The International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced yesterday that it will be proceeding with the investigation of the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories. A deadline of 25 July has been set for written submissions by state bodies and organisations on the question of Israel’s occupation.
A second deadline of October is for comments on those submissions. The court confirmed that the rest of the timeline has yet to be determined.
The announcement comes after the ICJ received a request from the UN General Assembly last month to provide an advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The Hague-based ICJ is the top UN court dealing with disputes between states. Its rulings are binding, but it has no power to enforce them.
In a move condemned by Israel and welcomed by Palestinians, the General Assembly request covers 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 UN resolution also asks the ICJ to advise on how those policies and practices “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what legal consequences arise for all countries and the UN from this status.
Predictably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the request for an ICJ opinion a “despicable decision”.