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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Latest on the Hague

from various -mostly Israeli- sources
Excerpt from an exchange outside the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague this week, broadcast on Israel's Channel Two Television News:

Anti-Israel Protestor: "I'm not really excited about Israel. I don't like it."

Interviewer: "Why not? I mean, how much do you know about it?"

Anti-Israel Protestor: "Israel is really, uh, racist, and um, I don't know exactly..."
Fifteen representatives have spoken against the wall. Inside the hall yesterday, a representative from Belize spoke against it. Other delegates who spoke yesterday were from Cuba and Jordan. The Cuban railed against the "occupying force" without mentioning Israel by name, while Jordan's Ambassador to the UN said that Israel's anti-terror partition was a danger to the stability of King Abdullah's regime. Employing impressive audio-visual materials, he said that a "new wave of refugees [from Judea/Samaria] is threatening my country."

Reuters reports that "The Arab League and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which represent about 20 percent of the world population and include some of Israel's fiercest foes, testified last in one of the highest profile cases in the court's 58-year history."



Some 2,000 supporters of Israel demonstrated outside the Court yesterday morning, and were replaced in the afternoon by about 1,000 people expressing the opposite stand. Marching hand in hand with leaders of the Palestinian Authority against Israel's self-defense measure were none other than Arab Knesset Members Ahmed Tibi, Muhammed Barakeh, and Azmi Bishara.

It was announced last night that the Court would grant a hearing this afternoon to Israeli terror victims. The hearing will take place between the morning and afternoon sessions. Today's session was to be the last before the judges retire to prepare their decision on Israel's counter-terrorism fence. They will decide if they are authorized to rule, and if so, whether the fence is legal according to international law.

The European Union collectively (on behalf of 25 nations), and Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States individually, among others, have specifically asked the ICJ to abstain from rendering an opinion.

Contrary to public perception, "Israel is not boycotting the session," [international law professor Ruth] Lapidot said, "and has in fact sent a 100-page document outlining its stand. Israel is simply not appearing in order not to create the impression that we agree that the Court is authorized to deal with this issue..."