ICJ Concludes Hearings on Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territories
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This photo taken on Dec. 30, 2023 shows the Peace Palace, the seat of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in The Hague, the Netherlands. (Xinhua/Wang Xiangjiang)

By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies

The Hague – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) wrapped up the public hearings on the legal implications of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories on Monday. The sessions, requested by the UN General Assembly, saw oral statements presented by Palestine, 49 UN member states, and three international organizations.

ICJ President Nawaf Salam, in concluding remarks, announced that the court would commence deliberations, with an advisory opinion expected to be delivered at a future public sitting. A ruling is anticipated, possibly late this year or in the coming year.

Despite the participation of numerous nations and organizations in the hearings, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, without engaging in the sessions, issued a statement rejecting their legitimacy. Israel accused the proceedings of seeking to undermine its right to survival and self-defense.

The hearings commenced with a statement from Palestine, delivered by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki. Al-Maliki emphasized the impact of the occupation, citing Palestinian casualties, forced displacement, and the denial of the right to return. He asserted that, under international law, Israel must immediately cease its “illegal” occupation.

Palestine’s UN envoy, Riyad Mansour, urged the ICJ to declare Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories illegal, emphasizing the necessity for an immediate end to the occupation and the pursuit of a “just and lasting peace.”

Professor Mohamed Helal, speaking on behalf of the African Union, called for an end to Israel’s impunity and adherence to the rule of law. Abdel Hakim El Rifai from the League of Arab States in Brussels stressed the importance of the rule of law for achieving peace in the region, stating that “ending the occupation is the gateway to peaceful coexistence.”

Hissein Brahim Taha, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, expressed deep concern about Israel’s aggression against Palestinians in Gaza. He emphasized the vital need to address the risks posed by Israel’s operations.

This marks the second time in 20 years that the ICJ has been requested by the UN General Assembly to provide an advisory opinion on the issue of occupied Palestinian territories. In 2004, the ICJ ruled that Israel’s separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territory on the West Bank violated international law. However, the wall still stands despite the court’s decision.

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