UN Top Court Shouldn’t Urge Israel to Immediately Withdraw From Palestinian-Claimed Lands, Us Says

    Richard C. Visek, acting legal adviser of the U.S. Department of state, second left, waits to address the United Nations' highest court during historic hearings in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, into the legality of Israel's 57-year occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Six days of hearings at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate in proceedings, are scheduled as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The United States said Wednesday the United Nations’ top court should not issue an advisory opinion that says Israel should “immediately and unconditionally withdraw” from territories sought for a Palestinian state.

    Join our WhatsApp group

    Subscribe to our Daily Roundup Email

    Acting State Department legal adviser Richard Visek said the 15-judge panel at the International Court of Justice should not seek to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict “through an advisory opinion addressed to questions focusing on the acts of only one party.”

    Visek spoke on the third day of hearings at the court into a request by the General Assembly for a non-binding advisory opinion on the legality of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories.

    He said the court “can address the questions before it within the established framework based on the land for peace principle and within the parameters of established principles of occupation law.”

    Visek added that the court’s opinion “will have consequences for the parties to the conflict and for the ongoing efforts of all of those working to achieve a durable peace.”

    Earlier this week, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki called on the court to uphold the Palestinian right to self-determination and declare “that the Israeli occupation is illegal and must end immediately, totally and unconditionally.”

    The idea of land for peace has been the cornerstone of U.S.-led diplomacy for decades and was the basis of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, in which Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in return for peace and recognition.

    The same principle has been applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the peace process has repeatedly stalled because of Palestinian attacks, Israel’s expansion of settlements in occupied territory, and the inability of the two sides to agree on thorny issues like final borders, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

    The U.S. arguments at the world court came a day after Washington vetoed an Arab-backed and widely supported U.N. resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire of the Israel-Hamas war in the embattled Gaza Strip, saying it would interfere with negotiations on a deal to free hostages held by militant Palestinian group Hamas.

    The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 13-1, with the United Kingdom abstaining. It reflected the strong support from countries around the globe for ending the war, which started when Hamas militants invaded southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking nearly 250 others hostage. Since then, more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory military offensive, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which says the vast majority were women and children.

    “Hamas’s attacks, hostage-taking and other atrocities, the ongoing hostilities and the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and the violence in the West Bank reinforce the United States resolve to urgently achieve a final peace that includes the full realization of Palestinian self-determination,” Visek said.

    Visek’s comments were preceded Wednesday by condemnations of Israel’s policies by representatives of Colombia, Cuba and Egypt. Along with the Palestinians, a total of 51 nations and three international organizations are scheduled to speak at the hearings. The court will likely take months to issue its non-binding advisory opinion.

    The Palestinians argue that Israel’s open-ended military occupation has violated the prohibition on territorial conquest and the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, and has imposed a system of racial discrimination and apartheid.

    On Tuesday, South Africa argued that Israel’s policies amount to apartheid against the Palestinians and that Israel’s occupation of land sought for a Palestinian state is “inherently and fundamentally illegal.” Israel rejects such claims.

    In a written submission filed last year, Israel argued that the questions put to the court are prejudiced, ignore “Israel’s right and duty to protect its citizens,” fail to address Israeli security concerns or acknowledge past agreements with the Palestinians to negotiate “the permanent status of the territory, security arrangements, settlements, and borders.”

    Listen to the VINnews podcast on:

    iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Podbean | Amazon

    Follow VINnews for Breaking News Updates

    Connect with VINnews

    Join our WhatsApp group

    Most Voted
    Newest Oldest
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    2 months ago

    You can call it what you like, Israel, Gaza, Palestine; Settlements, occupied territory, stolen land etc, it doesn’t make a difference. Israel was given land legally and was then invaded by terrorists, not once, not twice, but over & over again and have been trying to protect lives, giving land back for peace many times: To Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and to Palestinians in the west bank & in Gaza. If they want peace, they just need to stop fighting. If the Palestinians want peace, they just need to stop fighting. If Israel stops fighting, they will be destroyed.

    Educated Archy
    Educated Archy
    2 months ago

    Hey Biden, Israel must be given a free hand to invade Rafah too and finish the job. Enough pandering to MI muslim voters

    Zvi TUSK
    Zvi TUSK
    2 months ago

    When did Israel steal The land, that they have to give it back? The Palestinian are the thieves.
    We are no longer “dhimmis” and we are no longer accepting the Arabic claims to just because they say so. The forged documents and etc. show that they cannot be trusted, even in court. The Israelis do much research before they allow an Israeli to own land.