Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Israel should not be ordered to immediately end occupation: US at World Court

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings on the request for an advisory opinion in respect of the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, from Monday 19 to Monday 26 February 2024, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court. Session held under the presidency of Mr Nawaf Salam, President of the Court.

The United States has told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it should not order the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Palestinian territories without security guarantees.

The acting legal adviser for the US State Department, Richard Visek, was speaking at the public hearings in the advisory proceedings on the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

“The court should not find that Israel is legally obligated to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from occupied territory,” Visek said. The US, for the third time, vetoed a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza at the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is hearing from about 50 countries throughout the week to present their arguments on the issue of a nonbinding opinion on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation.

Previous speakers including South Africa and Saudi Arabia have demanded that Israel end its occupation of the Palestinian territories, which came after its victory in the six-day Arab-Israeli war in 1967.

“Any movement towards Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza requires consideration of Israel’s very real security needs.

“We were all reminded of those security needs on October 7, and they persist. Regrettably, those needs have been ignored by many of the participants,” he added, referring to the Hamas-led attack on Israel that killed at least 1,139 people, based on official Israeli figures.

Israel responded with a genocide in Gaza that has killed more than 29,000 people.

Israel, which is not participating in the oral hearings, submitted a written contribution describing the questions the court had been asked as “prejudicial” and “tendentious”.

Israel has long argued that the territories are formally occupied on the basis that they were captured from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 war rather than from a sovereign Palestine.

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