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US tells UN's top court Israel should not be ordered to withdraw from occupied Palestinian territories

Posted On: 22-02-2024 | Politics , International
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Bethlehem /PNN /

The United States has told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) not to order Israel to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories until security guarantees are obtained.

The acting legal adviser of the US Department of State, Richard Visek, made the comments on Wednesday, when he was speaking at the public hearings in the advisory proceedings on the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East al-Quds.

“The court should not find that Israel is legally obligated to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from occupied territory,” Visek said, just a day after the US used its veto power to reject a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza at the UN Security Council for a third time.

“Any movement towards Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza requires consideration of Israel’s very real security needs,” he added.

The Hague-based tribunal, also known as the World Court, is holding a week of public hearings following a request from the UN, with 52 countries presenting their arguments on the issue of a nonbinding opinion on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The court’s 15-judge panel has been asked to review Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City" of al-Quds and from its adoption of related "discriminatory legislation and measures.”.

Before Visek, other speakers, including those representing South Africa and Saudi Arabia, had demanded that Israel put an end to its occupation of the Palestinian territories, which took place during the 1967 Six-Day War. 

Israel has not participated in the oral hearings, which began on Monday. Instead, it has presented a written contribution denouncing the questions the ICJ had been asked as “prejudicial” and “tendentious.”

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, in a move never recognized by the international community. Since then, the illegal entity has perpetrated a raft of crimes, including killing, displacement, arrest and torture of Palestinians and demolition of their homes.

In its latest aggression, Israel waged a brutal war on the Gaza Strip on October 7 after Hamas carried out a historic operation against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The brutal war has killed over 29,000 people and left nearly 70,000 others injured. 

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