On 9 July 2004, Palestine achieved one of its most important diplomatic victories: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) released an unprecedented Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The result was a solid document that deemed the Wall illegal and reminded Israel of its obligations as occupying power, as well as it reminded the international community of their obligations as third parties with regards to the case. Seventeen years later, it would be difficult to argue that the ICJ opinion has been taken seriously by several western countries: the Wall and its related infrastructure built to de facto annexe occupied territory have not been dismantled, colonial settlements have continued to expand, and foreign companies and organizations are still involved in the expansion of this illegal enterprise.
Israel, the occupying power, continues to kill, injure, arrest, and imprison thousands of Palestinians to further expropriate Palestinian lands and natural resources and to consolidate and protect its illegal colonial project and apartheid regime that it has created by denying the right of the people of Palestine to self-determination and to exist on their land in freedom and dignity.
Israeli crimes and policies in the occupied Palestinian Territory are not just aimed at denying the inalienable Palestinian right to self-determination but have also severely undermined the mere idea of rules-based world order: to have a country that has systematically violated all its obligations under UN resolutions is an indication of failure. But in this case, the problem goes beyond Israel alone: several governments continue to ignore their obligations in occupied Palestine, including those contained in the ICJ opinion. Lack of concrete measures to implement international law, including sanctions, has continued to undermine the prospects of a just and lasting peace. The ICJ Opinion will remain an important document. Yet, the lack of use of its recommendations serves as a reminder of how much members of the international community are willing to tolerate the apartheid regime established against the people and the land of Palestine.