ICJ's ruling suggests Israeli malicious Intentions: Arab League representative to UN

Mohamed Hamouda , Sunday 28 Jan 2024

Maged Abdel-Fattah, the Arab League Permanent Representative to the UN, said the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) reflects the court's initial conviction that Israel has malicious intentions to complicate the situation on the ground in Gaza.

 AL Permanent Representative to the UN
Arab League Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Maged Abdel-Fattah


Abdel-Fattah added that such intentions may drive Israel to obliterate evidence of the violations it committed.

His remarks came in an interview with the Middle East News Agency (MENA) on Sunday about the implications of the ICJ’s historic ruling.

On Friday, 26 January, the UN's top court rejected Israel’s request to throw out the case filed against it by South Africa, accusing Israel of violation of the Genocide Convention. ICJ’s ruling ordered six so-called provisional measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza.

Abdel-Fattah noted that despite being procedural, the ruling sheds light on several key aspects, including the court's jurisdiction, the issuance of interim measures, and the broader implications for Israel's compliance with international law.

Although the ICJ did not respond to South Africa's request for the court to order an immediate ceasefire, implementing all six interim measures would certainly require a ceasefire or a significant limitation of military operations to avoid contradicting the court's order, he added.

Abdel-Fattah noted that the ICJ decision notably rejected Israel's assertion of the court's lack of jurisdiction, affirming its authority under the Genocide Convention and its founding statutes.

He highlighted the significance of the ICJ's reliance on reports from various UN agencies and human rights experts, which provided compelling evidence of violations of the Genocide Convention. This move not only reaffirms the credibility of UN bodies but also underscores the gravity of the situation.

In response to a question about the alleged involvement of UNRWA employees in the 7 October attack, Abdel-Fattah said the UN Secretary-General swiftly formed a neutral committee to investigate these claims, stressing that the UN's zero-tolerance policy ensures accountability for any wrongdoing.

He did not rule out that Israel may have levelled these accusations at the UN agency in retaliation for the ICJ's ruling, which is partially based on the UNRWA's report.

"This is a retaliatory accusation that will be proven incorrect, and we will use it as evidence of Israel’s malicious intentions," Abdel-Fattah said.

He reiterated that the UN lost more than 150 of its UNRWA employees, most of them Palestinians, in the ongoing war in Gaza.

Furthermore, Abdel-Fattah noted that the UNRWA will be affected by the temporary cut of financial resources and that once the truth becomes clear, it will resume receiving funds. In the meantime, he said, the UN will work to ensure that the Palestinian people are not affected by any cuts.

Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres pleaded on Sunday for donor states to "guarantee the continuity" of support after several of UNRWA's key donor countries have announced that they will temporarily suspend their current or future funding on account of the allegations.

In response to a question about the possibility of using the ICJ ruling to request a ceasefire in the Security Council, Abdel-Fattah explained that following the court's ruling on Friday, the Arab states in the Security Council began intensive consultations with members of the Security Council to discuss ways to implement these measures, especially after the Israeli Prime Minister stubbornly announced that he would not abide by the ruling and will continue the military operations.

Abdel-Fattah added that the Arab group in the Security Council agreed that Algeria would sign a letter, on behalf of the group, requesting an official Security Council session to be held on Wednesday, 31 January, whose main goal will be to continue pressing for an immediate ceasefire as per the ICJ's ruling.

He stated that the Arab group, in cooperation with member states in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, will draft a strong resolution that stipulates a ceasefire. The Arab side will then put this draft resolution to the vote as soon as possible.

Over 26,083 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 64,487 injured since the beginning of Israel's brutal war on the Gaza Strip on 7 October, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

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