The Worldwide Court docket of Justice will start hearings on Monday in a case in opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, barely a month after it issued a collection of directions to Tel Aviv in a separate case the place it’s accused of genocidal acts within the Gaza Strip.

In a first-of-its-kind case, a minimum of 52 international locations will current arguments on controversial Israeli insurance policies within the West Financial institution, the Gaza Strip and occupied East Jerusalem. It’s the biggest variety of events to take part in any single ICJ case for the reason that courtroom was established in 1945.

Israeli authorities, since 1967, have illegally occupied the West Financial institution and East Jerusalem – a part of Palestine underneath the United Nations-determined division of historic Palestine in 1948 –  working a system that restricts the citizenship rights of Palestinians, hampers their free motion and strips them of ancestral lands. Between 1967 and 2005, Israel additionally instantly occupied Gaza, and since 2007, has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the coastal enclave. It decides what meals, water, medicines, gasoline, development materials and different commodities can go into Gaza, and stops their stream when it desires.

Even because the warfare on Gaza is now in its fifth month, Palestinians within the West Financial institution have come underneath elevated assaults from Israeli forces, with lots of of individuals killed.

In a press release final week, the ICJ mentioned oral arguments within the case would final for a few week, throughout which all international locations, in addition to three worldwide organisations, are anticipated to state why they assist or oppose Israel’s measures. Tel Aviv has declined to current, selecting to submit a written argument as a substitute. A courtroom ruling is probably going in a number of months.

Right here’s all you should know in regards to the case:

Who introduced the case in opposition to Israel?

The case was triggered by a request from the UN Common Meeting (UNGA) on December 30, 2022, when a majority of members voted to seek the court’s opinion on the authorized penalties of the persevering with Israeli occupation of Palestine. Arab international locations, Russia and China voted in favour of the transfer, whereas Israel, the US, Germany and 24 others voted in opposition to it.

Through the Six-Day Conflict in 1967, Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Financial institution, which had been previously underneath Jordanian management, and with an Arab-majority inhabitants. Most international locations and the UN nonetheless view occupied East Jerusalem because the capital of a future Palestinian state, and regard Israel’s occupation as unlawful underneath worldwide regulation.

In a protracted missive to the ICJ, signed by UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres, the UNGA requested judges to reply questions on how the rights of Palestinans are being affected by the occupation and persevering with makes an attempt to displace them, in addition to what the obligations of the UN and its member states had been within the face of these violations.

“What are the authorized penalties … from the continued violation by Israel of the suitable of the Palestinian folks to self-determination, from its extended occupation, settlement and annexation … geared toward altering the demographic composition, character and standing of the Holy Metropolis of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of associated discriminatory laws and measures?” the UNGA missive requested.

The UNGA requested the courtroom to reply these questions utilizing a mixture of worldwide humanitarian legal guidelines, in addition to the Constitution of the United Nations and numerous UN resolutions. In line with Human Rights Watch, Israel’s insurance policies within the occupied territories quantity to apartheid and persecution, each crimes in opposition to humanity.

The Hague-based courtroom hears and adjudicates on issues between states, and it’s the second time it is going to weigh in on Israel’s unlawful occupation. In 2004, the ICJ dominated that Israel’s ‘barrier wall’ within the West Financial institution that separates many Palestinian households, is against the law and must be dismantled. Nevertheless, Israel rejected the ruling, and has since extended the wall.

What international locations will take part?

The oral hearings will final from Monday, February 19, till Monday, February 26.

A complete of 52 international locations – about 10 a day – will current their arguments to ICJ judges by means of the week. A majority of them initially voted in favour of the UN resolution to method the ICJ. A couple of, like Canada, voted in opposition to, whereas Switzerland abstained from the vote.

Authorized groups representing the State of Palestine will kickstart the hearings on Monday. On Tuesday, South African and Canadian groups shall be among the many audio system. The US, China and Russia will take the ground between Wednesday and Thursday, whereas the Maldives will wrap up the ultimate presentation.

Three multilateral organisations will even make their circumstances within the proceedings: the League of Arab States, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union.

So that is totally different from South Africa’s ICJ case in opposition to Israel?

It’s. This case is separate from one other ICJ case by South Africa on December 29 that alleges that Israel is committing the crime of genocide in Gaza in its persevering with warfare on the Strip.

In a preliminary ruling in that case, the courtroom ordered Israel to stop and punish incitement to genocide, and to offer wanted humanitarian help by February 26.

The case whose hearings begin on Monday, shouldn’t be linked on to the present warfare that Israel is waging on Gaza, although it pertains to lots of the issues of worldwide regulation violation that bind Tel Aviv’s method to all Palestinian territories.

What would possibly the courtroom’s ruling be?

The ICJ consists of 15 judges from totally different components of the world, elected by the UNGA for nine-year phrases. Justice Nawaf Salam of Lebanon presently leads as president.

Judges will hearken to the intensive shows and publish a written opinion afterwards. It’s unclear when the opinion shall be launched, however the ICJ’s processes are painstaking and normally take time. Some regulation specialists say the opinion would possibly floor earlier than the top of the yr.

It’s onerous to foretell what the courtroom would possibly opine precisely on this case, and even how the opinion could be worded. The ICJ has dominated in opposition to Israel prior to now, similar to over the West Financial institution wall in 2004, and the latest provisional measures ruling in January that many specialists say Israel can solely adhere to by successfully ending its warfare on Gaza.

When it does floor although, the courtroom opinion is not going to be binding on the Safety Council or Israel, that means they don’t should be enforced. Nevertheless, specialists say an opinion from the ICJ carries heavy weight and will add extra strain on Israel and its staunchest ally, the US, to evolve to worldwide regulation.

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