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UN court holds hearings on Israel’s occupation of territories captured after 1967 Six-Day War

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority Riyad Al-Maliki (center) outside the International Court of Justice Associated Press/Photo by Peter Dejong

UN court holds hearings on Israel’s occupation of territories captured after 1967 Six-Day War

Palestinian representatives began the six-day hearing on Monday before the United Nations International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of “colonialism and apartheid.” The hearing was originally requested in 2022 to address Israeli presence in areas of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem which began after the 1967 Six-Day War with Arab states. The hearing was not intentionally planned to coincide with the Israel-Hamas war.

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki spoke before the court about Palestinians’ self-determination, alleging that “for decades, the Palestinian people have been denied this right and have endured both colonialism and apartheid.” Al-Maliki also referenced the current fighting in Gaza when demanding the court rule “that the Israeli occupation is illegal and must end immediately, totally and unconditionally.”

How is Israel responding? The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it does not recognize the legitimacy of the proceedings in a statement released on Monday. It describes the hearing as “an effort designed to infringe on Israel's right to defend itself against existential threats.”

What will be happening during the next week of hearings? Representatives from over 50 countries will testify during the hearings, which are scheduled to conclude on Feb. 26. Nearly a dozen Middle Eastern countries, along with world powers like the United Kingdom, China, and Russia, are expected to provide testimony. Representatives from half a dozen North and South American countries will also testify throughout the week, with a representative for the United States scheduled to address the court on Wednesday.

When will the case be decided? The court is expected to take months to decide a ruling, with no official decision date scheduled.

Didn’t the ICJ already hear a case between Israel and Palestine? The court heard a separate case last month relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict. South Africa accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza, which Israel denied. The court delivered a preliminary decision instructing Israel to prevent the incitement of genocide against Palestinians while ensuring that humanitarian aid may enter Gaza.

Dig deeper: Read Jill Nelson’s interview in WORLD Magazine with a Jerusalem pastor about Islam and the mission of the Church.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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