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Despite over 30,000 deaths, US opposes Israeli forces' withdrawal from Gaza in ICJ

Despite over 30,000 deaths, US opposes Israeli forces withdrawal from Gaza in ICJ

As the Gaza siege has entered its third month, resulting in widespread destruction and the loss of over 30,000 lives, mostly women and children, the US, a staunch supporter of Israel's crimes against Palestinians, has now appealed to the international court against an order for Israel’s immediate withdrawal of its forces from the besieged Gaza.

The hearings, first requested by the UN General Assembly in 2022, aim to establish the legal status of the occupied territories and explore the implications for the international community's approach to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Richard Visek, the acting legal adviser for the US State Department, argued before the ICJ judges that any movement towards Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza must take into account Israel's legitimate security needs.

The US position underscores the delicate balance the court must strike between addressing the concerns of the Israeli government and the international community's push for a resolution to the conflict.

More than 50 states are set to present their stances during the hearings, highlighting the isolation of Israel's few supporters. The recent UN Security Council hearing, where the US stood alone in voting against a draft ceasefire resolution, further emphasized the geopolitical challenges faced by Israel's defenders.

The UK abstained from the vote, aligning itself with the US stance. These dynamics are expected to persist at the ICJ hearings, where the US and the UK may find themselves virtually alone in advocating for restraint in the court's ruling on Israel's occupation.

The ICJ's opinion, expected by the summer, could have significant political and legal ramifications if it deems the occupation illegal. Such a ruling might impact governments attempting to ban boycott campaigns targeting products made in the occupied territories and could increase the geopolitical costs for the US and the UK in defending Israel on the world stage.

Visek, in presenting the US argument, emphasized that the path to a peaceful resolution lies in negotiations, echoing sentiments expressed by both the UN Security Council and the General Assembly. He suggested that an enduring peace would require progress on both the exchange of land for peace, a fundamental principle in conflict resolution. The US is not dismissing the ICJ's potential role but is urging the court to carefully calibrate its advice, considering the eventual need for a negotiated solution.

However, most other states presenting submissions during the hearings argue the opposite. They contend that the absence of negotiations, coupled with the Israeli government's adamant opposition to a Palestinian state, necessitates a decisive intervention from the ICJ. Adil Haque, a professor at Rutgers Law School, noted that the central dispute revolves around the prudence of the court advising on certain questions when negotiations appear stalled.

Many states, according to Haque, have questioned the feasibility of negotiations given the Israeli government's reluctance to engage in a process leading to a viable solution. He argued for the ICJ to play a constructive role in defining the legal parameters for any potential negotiated settlement. Haque emphasized the court's ability to inform the parties of their legal rights, providing a foundation for negotiation based on a clear legal baseline.

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TAGS:Israel Palestine Conflict
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