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Arab Media Review: Anti-Semitism and Other Trends
February - March 2004
RULE Focus: Israel's Security Fence

Posted: May 11, 2004

Introduction Bahrain Egypt Jordan
Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia Focus: Israel's Security Fence
Focus: The Killing of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin Arab Newspapers

On December 8, 2003, the United Nations General Assembly (GA), in a special emergency session adopted a Palestinian-initiated resolution sending the issue of Israel's security barrier to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague for an advisory opinion on the question: "What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." The Palestinian Authority and supporters had attempted to have the Security Council pass such a resolution, however these efforts were unsuccessful, and they turned instead to the General Assembly, where anti-Israel resolutions are routinely supported by the majority of member nations. The resolution passed 90-8, with 74 countries abstaining. The ICJ heard oral presentations for three days beginning on February 23. In the weeks leading up to the Court's oral hearings, forty-nine nations and international organizations, submitted briefs to the ICJ. The majority, including the European Union (all 15 current members, plus the ten countries joining), the United States, Canada, Russia, Australia, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands submitted written briefs questioning the International Court of Justice's jurisdiction to advise on the issue of Israel's security fence. Others, including the member nations of the Arab League and Cuba, submitted briefs arguing for an ICJ opinion on the fence. In addition, fifteen countries, all of whom called for an ICJ opinion condemning the fence, made oral presentations before the Court.

The Arab media published many articles, interviews and columns dealing with the fence and the ICJ proceedings, as well as cartoons criticizing Israel for what is mostly called in the Arab media as "the isolation fence." In one of the Bahraini papers, the fence was described as "the killing fence." One of the main arguments used was that the fence is racist and that Israel can be compared to other racist nations, as in what was written in Al-Ahram: "But a decision (by the ICJ) that will show the lack of legal legitimacy to build it, will undoubtedly put a moral and international pressure on the Israeli government, as it will be revealed it in front of the world as a racist government that uses the policy of racial separation and might be subject to all kinds of boycott as the former South African racist government."

The followings are examples of cartoons that appeared in the Arab papers:

Akhbar al-Khalij, February 26, 2004 (Bahrain)
"The isolating fence" is standing in front of the "Hague International Court of Justice," saying: "(I am) unjustly treated... By God, honorable magistrate."

Akhbar al-Khalij, February 25, 2004 (Bahrain)
In Arabic: "The killing fence."

Al-Watan, February 23, 2004 (Oman)
The man is going through "the isolating fence" to the "Hague International Court," while holding a file on which is written: "The rightness."

Al-Ahram, February 13, 2004 (Egypt)
The Israeli soldier is saying: "This wall is protecting me from you."

Al-Watan, February 10, 2004 (Qatar)
In Arabic: "The West Bank."

Al-Watan, February 6, 2004 (Oman)
The Jew is taking Europe and America to the Hague International Court. Behind, an Arab is holding a file on which is written: "The Problem of the Isolation Fence."

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