Chilean court rejects case against Israel's 'separation wall'

Chilean court rejects case against Israel's 'separation wall'
A Chilean court on Friday rejected lawsuits against three Israeli Supreme Court justices for endorsing the construction of the separation wall on lands grabbed from the occupied West Bank.
2 min read
05 December, 2016
The International Court of Justice in 2004 said the wall was illegal [AFP]

A Chilean court on Friday has rejected lawsuits filed against three Israeli Supreme Court justices for endorsing the construction of the West Bank separation wall and the seizure of lands and the property on them from Palestinians.

Chile's Palestinian Federation filed a war crimes lawsuit last week against current Justices Uzi Vogelman and Neal Hendel and retired justice Asher Grunis, who was president of the court in 2012-15.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the stretch of the wall, built on land the international community considers occupied, has separated them from properties and farmland.

The group argues that Chile's international agreements allow for suits to be brought in its courts involving crimes against humanity committed in other countries.

But in their ruling, the Chilean judges said they did not have the authority to intervene in another country's court decisions.

A Chilean-Palestinian woman who owns land in the Cremisan Valley, which is near Bethlehem, had also filed a lawsuit.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said the federation's lawsuit had no legal basis.

Chile's Palestinian community is among the world's largest, with about 350,000 immigrants and their descendants.

Israel claims the wall built beginning in 2002 is needed to keep out Palestinian attackers.

Palestinians call the structure an illegal land grab because it frequently juts in and out of the West Bank, placing occupied territory claimed by the Palestinians on the "Israeli" side.

The International Court of Justice, the UN's highest judicial organ, in 2004 issued an advisory opinion saying the wall was illegal.

Palestinians seek the entire West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war, as parts of a future independent state, a position that has wide international backing.

Chile's Palestinian Federation plans to appeal the decision.

Agencies contributed to this report.