NZ welcomes Court ruling on Israeli wall

  • Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs and Trade

New Zealand has welcomed a strong ruling by the International Court of Justice that Israel’s West Bank barrier is illegal and that construction of it should be stopped immediately.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said the International Court, by an overwhelming 14-1 majority, had found that the barrier’s construction was “tantamount to annexation” and impeded the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.

“This decision comes on top of a recent Israeli High Court decision requiring the Israeli Defence Force to look again at the route of part of the wall,” Mr Goff said.

“Israel needs to take serious note of the court’s ruling, and of international opinion. While it has a valid right to protect its people from suicide bombings, the construction of any wall should be on its legal 1967 border.

“A combination of the wall built deep into occupied territory and the continued building of Israeli settlements on land it does not have rights to under international law, makes Israel’s action look like de facto annexation.

“I have personally seen the impact that the wall has had on Palestinian people; isolating towns, separating farmers from their land, and dividing families.

“Even the Israeli High Court has ruled that the hardships experienced by Palestinians because of the wall were disproportionate to any benefit Israel received through protection of its citizens.

The wall is a barrier to the concept of a two-state solution and to implementing the Roadmap promoted by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, which New Zealand supports.

“New Zealand reiterates its own call for Israel to cease construction of the wall, in line with the International Court’s ruling. Both sides must come back to the negotiating table, which is the only path for achieving a sustainable peace,” Mr Goff said.