Robert A. Caplen, Mending the “Fence”: How Treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by the International Court of Justice at the Hague Has Redefined the Doctrine of Self- Defense

57 Fla. L. Rev. 717 (2005) | | | |

INTRODUCTION :: The problem [of Palestine] is mainly one of human relationship and political rights. Few countries have been the subject of so many general or detailed enquires . . . .”

While the United States has not been wholly immune from terrorism in recent decades, the tragedy of September 11, 2001 awakened the American conscience to the harsh reality that a new war between the forces of democracy and fundamentalism had spread to American soil. September 11 was an attack against Americans not unlike the Palestinian suicide bombings of Israeli civilians. The United States response to terrorism has, in many ways, emulated Israel’s attempts to protect its citizens from acts of violence. The overwhelming response to Israel’s efforts, however, remains highly critical. Perhaps the most significant repudiation of Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian terror was articulated by the International Court of Justice at the Hague (Hague Court) on July 9, 2004.

This Note assesses the legality of Israel’s construction of a security structure as part of its counterterrorism initiative. To discuss the Israeli security structure in context, Part II provides a history of the Intifada and Israel’s recent campaign to defend itself from acts of terror against its citizens. Part III traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict beginning in the early twentieth century, the development of the two-state solution in Palestine, and the Arab-Israeli wars that reflected and defined the region’s volatile dynamic. Part IV explores the relationship between Israel and the United Nations (U.N.). Part V evaluates the Hague Court’s interpretation of international law principles relative to both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israel’s counterterrorism initiative. Lastly, Part VI assesses the ramifications of the Hague Court’s advisory opinion with respect to the law of self-defense and the corpus of international law.

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