The Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice has told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s occupation of Palestine is illegal and must be brought to an end immediately.

Delivering an advisory opinion at the ICJ in The Hague on Wednesday on the legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, Dawda Jallow said unless the Israeli occupation is brought to an end, Palestinians will not be guaranteed the dignities and rights enshrined for all in the UN Charter.

He said the international system is based on certain fundamental principles of law, which include the peremptory norms of international law.

He said these norms include the prohibition of aggression, genocide, apartheid, and the right to self-determination. 

He argued: “If a particular action of a state violates one or more [of these] norms, that action is illegal under international law. Any state may invoke the responsibility of that state for such a violation and seek an immediate end to it. This is, fundamentally, the situation regarding Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. The international community, collectively over many years, has found Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories to be illegal, among other reasons, on account of its violation of multiple norms. And collectively we have invoked Israel’s responsibility in that regard to end the occupation…

“…Israel’s occupation violates the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and is therefore illegal… The court has before it extensive and uncontested fact-finding by multiple UN mandate holders, including the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the many reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. These reports have been produced by independent UN mandate holders who engaged in extensive fact-finding utilising multiple sources of evidence. The court should accept these reports as conclusive and convincing evidence of Israel’s long-standing, ongoing, and indefinite infringement on the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people.

“Indeed, there is no end in sight to Israel’s occupation. Already extending over 56 years, Israel’s current leadership boasts with pride its long-standing efforts to prevent the creation of an independent Palestinian State.  As reported by the UN Special Rapporteur, Israel’s ‘occupation violates Palestinians’ ability to organise themselves as a people, free from alien domination and control’.

“No derogation is permitted from respecting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. There is no escaping the conclusion that Israel’s occupation is illegal for violating the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and that it must expeditiously be brought to an end.

“Second, Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories is also illegal because it amounts to a regime of apartheid, the prohibition of which is a peremptory norm of international law.  This Court has described apartheid as a “flagrant violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter”.

He concluded by saying The Gambia wants the court to find that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is illegal and that Israel with all other states, and the UN are under an obligation to bring about an end to Israel’s occupation immediately, or at least as rapidly as possible. 

Source: The Standard  

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