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Saturday, June 22, 2024

On Trial: Arab States, Turkey Bring Israel’s Occupation Before the World Court

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) wrapped up hearings on Monday with Arab states and Turkey making impassioned pleas for the court to denounce Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories as illegal. The hearings, initiated by a request from the U.N. General Assembly in 2022, have attracted attention from over 50 states seeking a non-binding opinion on the legal ramifications of the Israeli occupation.

Turkey’s Position

Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Ahmet Yildiz, emphasized the centrality of the occupation to regional conflicts, labeling it as “the real obstacle to peace.” Yildiz highlighted the recent escalation of violence following attacks by Hamas on October 7, which resulted in significant casualties on both sides. He urged the judges to recognize the occupation as the primary impediment to achieving lasting peace in the region and called for its unequivocal condemnation.

Arab League’s Assertion

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, echoed Turkey’s sentiments, condemning the occupation as a grave violation of international justice. In a statement delivered by a representative, the Arab League urged the ICJ to confirm the illegality of the occupation and clarify the legal consequences for all parties involved. The league denounced any complicity or facilitation of the illegal situation and called for accountability.

Israel’s Stance

While Israel opted not to participate in the hearings, it expressed concerns over the court’s involvement, cautioning against potential hindrances to a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel criticized the framing of questions posed to the court as biased, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach to address the complex issues at hand.

Palestinian Appeal

In preceding sessions, Palestinian representatives implored the judges to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory unlawful. They highlighted the potential significance of the court’s opinion in advancing towards a two-state solution and alleviating the longstanding suffering endured by Palestinians, particularly in Gaza. The judges are anticipated to deliberate for approximately six months before issuing their opinion on the matter.

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