INTERNATIONAL

Israel under pressure on barrier

Jerusalem: The Israeli Government is under pressure from the Supreme Court and the Attorney-General to move its West Bank barrier closer to the 1967 frontier. The court gave it 30 days to state how the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July that it should pull down the barrier would affect its construction. The Attorney-General, Meni Mazuz, warned that the ICJ ruling could result in sanctions — a rare acknowledgment of the danger by a senior member of the Government. An official said the Government would stick to its decision not to comply with the ICJ ruling, which it considers biased, heeding only the rulings of the Israeli High Court. But he added that to head off the possibility of sanctions, it ``must be ready from a legal point of view to provide answers why it is not implementing the Hague decision''. ``We are on solid ground on Jerusalem but we are on more shaky ground in some rural areas,'' the official conceded unattributably. A Supreme Court ruling in June has already led the Defence Ministry to reroute part of the barrier to bring it closer to Israel's 1967 border. The precedent-setting ruling declared that a 32 km section jutting deep into land the Palestinians want for their future state violated their human rights and international law, and must be moved.

- Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004