UN OCHA Launches Report Marking Seven Years since Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Barrier
This is the fifth year OCHA has issued a report on the anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Opinion in July 2004. This Advisory Opinion stated that sections of the Barrier route which ran inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, together with the associated gate and permit regime, violated Israel’s obligations under international law.
This new OCHA report focuses on the impact of the Barrier in the East Jerusalem area, in particular on West Bank communities and households now isolated on the Jerusalem side of the Barrier. As Palestinians in these areas have West Bank residency status, they have no right to live in the Jerusalem municipal area. They are forced to cross checkpoints to access educational and health services, and even to do their shopping. Their family members from the West Bank cannot visit them unless they obtain Jerusalem entry permits.
The report also highlighted the impact of the Barrier on Palestinian farmers, whose access to their land in so-called ‘Seam Zone’ behind the Barrier is severely limited. These farmers depend on Israeli-issued permits to access their land through gates which are only open for limited periods. This policy is devastating agricultural livelihoods throughout the West Bank.
The Report calls on the Israeli authorities to abide by the ICJ advisory opinion by ceasing construction of the Barrier, to reroute constructed sections to the Green Line, to dismantle sections of the Barrier already completed, and to repeal the gate and permit regime. Only then will Palestinian communities cut off by the Barrier be able to exercise their rights to freedom of movement, work, education, health and enjoy an adequate standard of living.