah, thats heaaaaps true! LIARS. The Barrier is for annexation and entrapment. Theyre trying to make the palestinians into sheep in small, isolated pens so it is easier to commit politicide on them. Israel is the modern day Nazi Germany. Theyre trying to destroy the palestinians by shoving them into small Warsaw-ghetto-like places where health care and sanitation is poor. This barrier is just the latest tool of the Jews to make it seem like theyre hard done by - "poor us, were being persecuted by these TERRORISTS". Im sorry jewry! youre the persecuters now.

Posted by Wazsie Macran @ 07/18/2004 06:54 AM CST

RE: "Israel is the modern day Nazi Germany."

The absurdity of this statement is immediately obvious - if Israel wanted the Palestinians dead, there would be millions of dead Palestinians. There aren't. The Nazis competely liquidated the Warsaw ghetto, and after WWII only 300,000 of Polands 3,300,000 Jews remained. By contrast, every death or injury to a Palestinian is news, reported around the world.

As for "Shoving the Palestinians" into small enclaves, the Palestinians can thank their Arab brothers, who kept them apart for cynical political purposes. Israel occupies 1/10th of 1 percent of the ME landmass. At the time of the partition of Palestine, there were approximately the same number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries as there were Arab refugees. The difference is that Israel integrated the Jewish refugees into Israeli society, whereas the other Arabs kept the Arab refugees apart to live in despair, in the hopes of their becoming a tool to use against Israel.

The facts are here on this site for you to read.

See also:


Posted by Harry Pierson @ 07/20/2004 01:04 AM CST

"Analyst"s argument that the ICJ's judgement contravenes Article 51 of the UN charter seems to me flawed. The ICJ only considered whether Article 51 is relevant in the present case.

Unless one accepts that the Occupied Territories are actually part of Israel, Israel is not entitled to build a wall there. Israel would be entitled only to build a wall on its own sovereign territory.

Would "Analyst" advocate India build a wall on Pakistani land to keep out pro-Kashmiri militants?

Regarding Harry Pierson's comments - the international community did nothing to help the Czechs , or the Rwandans and it is doing nothing to help the Palestinians. Except in all those cases to pass resolutions. I don't see where the double standard is.

However I can't help but agree the irony of a Chinese judge pronouncing on issues of national self-determination, when you consider Taiwan and Tibet.

Posted by Nimrod @ 08/02/2004 07:29 PM CST

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