Final day of ICJ hearing: OIC says two-state solution in Palestine imperative to regional peace

The ICJ is holding hearings all week on the legal implications of Israel's occupation since 1967, with an unprecedented 52 countries, including the US and Russia, giving evidence. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 February 2024
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Final day of ICJ hearing: OIC says two-state solution in Palestine imperative to regional peace

  • Turkiye, Arab League, and the African Union also delivered arguments on final day of hearings
  • Overwhelming condemnation of Israel’s actions at World Court

THE HAGUE: Representatives of Turkiye, the Arab League, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the African Union presented arguments on Monday, on the final day of proceedings at the UN’s highest court, on the legality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Over one week, the judges of the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, heard arguments from more than 50 states and three international organizations following a request by the UN General Assembly in 2022 for the court to issue a non-binding opinion on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation.

Gaza genocide is the essence of decades-long tragedy: African Union

African Union representative, Hajer Gueldich, told the ICJ that the “unspeakable suffering and horror inflicted on the population of Gaza” is the essence of the Palestinian tragedy for over a century.

She called Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza as “nothing but a shameful attempt to create another Nakba, a further catastrophe destined to erasing the Palestinian presence in Palestine.”

“The history of Palestine is a history of dispossession, displacement, and dehumanization. It’s a history of injustice.”

She said the ongoing Israeli aggression against Gaza demonstrates the tragedy of the Palestinians who have been “systematically subjugated and oppressed by the Israeli colonial project” for over seven decades.

The advisory proceeding, she noted, presents an opportunity to hold Israel accountable for attacks, put an immediate end to Israel’s “impunity” and uphold international humanitarian law.

OIC says two-state solution imperative to regional peace

Hussein Ibrahim Taha, Secretary General of the OIC, said “a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution in Palestine is only way to ensure security and stability of all people in the region and protect them from the cycle of violence.”

He urged countries to cease exporting arms and ammunition to Israel as “the army and settlers are using them against the Palestinian people” and called on the ICJ to condemn the accelerated colonization of East Jerusalem and the Israeli attacks against the Islamic and Christian holy places.

Taha reiterated the organization’s condemnation of Israel’s attack on Gaza, which killed about 30,000 Palestinians and injured thousands more, as well as the escalated violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

He also deplored the inability of the Security Council “to uphold international law to end the spiral violence and render justice to the Palestinian people.”

Arab League says Gaza genocide is result of failure to end prolonged occupation

Abdulhakeem Al Rifai, representative of the Arab League, said failure to end the prolonged Israeli occupation of Palestine “has led to the current horrors perpetrated against the Palestinians [in Gaza] amounting to genocide.”

He said the occupation is an “affront to international justice.”

“There can be no moral or juridical justification for occupying lands, killing, terrorizing, and displacing their populations.”

He called Israel the “last oppressive, expansionist apartheid settler colonial occupation still standing in the 21st century”, urging the ICJ to confirm the illegality of Israel’s occupation and “unambiguously rule on legal consequences for all parties especially those who turn a blind eye, facilitate, assist or participate in any way in perpetrating this illegal situation.”

“Only the rule of law not the prevailing law of the jungle will pave the way to peace in the region,” he said.

“Ending the occupation is the gateway to peaceful coexistence”.

He noted that the insistence of placing Israel above the law through the politicization of accountability and adopting double standards were “a direct threat to international peace and stability.”

Turkiye warns of danger of leaving Israel ‘unaccountable’

Ahmet Yıldız, the deputy foreign minister, told warned the UN top court of the risks of leaving Israel’s ‘indiscriminate attacks’ on Palestinian civilians in Gaza unaccountable.

“As the injustices and double standards that the Palestinians have been subjected to for decades continue, reactions from people in the region and beyond will multiply. In other words, we must hold accountable before the law those responsible for their attacks on civilians otherwise such outrageous behavior might be emulated elsewhere in the future.”

He condemned Israel’s plans to limit access of Muslim worshipers in Al Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, noting that the rhetoric repeated by Israeli ministers “is worrisome.”

Yıldız reiterated Turkiye’s calls for the international community to address the root cause of Palestine-Israel war as the only method to bring regional peace.

He argued that the conflict did not start from Oct. 7, and wasn’t “about a certain Palestinian faction or group. The conflict dates back to an earlier century.”

He added: “The real obstacle to peace Is obvious – the deepening occupation by Israel of Palestinian territories and failure to implement the two-state solution.”

Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7 has killed almost 30,000 Palestinians, most of them are woman and children, and placed 2.3 million people under full blockade by Israel. More than 2 million Palestinians have been forcibly displaced.

“Israel’s attacks have turned into collective punishment,” said Yıldız.

“The lack of political interest among the international community to address root causes of the conflict created a strong sense of injustice among the Palestinians and, in general, among international community.”

He accused the UN Security council, which, he said, has the primary responsibility for maintaining international order and security, of failing to bring solution in Gaza.

On the first day of hearings on Monday, Feb 19, Palestine’s representatives asked the judges to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal and said its opinion could help create conditions for agreement on a two-state solution.

Most nations have been critical of Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories, with many urging the court to declare the occupation illegal.

However, the US has stood by its ally, arguing against immediate and unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territory.

Israel, which is not taking part, said in written comments that the court’s involvement could be harmful to achieving a negotiated settlement.

The hearings are part of a Palestinian push to get international legal institutions to examine Israel’s conduct, which has become more urgent since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, which triggered a military response that has since killed about 29,600 Palestinians.

The ICJ’s 15-judge panel has been asked to review Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation ... including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

The judges are expected to take about six months to issue their opinion on the request.


Iran to hold presidential election on June 28: state media

Updated 5 sec ago
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Iran to hold presidential election on June 28: state media

The election calendar was approved at the meeting of the heads of the judiciary, government, and parliament

TEHRAN: Iran announced Monday it will hold presidential elections on June 28, state media reported, following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage in a helicopter crash.
“The election calendar was approved at the meeting of the heads of the judiciary, government, and parliament,” state television said.
“According to the initial agreement of the Guardian Council, it was decided that the 14th presidential election will be held on June 28.”

US says Houthis fired ballistic missile over Gulf of Aden

Updated 20 May 2024
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US says Houthis fired ballistic missile over Gulf of Aden

  • “This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners,” CENTCOM said
  • The Houthis did not claim credit for any fresh assaults on Monday, but they regularly do days later

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthi militia launched a ballistic missile over the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, the US military said.
This comes as the Houthis intensified attacks on Yemeni government soldiers around the country.
The US military said in a statement on Monday morning Yemen time that at about 9:35 p.m. (Sanaa time) on Sunday, the Houthis launched one anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen over the Gulf of Aden, but neither the US-led coalition nor international commercial ships reported being hit by the missile.
“This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” CENTCOM said.
The Houthis did not claim credit for any fresh assaults on Monday, but they regularly do days later.
The Houthis’ newest missile launch is part of an escalation of missile and drone strikes against commercial and navy ships in international seas near Yemen as well as in the Indian Ocean, which the Houthis claim are in support of Palestine.
The Houthis attacked dozens of ships with hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones and drone boats during their campaign against ships, which started in November.
They also took control of one commercial ship and destroyed another.
The US military said on Saturday that a Greek-owned and operated oil tanker heading toward China in the Red Sea, flying the flag of Panama, barely avoided being struck by a ballistic missile launched by the Houthis.
Meanwhile, four Yemeni government troops were killed on Monday while battling the Houthis in the province of Taiz, bringing the total number of soldiers killed in Houthi attacks to 11 in less than a week.
Local media said that the government’s Nation’s Shield Forces engaged in heavy fighting with the Houthis in the Hayfan area, on the border between Taiz and Lahj provinces, that left four of its soldiers dead.
On Saturday, a soldier from the same Yemeni military unit was killed and another injured while defending their position in Haydan against a Houthi onslaught.
Six more Yemeni soldiers from the government’s Giants Brigades were killed on Saturday in fighting with the Houthis in the Al-Abadia region of Marib’s central province.
On Monday, the Houthis held a military burial procession in Sanaa for two of their troops killed while battling with Yemeni government forces.
The Houthis have organized similar funerals for hundreds of fighters who have died on the front lines ever since the UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect in April 2022.
At the same time, official media said that Yemen’s Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohsen Al-Daeri met the UN Yemen envoy’s military adviser, General Antony Hayward, in Aden on Sunday to discuss Houthi attacks on government troops across the country, peace efforts to end the war, and the smuggling of Iranian weapons to the Houthis.
Al-Daeri said that the Houthis had breached agreements with the Yemeni government and would continue to pose a danger to international maritime lines as long as they controlled Yemeni territory on the Red Sea.
He also accused Iran of continuing to supply weapons and military officers to the Houthis through direct journeys from Iran’s Bandar Abbas port to the Houthi-controlled Hodeidah port.
On Monday, UN experts, including Nazila Ghanea, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, urged the Houthis to release five members of the Bahai religious minority and to stop persecuting religious minorities in regions they control.
“We urge the de facto authorities to release these five individuals immediately and refrain from any further action that may jeopardize their physical and psychological integrity,” the experts said.
Armed Houthis abducted 17 Bahais, including five women, after bursting into a meeting in Sanaa a year ago, and they have refused to release them despite local and international requests.
According to the UN experts, the Houthis released 12 Bahais under “very strict conditions” after signing a written pledge not to communicate with other sect members, avoid religious activities and not leave cities without permission, and that the Houthis continue to hold five who are at risk of mistreatment by their captors.
“We are concerned that they continue to be at serious risk of torture and other human rights violations, including acts tantamount to enforced disappearance,” the UN experts said.


Egypt mourns death of Iran’s president

A person walks past a banner with a picture of the late Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on a street in Tehran, Iran May 20, 2024.
Updated 20 May 2024
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Egypt mourns death of Iran’s president

  • The Egyptian president expressed Egypt’s solidarity with the leadership and people of Iran during this tragic time

CAIRO: Egypt mourned the deaths of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Egypt’s presidency said in a statement: “It is with deep grief and sorrow that the Arab Republic of Egypt mourns the death of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and their escorts on Sunday in a tragic crash.

“President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi extends his sincere condolences to the people of Iran, asking Allah to envelop President Raisi and the deceased with his mercy and grant solace and comfort to their families.”

The Egyptian president expressed Egypt’s solidarity with the leadership and people of Iran during this tragic time.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry extended his condolences to the Iranian government and people over the deaths of Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian, according to ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.

A helicopter carrying Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and several other officials crashed in mountainous terrain in the country’s northwest on Sunday. On Monday, Tehran announced the deaths of Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and their accompanying delegation in the crash.

 


Israel calls ICC prosecutor’s bid for PM arrest warrant a ‘historical disgrace’

Updated 20 May 2024
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Israel calls ICC prosecutor’s bid for PM arrest warrant a ‘historical disgrace’

  • Katz denounced the move as a “scandalous decision” that amounted to “a frontal attack... on the victims of October 7“
  • The minister added that Israel would establish a special committee to fight the ICC prosecutor’s efforts to secure a warrant

JERUSALEM: Israel on Monday slammed as a “historical disgrace” an application by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The prosecutor, Karim Khan, applied for arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as well as top Hamas leaders on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that Khan “in the same breath mentions the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense of the State of Israel alongside the abominable Nazi monsters of Hamas — a historical disgrace that will be remembered forever.”
The prosecutor said he was seeking warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant for crimes including “wilful killing,” “extermination and/or murder” and “starvation.”
Katz denounced the move as a “scandalous decision” that amounted to “a frontal attack... on the victims of October 7” when Hamas launched their attack on Israel, sparking the Gaza war.
The minister added that Israel would establish a special committee to fight the ICC prosecutor’s efforts to secure a warrant, and also embark on a diplomatic push against it.
Katz said he planned to “speak with foreign ministers in leading countries of the world so that they oppose the prosecutor’s decision and announce that, even if orders are issued, they do not intend to enforce them on the leaders of the State of Israel.”


35,562 Palestinians killed in Gaza offensive since Oct. 7 — health ministry

Updated 20 May 2024
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35,562 Palestinians killed in Gaza offensive since Oct. 7 — health ministry

  • 106 Palestinians were killed and 176 injured in the past 24 hours

DUBAI: More than 35,562 Palestinians have been killed and 79,652 injured in the Israeli military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Monday.
One hundred and six Palestinians were killed and 176 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry added.