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News > Palestine

The Hague Hearings Make Visible Injustices Against Palestinians

  • Turkish Deputy FM Ahmet Yildiz (R) in The Hague, Feb. 26, 2024.

    Turkish Deputy FM Ahmet Yildiz (R) in The Hague, Feb. 26, 2024. | Photo: X/ @JavedMir16

Published 26 February 2024

Türkiye, Zambia, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union took positions in the International Court.

On Monday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague continued its hearings on "The Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem."


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The ongoing ICJ hearings are the consequence of a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNSC) in 2022. Once they conclude, the Hague Court will issue a non-binding opinion. Below are summaries of the interventions of some countries.

Türkiye: Palestinian conflicts bears risk for regional and global peace

Ahmet Yıldız, deputy minister for Foreign Affairs, began by detecting that the “injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people” had brought “the rules-based international system to a point of collapse”.

The Turkish representative warned the crisis in Gaza and the West Bank runs, “if left unchecked, the risk of threatening not only regional but also global peace and security”.

“The current trajectory risks a broader regional conflagration as well as inter-communal polarization”, Yılmaz said, pointing to rising risks of islamophobia, antisemitism and extremism all around the world.

The Turkish diplomat criticized the “lack of political will or interest among the international community” and underlined several United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions that were not implemented.

“Palestinians only want justice, equality, dignity, and their long-deserved independence”, said Yıldız, emphasizing the Türkiye had always sided with the oppressed and welcomed also Jews when these were “oppressed centuries ago in Europe and during the Second World War”.

Today are Palestinians subject to “practices from the Middle Ages and sometimes even worse,” Yıldız said and focused in depth on the situation of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites in Jerusalem, rejecting Israel’s attempts to change the historical status quo.

The Turkish diplomat demanded the full implementation of the provisional measures the court had demanded weeks ago in the case South Africa versus Israel and called upon the court to “declare Israel’s policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem illegal.”

“Türkiye will continue its efforts to contribute to the permanent peace between Israel and Palestine, more urgently for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza and immediate, unhindered flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza” said Yıldız and added that his country had also developed “the idea of a guarantee mechanism” for future negotiations.

Zambia: The Court should decline to provide an opinion

Marshal Mubambe Muchende, State Counsel and Solicitor-General, said the International Court of Justice was facing a “complex question requiring Solomonic wisdom.”

He based his arguments on the United Nations Charter, the ICJ statute, and the Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestine. Muchende called the court to take a “comprehensive and balanced perspective”, emphasized “complexities and nuances” in the circumstances.

Arguing that a “sustainable” two-state solution “cannot be imposed from the outside”, Muchende proposed the parties should find the final determination of their dispute “through a settlement means of their choice, which is negotiations”.

“The court is neither the only dispute resolution mechanism available nor is it the best,” he said and concluded that the court should “rather give deference and sanctity to bilateral agreements between the two states.”

The Arab League: End the last oppressive apartheid

The Arab League os States was represented by Abdel Hakim El Rifai, Deputy Chief of the Permanent Mission in Brussels, and Ralph Wilde, Senior Counsel and Advocate.

El Rifai presented a statement prepared by Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary of the Arab League, which has its headquerters in Cairo and is comprised of 22 states.

The League called on the court “to end the last oppressive, expansionist, apartheid, settler, colonial occupation still standing in the 21st century”.

“The persistence of this occupation, acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, crimes against humanity, displacement of populations, imprisonment of Palestinians behind illegal segregation walls, expansion of illegal settlements, creating new political realities on the ground, aiming at complicating the dismantling of the occupation. Ending Israel's total impunity and subjecting it, like any other state, to the universal rules of international law will help annul its pretexts to systematically reject peace initiatives”, the statement said.

Speaking on the international law dimension of the conflict, Wilde demanded “the end of occupation, the immediate removal of settlers, the enabling of Palestinian self-administration.

OIC: An objective third party is necessary for peace

Hissein Brahim Taha, the secretary or the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was assisted by Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, Professor of Public Law and Political Science at the University Paris Diderot and Counsel.

Taha began his presentation emphasizing that the OIC was founded in 1969 in response to an attack on the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, with defending the rights of the Palestinian people as being one of its goals stated in its charter.

The OIC is the second largest international organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states and an estimated represented population 1.8 billion.

Taha condemned the “war being waged by the Israeli occupier in Gaza”, including “massive war crimes and the risk of genocide”. He denounced an end to occupation and emphasized that “lasting and comprehensive peace is only possible with a two-state solution”.

The OIC secretary also called other countries to end arms export to Israel and urged the “international community to take immediate and swift measures to end the massacre and targeting of Palestinian civilians”.

As second speaker for the OIC, Chemillier-Gendreau focused on the argument of ongoing negotiations which might be disrupted by an advisory opinion of the court. This argument had been brought forward by the United States and the United Kingdom, among others, with the latter even proposing to the court to decline giving an opinion.

Ongoing negotiations are “a myth artificially maintained”, said Chemillier-Gendreau, arguing that Palestinians would “not recover their legitimate rights by direct bilateral negotiations with Israel”.

Chemillier-Gendreau reasoned they were under military occupation in a “position of structural weakness”. Besides, added the French professor, had Israel always tried to gain concessions from Palestine’s fundamental rights.

Peace from an agreement between the parties will be concluded under the “arbitrary sponsorship of a third state in objectivity”, she concluded.

The African Union: Palestinians suffer succession of nakbas

The African Union was represented by Hajer Gueldich, its Legal Counsel, Mohamed Salem Khalil, Senior Legal Officer and Mohamed Helal, Legal Expert.

“The history of Palestine is a history of dispossession, displacement and dehumanization”, Gueldich said, adding that this tragedy was demonstrated once again by the ongoing Israeli aggression against Gaza.

She quoted from the African Union’s statement from Feb. 17, which expressed “total outrage at the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israeli forces occurring in the Gaza Strip and their full support for the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle against Israeli occupation”.

The AU is made up of 55 Member States which represent all the countries on the African continent and represents a population is 1.3 billion.

The Palestinian people are “enduring a succession of nakbas from the Balfour Declaration to the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1982, with the establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements, Gueldich stated.

“This instant advisory proceeding is an opportunity to at last hold Israel accountable for its acts, but also to put an immediate end to its impunity”, she concluded.

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