The Annexation Barrier: 

We Can Do Something 

The major obstacle to peace in the Holy Land is Israeli colonisation and oppression of the Palestinians, throughout the longest military occupation of modern times, involving contravention of international law and of over sixty UN Security Council resolutions.

Visitors to Bethlehem see settlements occupied by Jewish Israelis built on land which belonged to Palestinians but which has been stolen from them. The other thing visitors cannot fail to see is the annexation barrier. If its main purpose was security, it would have been built on the Green Line. But it is built on Palestinian land, encroaching up to 35 kilometres into the West Bank. So far its construction has led to annexation of 9.5 per cent of the West Bank. The planned route of the eastern section of the barrier in the Jordan Valley will result in the theft of a further 28.5 per cent.

In July 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled the barrier to be illegal and decreed that it be dismantled, and that Palestinians be compensated for the damage caused by it. The ruling stated that “all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention … have the obligation to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention,” and concluded that the UN “should consider what further action is required to bring an end to the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated regime.”

How shall we respond? We should resolve that – as in Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa – racism, injustice and militarily-enforced state terror in the Holy Land are intolerable and must be opposed. Practically, we can act on the following plea from 171 Palestinian organizations: “We call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.”

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