3rd day of ICJ hearings: More calls for end to Israel’s illegal de-facto annexation of occupied Palestinian lands

Mohamed Badereldin, Friday 23 Feb 2024

Representatives of Norway, Oman, and Pakistan argued that Israeli occupation was unlawful and unjust on the third day of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion hearings.

Peace Palace
Journalists are seen outside the Peace Palace, housing the United Nations top court, in The Hague, Netherlands. AP


The representatives all stated that Israel had breached commitments made to the international community regarding the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. 

Pakistan: Restore access to Jerusalem Holy Sites

Pakistan's Minister for Law and Justice Ahmed Irfan Aslam emphasized that Israel's prolonged occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967 has violated the status quo in the third holiest site in Islam, which guaranteed freedom of worship in Jerusalem for followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

Speaking on behalf of Pakistan at the International Court of Justice, Aslam stresses the immediate need to restore the rights established under the historic status quo.

"This issue holds immense importance for Pakistan, being home to the second-largest Muslim population in the world," he added.

Aslam highlighted that Christians under Israel's prolonged occupation have been unable to freely access and worship in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, while Muslims have faced restrictions in accessing Haram al-Sharif and the al-Aqsa mosque, among other significant sites.

Furthermore, Aslam argued that Israel's occupation has effectively annexed East Jerusalem and other territories in the West Bank and Gaza.

He refers to statements made by Prime Minister Ben Gurion in 1950, suggesting Israel's intention to expand its empire through invasion and diplomacy.

Aslam echoed the statements made by human rights organizations, asserting that Israeli discriminatory policies towards Palestinians since 1967 amount to apartheid.

Oman:75-Year Occupation and dispossession

Oman's representatives at the ICJ shed light on the suffering endured by Palestinians under Israeli occupation, calling for an immediate end to its illegal presence in Palestinian territories since 1967.

Abdullah bin Salim bin Hamad Al Harthi, Oman's ambassador to The Netherlands, emphasized that Palestinians have endured over 75 years of occupation, oppression, injustice, and daily humiliation at the hands of Israel.

Al Harthi stated that Israel's occupation and settlement policy over the past 75 years have obstructed the establishment of a continuous and viable Palestinian state in a direct violation of international law.

"The 75-year occupation and settlement policy of the state of Israel, impeding the establishment of a continuous, viable Palestinian state, is a blatant disregard for international law," added Al Harthi.

Norway: Palestinian statehood long overdue

Representatives of Norway told the UN high court that Israel had breached commitments made to the international community regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Rolf Einar Fife, Norway's ambassador to the EU, emphasized that Israel is under "clear legal obligations" to actively contribute to the realization of a viable State of Palestine.

Fife pointed out that Israel's occupation of Palestine, including the settlement of approximately 700,000 Israelis in the West Bank, is not compatible with the establishment of a Palestinian state.

He raised concerns about what he described as the occupation's "permanent and irreversible" impact on the prospects of a Palestinian state.

In addition, Kristian Jervell, director general of the legal department of Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Israeli occupation is effectively equivalent to annexation.

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