Israel’s Supreme Court has upheld the ruling that coloured packing containers that had been ordered to be removed from the country after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are still in place.
In a decision that took effect on Sunday, the court said that the boxes, which had been installed at the entrance of the World Bank office in the occupied West Bank, have been used to distribute goods to the Palestinians in violation of international law.
The decision has been hailed by rights groups and the government as a victory for Palestinians and the international community, but it also has the potential to further erode trust between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a constant source of tension and conflict in recent years, as Israel seeks to expand its presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The United Nations has warned of the possibility of “an escalatory escalation” between Israel and the Palestinians, which it says could be “catastrophic”.
The court ruling came just hours after a senior Israeli government official called for “stronger measures” to ensure the boxes do not become a source of conflict between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and international bodies.
The Ministry of Economy and Industry has already ordered the removal of the boxes from the World Center, while Israel’s justice ministry said it was seeking to remove the boxes at the other World Bank offices.
The Supreme Court ruling came at a time of increasing tensions between Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.
Netanyahu has repeatedly demanded the removal or the creation of a Palestinian state, saying it is not possible and is a non-starter.
Israel has been unable to reach an agreement with the Palestinians to end the six-year conflict, with the two sides regularly firing back with rocket attacks.