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10 countries approach ICJ against Israel’s occupation of Palestine

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague continued its public hearings on the legal consequences arising from Israel’s policies and practices in the…

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague continued its public hearings on the legal consequences arising from Israel’s policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

The top UN court had begun hearings into the legality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, on Monday.

However, the hearings are unrelated to the current war in Gaza and follow a 2022 request by the UN Security Council.

A record 52 countries were asked to give oral statements in a signal of the political importance of the hearings. The ICJ will then issue an advisory opinion that is not binding.

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Palestinian state-run news agency – Wafa reports that on Tuesday, South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, and Chile presented their legal briefings before the court.

However, 10 countries were isolated on Wednesday to present their legal arguments at the ICJ concerning South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, underscoring its unlawful occupation of Gaza.

The countries are Colombia, Cuba, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Russia, France, the Gambia, Guyana, and Hungary.

The public sessions will continue for six days, between February 19 and 26, to listen to briefings from 52 countries, in addition to the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the League of Arab States. 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the humanitarian situation in Gaza is inhumane, describing the Palestinian territory as a “death zone”.

“The health and humanitarian situation in Gaza are inhumane and continues to deteriorate,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a media briefing, adding, “On a broader level, Gaza has become a death zone.”

Also, the United Nations said most Palestinians in Gaza lack access to clean drinking water.

“Urgent action is needed to address the public health catastrophe unfolding in the Gaza Strip,” said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, echoing calls from humanitarian workers.

Just one of the three pipelines that fed water to Gaza from Israel remains functional and is operating at under half of its intended capacity, according to the UN.

In another development, Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said the government has prepared the “necessary procedures” to close the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

This came during a session held by the National Security Committee in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to discuss a bill allowing Karhi “to order the closure of a media outlet if it is found as harming national security.”

“We prepared the necessary procedure for the closure of Al Jazeera. There are other issues that we might need to address,” he said.

 

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