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Palestine’s representatives call for end to Israeli occupation at ICJ hearings
By Richard Brown // Feb 21, 2024

Representatives of Palestine have presented their case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), calling for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories and condemning Israel's system of apartheid.

Led by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki and United Nations (UN) envoy Riyad Mansour, along with legal and academic experts, the hearings in The Hague will continue until Feb. 26. This legal action is distinct from the ongoing South Africa-Israel genocide case and specifically focuses on the legal consequences of Israel's decades-long occupation. (Related: Palestinian rights group seeks prosecution of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau for complicity in Gaza war crimes.)

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution in December 2022, with 87 votes in favor, urging the ICJ to provide an advisory opinion on Israel's 57-year occupation of Palestinian territories. The resolution received 26 votes against, including one from the United States. The current proceedings are part of this request.

Key questions addressed during the hearings include the legal consequences of Israel's ongoing occupation, settlement activities and annexation of the Palestinian territories. The ICJ is examining how these policies impact the legal status of the occupation and its consequences for all states, not just Israel.

Mansour passionately called for accountability, asserting that Israel must face the consequences of its actions that violate international law. He tearfully expressed how international law had failed to protect Palestinian children and urged the court to confirm the illegal nature of Israel's presence in the occupied Palestinian territory.

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Representatives from Palestine, including legal expert Namira Negm, provided detailed arguments on how Israel's policies and practices amount to apartheid in the occupied territories.

Amnesty International: Israel needs to end its "brutal" occupation of Palestinian territories

Amnesty International also issued a statement on the matter, emphasizing the need for Israel to end its "brutal" occupation to prevent further apartheid and human rights violations. Amnesty International is a global movement that presses governments to ratify and abide by international human rights treaties, and to strengthen international human rights standards.

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, highlighted that the ICJ is not questioning whether the Palestinian territories are occupied, as that has already been determined by UN Security Council resolutions.

Instead, the focus is on whether Israel intends to turn the prolonged occupation into de facto annexation.

Muhammed Dahleh, a Palestinian lawyer, underscored the significance of these hearings in using international law to address the Israeli occupation. The advisory opinion from the ICJ may provide a legal basis for countries worldwide to engage with the Israeli occupation differently.

The hearings are expected to conclude on Feb. 26, after which the judges will deliberate before issuing an advisory opinion.

This marks the second time the ICJ has been asked for an advisory opinion related to the occupied Palestinian territory, following a 2004 ruling against Israel's separation wall in the West Bank.

Israel, not participating in the current hearings, vehemently criticized the 2022 UN request, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it "despicable" and "disgraceful."

The ICJ hearing faced immediate condemnation from Israel's Foreign Ministry and Netanyahu's office, which discredited the legitimacy of the proceedings. They alleged that the hearings were intended to undermine Israel's right to defend itself against existential threats and aimed to dictate diplomatic outcomes without engaging in negotiations.

In a concise statement issued to the ICJ last year in response to the proceedings, Israel emphasized the breakdown of previous political efforts to resolve the conflict. Citing remarks from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Israel accused the Palestinians of failing to reach an agreement with Israel, hindering the end of Israeli rule in the territories.

On Sunday, Feb. 18, the Israeli government unanimously supported a declaration that rejects a purported U.S.-led proposal to establish a definite timeline for recognizing a Palestinian state. The government argued that such a move would constitute a significant reward for the terrorist massacre that occurred in southern Israel four months ago.

Palestinian human rights activist says Israel has destroyed Gaza. Watch this video.

This video is from Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on Brighteon.com.

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