Three years to the International Court of Justice “Advisory Opinion” on the Israeli Segregation Wall

Three years to the International Court of Justice “Advisory Opinion” on the Israeli Segregation Wall

Three years have passed to the landmark 'Advisory Opinion' issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the under construction Israeli Segregation Wall in the Occupied Palestinian territory. The ICJ considered the Israeli act an illegal and unlawful attempt to impose facts on the ground and an outrageous breach to the international humanitarian law. The ICJ has also emphasized the necessity that Israel to stop all the construction work related to the Segregation Wall. In fact, the ICJ ruling went further to consider all the Israeli activities in the occupied territory are illegal in stand in contradiction to the international law. The following points summarizes the essence of the ICJ opinion, they are:

  • 'The construction of the Segregation Wall being built by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, stand in violation of the international law'.

  • 'Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law … to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151of this Opinion'.

  • 'Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem'.

  • 'All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the Segregation Wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction; and to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in the Fourth Geneva  Convention” of August 1949.'

  • The United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation.

However, Israel discarded and practically mocked the ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' and considered the opinion biased and continued with the construction work on the Segregation Wall under the pretext of 'security' and persisted with its variety of violations against the Palestinians and their land and properties; even though the ICJ clearly indicated in paragraphs 137 and 141 of the opinion that Israel is not entitled to validate the “security” pretext to execute its ambitions in the occupied territory. The following lays the continued and amplified violations carried out by Israel since the ICJ “Advisory Opinion” of July 9, 2004.



At the time the ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' was issued, the number of Israeli various obstructions (checkpoints, roadblocks, earth mounds, etc) set up by the Israeli Army through out the occupied West Bank territory stood at 441, and today 3+ years later, Israel has managed to increase them by nearly 35%, as the total number of these obstructions stand today at 592. See table 1. 



No. of Checkpoints

July 2004






October 2007




Houses’ Demolition

Israel remains insist to demolishing Palestinian residences throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, using pretexts as 'building without license' and 'security reasons' even though, the Israeli Army is under an obligation not to carry out such demolishing unless it proves absolutely necessary for the security of their Army, and since they were not able to comply with such demand as stated in Articles 53 & 147of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. In the time period between the ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' came out and now, Israel demolished more than 750 Palestinians’ homes in the occupied Palestinian territory. See Table 2 



No. of Houses Demolished

July 2004






October 2007






Land Confiscation & Uprooting Trees

Since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory back in 1967, Israeli has made it abundantly clear that it is waging its war at more than the Palestinians but also the land and the tree, for they are the things that keep the Palestinians alive in their battle against the Israeli occupation. To this end, Israel adopted a clear policy to tear this link by taking every opportunity to grab the land from its rightful owners and uproot millions of trees using illegitimate pretexts; only to force the Palestinians out of their land, or at least to make it unworthy for them to continue cultivating it. Since the ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' in 2004, Israel intensified its war against the Palestinian land and tree mainly to continue with its outlawed Segregation Wall. As a result, Israel has confiscated more than 83 thousand Dunums and uprooted more than 200 thousand trees. See Table 3.



Land Confiscated

(in Dunums)


July 2004









October 2007








An indication to the number of land confiscated is that it is only the number of land mostly used by the Israeli Army to construct the Segregation Wall, which isolates today nearly 713 Km2 (12.6%) of the occupied Palestinian territory.

Illegal Housing Units in Israeli Settlements

The illegal construction in Israeli settlements continued in the same pace as it was before the 2004 ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' but with a clear concentration on settlements included by the Segregation Wall. Moreover, Israel has issued tenders to expand the illegal settlements and announced that it will construct new settlements mostly around Jerusalem. 


The Israeli decision to continue with settlements' expansion and the establishing of new settlements comes as a straightforward defiance to the ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' and to the road map and the international well. Since the 2004, ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' the number of housing units constructed or issued in tenders exceeded 55 thousand. See Table 4. 



Illegal Housing Units

July 2004






October 2007






Israeli Military Orders

Israel has always resorted to military order to execute its well in the occupied Palestinian territory, it used these order as legal cover  and as a mean to manipulate the international law regarding land confiscation, under the pretext of security, or when it use the 'state land' law to illegally seize Palestinians’ land. Moreover, the Israeli Army has used military order under the pretext of 'military necessity' to demolish Palestinian houses or when it issue notice of demolishing threat against Palestinians’ houses. In the time that followed the ICJ “Advisory Opinion” until October 2007, Israel issued 636 various types of military order. See Chart 1

The Israeli Segregation Wall

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has injected several changes to the route of the Segregation Wall over the years. Most of these changes came after the ICJ 'Advisory Opinion,' which as stated earlier declared the Segregation Wall illegal and demanded that Israel dismantle it. However, Israel yet and again stood and still stand in defiance of the ICJ opinion and the international community well and continued to build the Segregation Wall and make adjustment to its route over and over. Since 2004, right about the time the ICJ 'Advisory Opinion' was issued, Israel injected the fourth adjustment to the route of the Wall in 2007, with every time increasing its length of the Wall, and the seize of Palestinians’ land isolated behind it. See Table 5


Changes on the Segregation Wall Route between June 2004 and April 2007

Date of Change

Wall Length

Area Isolated

(in Km2)

% of land isolated in the

West Bank

June 2004


633 Km²


February 2005


565 Km²


April 2006


555 Km²


April 2007


713 Km²



At no time has any of these changes made, considered the Palestinian populace interest; despite the hundreds of petitions filed by Palestinians to the Israeli Supreme court to protest the dramatic losses that came along with the construction of the Wall.



The Israeli Government continues to ignore the rights of Palestinians and violate the international law as it realizes all what it do goes with impunity. Israel continues to disregard the International Court of Justice ruling of July 9, 2004 despite all criticism. Apparently, Israel will continue to inflect changes on the ground to manipulate the outcome of any possible future negotiation over land, borders, and Jerusalem. Israel quest to grab Palestinian lands has been insist in pace, which is why, it is this time that the international community must step in and put an end to Israel’s egotistical acts so the peace process might go back on track again.



[1] 151. Israel accordingly has the obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built by it in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. Moreover, in view of the Court’s finding (see paragraph 143 above) that Israel’s violations of its international obligations stem from the construction of the wall and from its associated régime, cessation of those violations entails in practice the dismantling forthwith of those parts of that structure situated within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. All legislative and regulatory acts adopted with a view to its construction, and to the establishment of its associated régime, must forthwith be repealed or rendered ineffective, except in so far as such acts, by providing for compensation or other forms of reparation for the Palestinian population, may continue to be relevant for compliance by Israel with the obligations referred to in paragraph 153 below.


153. Israel is accordingly under an obligation to return the land, orchards, olive groves and other immovable property seized from any natural or legal person for purposes of construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the event that such restitution should prove to be materially impossible, Israel has an obligation to compensate the persons in question for the damage suffered. The Court considers that Israel also has an obligation to compensate, in accordance with the applicable rules of international law, all natural or legal persons having suffered any form of material damage as a result of the wall’s construction.


[2] 137. To sum up, the Court, from the material available to it, is not convinced that the specific course Israel has chosen for the wall was necessary to attain its security objectives. The wall, along the route chosen, and its associated régime gravely infringe a number of rights of Palestinians residing in the territory occupied by Israel, and the infringements resulting from that route cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order. The construction of such a wall accordingly constitutes breaches by Israel of several of its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law and human rights instruments


[3] 141. The fact remains that Israel has to face numerous indiscriminate and deadly acts of violence against its civilian population. It has the right, and indeed the duty, to respond in order to protect the life of its citizens. The measures taken are bound nonetheless to remain in conformity with applicable international law.


[4] Article 53 of the same convention provides that 'any destruction by the Occupying power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or other public authorities or social or cooperative organizations is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.'


[5] Article 147 of the convention considers 'extensive destruction and appropriate of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly' as a grave breach of the Convention and thus constitute a war crime.



Prepared by
The Applied Reserach Institute – Jerusalem




Categories: Segregation