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US Tells UN Court Israel Must Be Allowed to Continue Occupation of Palestine

by | Feb 21, 2024

US Tells UN Court Israel Must Be Allowed to Continue Occupation of Palestine

by | Feb 21, 2024


The International Court of Justice, which has its seat in The Hague

A State Department official speaking before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) urged the body not to order Israel to end the occupation of Palestine. The court is currently hearing arguments in a case that calls on Israel to end the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. 

The ICJ will hear arguments from more than 50 countries over six days. On the third day of the trial, State Department legal adviser Richard Visek argued to the ICJ that Israel needs to continue the occupation of Palestine for security reasons. “The court should not find that Israel is legally obligated to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from occupied territory,” Visek said.

“Any movement towards Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza requires consideration of Israel’s very real security needs.” He continued, “We were all reminded of those security needs on October 7, and they persist.”

Visek did not mention the security needs of the Palestinians, who have suffered under decades of occupation and apartheid at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Since October 7, 29,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military operations in Gaza. Tel Aviv has prevented aid from reaching the children of Gaza, putting one in six at risk of death due to starvation. 

The case moving through the ICJ is separate from the genocide charges brought by South Africa in December. Last month, the court issued a primary ruling that Israel was plausibly committing genocide in Gaza fueled by the rhetoric of the country’s leadership. The ICJ ordered Israel to end military operations in Gaza that endanger civilians. Tel Aviv and Washington have said they will ignore the court’s decision. 

The second ICJ trial is examining the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, which has been ongoing since 1967. Several international and Israeli human rights organizations have concluded that the occupation amounts to apartheid

For decades, Washington has underwritten the Israeli occupation of the West Bank by preventing the UN Security Council from condemning Tel Aviv’s oppression of the Palestinians and giving Israel over $250 billion in aid. On Tuesday, the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that called for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

The US claims that by giving Israel billions of dollars in weapons every year, it was establishing the conditions for a two-state solution. Visek told the ICJ that ruling Israel to end the occupation of Palestine will prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. “It is important that the court keeps in mind the balance the [UN] Security Council and the General Assembly have determined is necessary to provide the best chance for durable peace,” he told the ICJ on Wednesday. 

However, Tel Aviv has deliberately worked to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted he has been able to thwart the emergence of a sovereign nation for the Palestinians during these past decades. “Everyone knows that I am the one who for decades blocked the establishment of a Palestinian state that would endanger our existence,” Netanyahu said, according to The Times of Israel.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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