'I am angry at the world. Israel does not respect international law'

By Sa'id Ghazali in Jerusalem

The Independent

10 July 2004

There was a mixed reaction from Palestinians to yesterday's ruling.

Jamal Goma, a leading activist against the wall, said it was a "great achievement". He believes it could "revitalise the Palestinian hopes".

"All depends on us. We should escalate our peaceful resistance against the wall by marches, demonstrations and boycotting the Israeli goods," he said.

However, he does not think that the ruling should be seized as an opportunity to declare an end to suicide attacks on Israeli civilians.

"We should not deal with this issue now. That should be only a matter of internal debate,'' he said.

Daoud Jaber, 54, from Jericho, who sneaked into Jerusalem for the Friday prayer, welcomed the ruling. "We want the world to back us against the wall."

However some worshippers who were making their journey through a tiny opening in the wall in Abu Dis to the third holiest Islamic shrine in Jerusalem were less enthusiastic.

The non-binding verdict will not convince Mahmoud Jaffal that his route to the al-Aqsa mosque will be any easier. "I am angry at the world,'' he said. "Israel does not respect the international law. Israel is a rebellious country,'' he said, looking around cautiously.

"Why can Jews who are from Africa and all over the world move freely here and I, who live in Abu Dis, can not enter Jerusalem?

"It is disgraceful that the world can not do any thing ... We are human beings and not animals, but there is no international law. There is no international system," he said.

Mr Jaffal said that he was caught twice by Israeli police while attempting to enter Jerusalem. "They forced me to do finger printing on their papers which say that I will face a penalty if I do it again,'' he said. "Israel will not stop me from praying. I will go even if I end up in a jail."