U.S. Defends Israel at UN Court Hearing on Occupation: Live Updates

The United States defended Israel at the United Nations’ highest court docket on Wednesday, arguing that requires the nation to withdraw from the Palestinian territories fail to consider its “very real security needs.”

Richard C. Visek, the appearing authorized adviser at the U.S. State Department, instructed a 15-judge panel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, that solely a two-state resolution might result in lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The court docket is listening to six days of arguments over Israel’s occupation of Palestinian-majority territories, together with the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which has been the topic of years of debates and resolutions at the United Nations. The hearings — involving greater than 50 nations, a degree of participation by no means earlier than seen at the court docket — had been known as lengthy earlier than Israel went to struggle towards Hamas in Gaza, however have change into a part of a concerted world effort to cease the battle and study the legality of Israel’s insurance policies towards the Palestinians.

Israel has stated it could not take part within the hearings, and despatched a letter to the court docket final 12 months arguing that the main focus of the proceedings didn’t “recognize Israel’s right and duty to protect its citizens” or its proper to safety.

The United States has strongly defended Israel throughout the struggle, together with on Tuesday, when it solid the lone veto towards a U.N. Security Council decision that known as for a right away cease-fire, saying it could disrupt efforts to free hostages held in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Mr. Visek asked the court docket to uphold the “established framework” for a two-state resolution that he stated U.N. our bodies have agreed to — one that’s contingent on a “broader end to belligerence” towards Israel — fairly than heed calls by different nations for Israel’s “unilateral and unconditional withdrawal” from occupied territories.

The Oct. 7 assaults on Israel had been a reminder of the safety threats dealing with Israel, Mr. Visek stated, “and they persist.”

The court docket, which usually hears staid disputes amongst nations, has recently change into a venue for nations to oppose Israel. Last month, South Africa argued at the court docket that Israel was committing genocide towards Palestinians in Gaza — a cost strongly rejected by Israel. The judges haven’t dominated on that declare, however issued an interim order for Israel to take steps to forestall genocide in Gaza, giving it till subsequent week to report again on how it’s doing so.

On Tuesday, South Africa forcefully condemned Israel’s insurance policies towards Palestinians, calling them “a more extreme form of apartheid,” the race-based system of legal guidelines that disadvantaged Black South Africans for many years. Palestinians “continue to be subjected to discriminating land zoning and planning policies, to punitive house demolitions and violent incursions into their villages, towns and cities,” South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusi Madonsela, instructed the court docket.

Israel has lengthy rejected accusations that it operates an apartheid system, calling such allegations a slur and pointing to what it says is a historical past of being singled out for condemnation by U.N. our bodies and tribunals.

The United States has remained Israel’s staunchest defender internationally. But the Biden administration, beneath rising pressure from elements of the Democratic Party, has additionally proven indicators of impatience with Israel’s conduct of the struggle, the rising toll in Gaza and the plight of Palestinians beneath Israeli occupation. Gazan health officers say that greater than 29,000 folks have been killed in Israel’s airstrikes and floor invasion of Gaza, making it by far the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian battle since Israel’s founding in 1945.

President Biden this month stated that Israel’s navy response in Gaza — which started after Hamas’s Oct. 7 assaults killed 1,200 folks, Israeli officers say — had been “over the top” and that the immense civilian struggling had “got to stop.” The remarks got here days after Mr. Biden imposed broad monetary sanctions towards 4 Israeli males over violent assaults towards Palestinians within the West Bank.

After the hearings, that are scheduled to conclude on Monday, the court docket will give an advisory opinion, a choice that’s anticipated to take a number of months. The opinion shall be nonbinding.

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