Capacities and inadequacies: A look at the two separation barrier cases

Yuval Shany*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Comparison between the two decisions of the International Court of Justice and the Israeli Supreme Court on the legality of Israel's West Bank controversial separation barrier illustrates some of the inherent differences between national and international legal proceedings. The note critically assesses these differences and advocates a more comity based framework of cooperation between national and international courts. Specifically, the note argues that the fact-gathering and fact-analysis process demonstrated in the Hague Advisory Opinion is problematic, as were the Court's refusal to show any deference to the Israeli authorities and empathy towards the Israeli public. These deficiencies reduce the persuasiveness of the Opinion and render its acceptance by Israel less likely. At the same time, the failure of the Israeli Supreme Court to address the link between the route of the barrier and the alleged illegality of the settlement detracts from the normative value of the judgment and highlight the political constrains in which domestic courts operate. As a result, resort to a comity-based framework in which the national and international courts strive to draw upon each other's institutional advantages in the fields of fact-finding, compliance-pull and international law expertise would have been beneficial.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)230-246
Number of pages17
JournalIsrael Law Review
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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