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Monday, July 12, 2004

Press Release ~ Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations

Ambassador Dan Gillerman: Dark Day for International Court of Justice
"This is a dark day for the International Court of Justice and the international legal system," Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, said today, 9 July 2004, in response to an advisory opinion on the question of Israel's security fence. When the question was initially posed to the court, a result of maneuvers by politically motivated forces, Israel and over 30 leading democracies did not believe that it had the authority to deal with political disputes between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is shocking and appalling that in all 60 plus pages of the opinion the Court fails to address the essence of the problem and the very reason for building the fence - the indiscriminate, murderous campaign of terror that Israelis are facing. Palestinian terrorism has taken the lives of nearly 1,000 Israelis in over 20,000 attacks over the last three and a half years. No other country would act differently in the face of such an evil campaign. According to Ambassador Gillerman, "This fence is the "Arafat Fence" - the fence that Arafat built. The fence will remain as long as Arafat's terror remains." As long as the terrorism continues, Israel will have no choice but to defend its citizens. This is our moral and legal obligation.

Since the fence has been in operation, the number of casualties has decreased dramatically. The fence is reversible, whereas the lives taken by terrorism are not. Moreover, the fence works. It is a temporary, nonviolent security measure and it saves lives. The real barrier between Israelis and Palestinians is not the fence, but the terrorism that made necessary. There can be little credibility to a process that speaks only of Palestinian rights and Israeli responsibilities, as if there were no Israeli rights and no Palestinian responsibilities.

Israel respects the rights of its neighbors, but Israelis and Jews also have rights, primary among them the right to live. . . .

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Ehud Barak, former prime minister, is quoted in the Telegraph (UK): "If I was prime minister, I would look any foreigner in the eye and say, 'We have 900 reasons to build the fence between Israel and the West Bank. You can count the reasons in our graveyards..."