PM, Shalom, Lapid, and Mazuz to discuss ramifications of the decision to dismantle barrier. Political officials term ruling as a “bad joke”.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will hold a special meeting Sunday to discuss the ramifications of the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague (ICJ) by which Israel’s security barrier is illegal. The Foreign and Justice ministers will participate, as will the attorney-general and other senior staffers from the PM’s office and the two ministries.

Sources close to the PM have reacted to Friday’s ruling, saying the decision to order Israel to dismantle the barrier amounts to a “bad joke”. They made it clear that Israel has no intention of complying.

The US administration has already reaffirmed its previous guarantee to Israel that it will not permit any concrete action to be taken by the UN over this matter, and will veto any attempt by the Security Council to pass an anti-Israel resolution over this issue.

The PM has also said that Israel would launch a major diplomatic and PR offensive to undermine the legitimacy of the ruling. He said that only telegenic ministers with an excellent command of English will take part. He specifically mentioned Ehud Olmert, Silvan Shalom Tomi Lapid, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yesterday (Friday) The ICJ issued its verdict condemning the security barrier as a violation of international law. It called on Israel to dismantle it.

The ruling stated that the barrier violates basic Palestinian human rights, as it severely compromises their freedom of movement and access to their places of livelihood and educational opportunities.

The ruling says that the fence is not merely a security measure, but a political one, citing the fact that it encroaches into Palestinian territory to include as many Jewish settlements as possible.

The ruling rejected Israel’s claim that it is entitled to build the barrier as a self-defense measure, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. The panel ruled the article did not apply in this case. It did accept Israelis claim that it was the victim of sustained random violence against its population, and had a right to take action designed to protect its citizens from such violence. It ruled however that such steps must be in accordance with international law, and the barrier did not meet this criterion.

The court called on the UN to “consider what measures should be implemented to ensure compliance with the ruling, in order to be an end to this violation of international law”.

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