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Palestine Urges ICJ To Term Israel’s Occupation Unlawful

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Palestinian delegates urged judges at the top court of the United Nations on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory unlawful, arguing that their advisory view could help achieve a durable peace and a two-state solution.

The requests were made at the start of a hearing week at The Hague’s International Court of Justice (ICJ). In 2022, the General Assembly of the United Nations requested an advisory, or non-binding, opinion on the occupation. Arguments will be made by more than 50 states through February 26.

The Palestinian representative to the UN, Riad Mansour, broke down in tears and said, “We call on you to confirm that Israel’s presence in the occupied Palestinian territory is illegal. A finding from this distinguished court. ..would contribute to bringing (occupation) to an immediate end, paving a way to a just and lasting peace. A future in which no Palestinians and no Israelis are killed. A future in which two states live side by side in peace and security.”

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, has exacerbated long-standing grievances throughout the Middle East and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

Although Israel is not present at the hearings, it sent a five-page written statement that was made public by the court on Monday, stating that the questions the UN General Assembly posed in its advisory opinion were biased and would be “harmful” to efforts to resolve the conflict.

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