Charles Krauthammer

     WASHINGTON -- Among various principles invoked by the International Court of Justice in its highly publicized decision on Israel's security fence is this one: It is a violation of international law for Jews to be living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. If this sounds absurd to you -- Jews have been inhabiting the Old City of Jerusalem since it became their capital 3,000 years ago -- it is. And it shows the lengths to which the United Nations and its associate institutions, including this kangaroo court, will go in order to condemn Israel.

     The ICJ's main business was to order Israel to tear down the security fence separating Israelis from Palestinians. The fence is only one-quarter built, and yet it has already resulted in an astonishing reduction in suicide attacks into Israel. In the last four months, two Israelis have died in suicide attacks, compared with 166 killed in the same time frame at the height of the terror.

     But what are 164 dead Jews to this court? Israel finally finds a way to stop terrorism, and 14 eminences sitting in The Hague rule it illegal -- in a 64-page opinion in which the word terrorism appears not once (except when citing  Israeli claims).

     Yes, the fence causes some hardship to Palestinians. Some are separated from their fields, some schoolchildren have to walk much farther to class. This is unfortunate. On any scale of human decency, however, it is far more unfortunate that 1,000 Israelis are dead from Palestinian terrorism, and thousands more horribly maimed, including Israeli schoolchildren with nails and bolts and shrapnel lodged in their brains and spines who will never be walking to school again.

     From the safe distance of 2,000 miles, the court declared itself ``not convinced'' that the barrier Israel is building is a security necessity. It based its ruling on the claim that the fence violates Palestinian ``humanitarian" rights such as ``the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living as proclaimed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.''

     I'm sure these conventions are lovely documents. They are also documents of absolutely no weight -- how many countries would not stand condemned for failure to provide an ``adequate standard of living '' -- except, of course, when it comes to Israel. Then, any document at hand will do.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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