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Israel: Security Barrier Saving Lives - 2004-07-09

Israel's United Nations ambassador says the International Court of Justice's ruling against the security barrier Israel is building on land in the occupied West Bank is a "dark day" for the Court and the international legal system. Ambassador Dan Guillerman says the barrier is saving lives.

The non-binding advisory by the Court says the barrier is illegal and urges the United Nations to take steps to halt its construction. But Ambassador Dan Guillerman says it is "shocking and appalling" that the Court failed to address the real problem of terrorism, especially Palestinian suicide bombers.

"Palestinian terrorism has taken the lives of nearly 1000 Israelis in over 20,000 attacks over the last three and one-half years," he said. "No other country would act differently in the face of such an evil campaign. This is the Arafat fence. If there was no Arafat, there would be no need for this fence. This fence will remain as long as Arafat's terror will reign."

Mr. Guillerman says casualties and terrorist incidents have decreased significantly since the construction of the barrier began. He says Israel has already begun dismantling portions of the wall as a result of a ruling by an Israeli court.

The International Court considered the issue at the request of the U.N. General Assembly. A United Nations spokesperson said the General Assembly will now determine whether further action is appropriate.