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EDITORIAL: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) started hearing on Monday the UN General Assembly’s December 2022 request, seeking its advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

It is to examine the “prolonged occupation, settlements and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since the 1967 war and the measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.”

The court’s opinion in this case would not be binding though in most instances it is acted upon, like it was on the legality of Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia and apartheid South Africa’s occupation of Namibia.

The on the ground situation since has changed drastically with Israel’s ongoing military campaign in the Gaza Strip that has displaced 85 percent of its population and killed nearly 30,000 people—most of them women and children. Its soldiers along with armed settlers have also shot dead hundreds of others during ceaseless raids on Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank.

The ICJ has been hearing another case brought to it by South Africa evoking the Genocide Convention. Although the proceedings are likely to take several years to conclude, in its preliminary ruling issued last month the top UN court had ordered Israel, referring to the statements of the country’s president and defence ministry, to “prevent and punish public incitement to genocide”, and take immediate and effective measures to address what it described as a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

Although it has no enforcement mechanism, the court’s ruling, as opposed to ‘advice’, is binding on member states. Unsurprisingly, however, Israel ignored it, buoyed by the US’ military, financial, and diplomatic support and the absurd logic of ‘exceptionalism’ Washington routinely employs for its own and the Jewish state’s violations of international law.

As a result, distraught Gazans are being mercilessly bombed to force them out of their ancestral lands as part of a plan to push them into Egypt and usurp more Palestinian territory.

Adding his voice to growing concerns expressed by UN officials, international humanitarian organisations as well as peoples across the world, Brazilian president Luiz Lula da Silva averred on Sunday in Adis Ababa, where he had gone to attend an African Union Summit, “what is happening in the Gaza Strip is not a war, it is genocide”. It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers, he explained, “it’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children.”

Yet the US-led Western countries justify Israel’s unspeakable crimes in Gaza pointing to the October 7 Hamas incursion into Israel to claim Israel has right to defence. Defence against what? Occupation?

There is a highly plausible context to what happened in October. The stated objective of what is going on in Gaza is to decimate Hamas. It along with other Palestinian resistance organisations can lose its reason to be if and when the occupation ends. The real intention is to fulfil the Jewish state’s military aims while paying lip-service to the long dead two-state solution.

The US is also working on an alternative strategy to reinforce the settler-colonial project by replacing Hamas’ rule in Gaza with that of a weak and compliant Palestinian Authority. That won’t stop Palestinians from fighting for their just rights. The Jewish state cannot take another people’s land and have peace, too.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Re=== Feb 24, 2024 04:58pm
How about Pakistani rights for the stolen elections. Any bravado there?
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