Dáil Éireann - Volume 662 - 07 October, 2008
Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.
Deputy Pat Breen Deputy Pat Breen
 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress to date in implementing the July 2004 decision of the International Court of Justice that it remove the wall it has built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and supported by the UN General Assembly in resolution ES-10/15 of August 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33324/08]
Deputy Micheál Martin Deputy Micheál Martin
Deputy Micheál Martin: In summer 2002, the Government of Israel decided to erect a physical barrier between Israel and Palestinian communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with the stated purpose of preventing Palestinian suicide bombers from entering Israel. In an advisory opinion of 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice found that the construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), was contrary to international law. The Court found that Israel was under an obligation to cease construction of the wall in the OPT, to dismantle the structure already erected, and to repeal all legislative and regulatory acts related to the construction. Furthermore, Israel was required to make reparations for all damage caused by the construction, and other States were found to be under an obligation not to recognise the wall or assist in its maintenance.
In its resolution ES-10/15 of 2 August 2004, the UN General Assembly, inter alia, demanded Israeli compliance with the ICJ advisory opinion, called upon all UN Member States to comply with their legal obligations, and requested the UN Secretary General to establish a register of damage caused. On 24 January 2007, the UN General Assembly voted to establish the UN Register of Damage caused by the Wall in the Occupied Territories (UNRoD). It will serve as a record of the material damage caused as a result of the construction of the wall but will not be a basis for dealing with claims for compensation.
The Israeli Government has clearly failed to comply with the advisory opinion of the ICJ, or with UN General Assembly Resolution ES-10/15. As of May 2008, 409 kilometres of the wall (57 per cent of the planned route) had been built, 66 kilometres (9 per cent) were under construction, and construction of the remaining 248 kilometres (34 per cent) had yet to begin. The wall has introduced new restrictions on movement for Palestinians living near its route , in addition to pre-existing restrictions. It has a major impact on Palestinian villages, towns and cities, isolating communities and separating tens of thousands of people from services, lands and livelihoods.
I raised Ireland’s strong concerns about the wall directly with Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, during my meeting with her in July, emphasising the hardship that its presence is causing in the lives of ordinary Palestinians.
Ireland and its EU partners have consistently urged the Israeli Government to cease all activities in the Occupied Territories, including settlement building, the construction of the wall on occupied land and the demolition of Palestinian homes, which are contrary to international law and which threaten to make any solution based on the co-existence of two viable States physically impossible. In this regard, in my recent speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations, I said that an end to the construction of illegal settlements would send a strong and welcome sign of good faith at a difficult and uncertain time, and I strongly urged Israel to listen to the concerned voice of the international community.
Dáil Éireann 662 Written Answers. Foreign Conflicts.