WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), who led the largest Congressional delegation to Israel in its history in August 2003, released the following statement today regarding a non-binding ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that held the Israeli security barrier violates international law:
“The ICJ’s advisory ruling on Israel’s security barrier is disappointing as well as disturbing. I have been to Israel. I have stood at the base of the security barrier. It is purposely designed to prevent Palestinian terror attacks on innocent Israeli men, women and children and thus is absolutely a legitimate response by the Israeli government to protect its citizens.
“The security barrier, as Prime Minister Sharon himself has acknowledged, is a temporary solution and will not prejudice any final status issues, including final borders. And as I have said previously, the route of the fence should be open to discussion. In fact, Israel has already made changes to the route of the security barrier so that it minimizes the impact on local Palestinian communities that are not engaged in terrorism.
“It is of course unfortunate that Israel was forced to erect this security barrier. But let no one be mistaken: If her citizens were not under attack, the barrier would be unnecessary. As a free, independent state, Israel has the inherent right of self-defense and the barrier is only a response to the threat that it lives under every single day.”