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Al Haq: Legal challenge to British government support of Israel

Al-Haq press release, November 15th

Al-Haq is cooperating with solicitor Phil Shiner of the Public Interest Lawyers firm (PIL) as part of its efforts to secure the implementation of the July 2004 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Israel’s wall. This court decision found Israel’s construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) to be contrary to international law. Al-Haq has provided PIL with documentation on numerous cases regarding the impact of the Wall. On November 15, 2006, PIL lodged a complaint against the UK government in the High Court in London on behalf of Palestinians suffering as a result of the construction of the Wall.

PIL argued that the UK’s granting of export licenses for the sale of weapons to Israel breaches both its own Consolidated Criteria, as well as principles of international law reflected in the ICJ Advisory Opinion. It argued that the UK government should immediately review the legality and rationality of its arms trade with Israel, in light of clear recent evidence that arms related products from UK based companies are implicated in violations of international humanitarian law carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians in the OPT. When reviewing its actions, the UK government must take full account of its legal obligations as reflected in the ICJ Advisory Opinion.

Al-Haq believes that the action taken by PIL provides hope for the Palestinian people by bringing attention to the lack of respect for international law in the OPT. By holding the UK accountable for its failure to meet its obligations as a third-party state, Al-Haq hopes that the UK and other states will become more mindful of their own international legal obligations with regard to violations carried out in the OPT. Al-Haq would like to express its gratitude and support to PIL for taking this courageous step.