Jul 19, 2004
The following article is translated from the July 16 issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the newspaper of the French revolutionary group of that name.
On July 9, the International Court of Justice in the Hague condemned the Israeli government's construction of a wall along the border of the West Bank. The Court ordered that the wall be taken down, and that the Palestinians who were penalized or who had their lands expropriated should be compensated.
This wall, which is to be over 500 miles long and more than 25 feet high, is presented by the Israeli government as a way to protect against terrorism. Without it, they claim, they will not be able to stop men and women who are ready to sacrifice their lives to take revenge for what the leaders of Israel have been doing to the Palestinian people. In fact, the Israeli government is building a divider based on hatred, upon the separation of the Palestinian and the Israeli populations. In order to end up with the majority of the Israeli settler colonies that are on Palestinian land, the wall has been curved to annex some 17% of the West Bank. The wall even cuts some Palestinian cities in two, depriving thousands of Palestinians access to sanitation and administrative services. Some families have even been split from one side of the wall to the other.
In response to the ruling by the Hague Court, the Israeli government immediately announced that it would continue to construct the wall anyway. Netanyahu, the Finance Minister of Israel stated, "What's going to happen now? This is going to the U.N. General Assembly. They can decide anything there. They can say the earth is flat."
This is hardly the first U.N. decision taken against actions of the Israeli government. There have been many other votes in the United Nations reproaching Israel; many resolutions censoring Israeli actions. None have been respected by Israel: from the time of the 1948 resolution recognizing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land, up to the resolution condemning Israel's occupation of the West Bank in 1967.
Knowing that they would still have the backing of American imperialism, the state of Israel has always turned up its nose at resolutions condemning its actions. And the international organizations and courts that are supposed to enforce justice know full well that the decisions they take will not be enforced. For years now, this game of dupery has continued.
International relations are not regulated by some legality, but rather by the relationship of forces in a struggle arbitrated by the imperialist powers – by the strongest among them, U.S. imperialism.