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At the ICJ hearing, Palestine demands an end to Israeli occupation

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At the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Palestinian representatives have demanded an end to Israel’s apartheid regime and the occupation of Palestinian areas.

Palestine was represented at the proceedings, which started in The Hague on Monday and will last through February 26, by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki, Palestine’s UN envoy Riyad Mansour, and a number of academic and legal specialists.

This action, which is distinct from South Africa’s genocide lawsuit against Israel for its ongoing and deadly war on Gaza, aims to establish the legal consequences of Israel’s long-term colonization of Palestinian territory.

A resolution urging the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to render an advisory or nonbinding decision on Israel’s 75-year occupation of Palestinian lands was voted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in December 2022. The US was one of the 26 countries who voted against it, out of the 87 votes cast in favor.

“The first is what are the legal consequences of the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel and preventing the Palestinians from their self-determination by prolonging the occupation, settlement building and annexation of the Palestinian territories,” he stated.

“And then the second question is how those policies affect the legal status of the occupation and what are the legal consequences that arise for all states, not just Israel.”

Mansour stated during the Monday hearing that Israel shouldn’t be rewarded for breaking international law, but rather should face the consequences of its actions. With tears in his eyes, he explained how Palestinian children had not been protected by international law.

“We call on you to confirm that the Israeli presence in the occupied Palestinian territory is illegal and that its occupation must come to an immediate, complete and unconditional end,” he said.

“Without accountability, there is no justice; and without justice, there can be no peace.”

Representatives for Palestine, including Namira Negm, went into great detail about how Israel’s actions and policies in the occupied Palestinian territory are similar to apartheid.

In a statement released on Monday, Amnesty International stated that Israel needs to stop its “brutal” occupation of Palestine in order “to stop fuelling apartheid and systematic human rights violations.”

According to Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, the question being considered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is not whether Israel intends to convert its extended occupancy of the occupied Palestinian areas into de facto annexation, as that has already been decided by resolutions of the UN Security Council.

“Everything about this occupation looks permanent,” he stated, citing the growth of Israeli colonies as evidence.

The hearings, according to Palestinian lawyer Muhammad Dahleh, are crucial because the Palestinians have been unsuccessful in their decades-long attempts to use international law and diplomacy to draw attention to their cause.

According to Al Jazeera, speaking from occupied East Jerusalem, Dahleh told Al Jazeera, “This addition now of the advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice might mean that actually many countries in the world will have a legal basis to deal with the Israeli occupation and maybe even the Israeli state and the Israeli government in a different way.”

It is anticipated that the judges would deliberate for several months following the conclusion of the hearing on February 26 before providing an advisory opinion.

This is the second time the UNGA has requested an advisory opinion from the ICJ regarding the occupied Palestinian territories.

The World Court found in July 2004 that Israel’s separation wall in the occupied West Bank should be demolished because it broke international law. The wall is still in place today.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized the 2022 UN request, calling it “disgraceful” and “despicable,” and Israel withdrew from this week’s hearings.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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