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Israel Must Ensure Palestinians' Economic, Social, Cultural Rights, Switzerland Tells Top UN Court

23.02.2024 21:27

Palestinians have right to self determination for peaceful living, Swiss delegation head says in oral statements during advisory proceedings in The Hague.

Israel, as an occupier, "must immediately" ensure the minimum enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights, the Swiss delegation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said on Friday.

Franz Perrez, who presented Switzerland's oral statements in the advisory proceedings on the Legal Consequences of Israel's Policies and Practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, said the absence of a realization of human rights is an issue of concern.

Touching on legal challenges posed by prolonged occupation, he focused on the specific issues linked to the prolonged occupation from the perspectives of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

"Israel has legitimate security concerns, but (it) also has an obligation to comply with international law," Perrez said, adding that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination in order to live peacefully.

He said both sides must respect international law and that a fair and long-term solution can only be achieved through the implementation of international law.

Perrez also addressed the situation in the Occupied West Bank, emphasizing that Israel, as an occupying power, must protect the civilian Palestinian population.

"The violence exercised by individuals such as settlers towards the population of the occupied Palestinian territory must also be investigated," he stressed.

Israel has been carrying out an aggressive crackdown on the West Bank since the conflict began on Oct. 7. Israeli army gunfire in the occupied territory has resulted in at least 400 Palestinian deaths and 4,500 injuries, according to the Health Ministry.

UK requests ICJ to decline issuing advisory opinion

The UK delegation, for its part, requested that the UN court decide against providing an advisory opinion.UK's representative Sally Langrish said during the public hearings at The Hague that the resolution of the dispute requires the implementation of Security Council resolutions.

"This in turn requires a negotiated solution to the outstanding problems and the establishment of a Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel."

Reiterating the UK's position, she noted that a "negotiated two-state solution" is the only way in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved.

The Palestinians hope to establish an independent state of their own in the Gaza Strip and West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Netanyahu has been adamant in his opposition to a two-state solution, despite the international community advocating it as the only viable path forward.

Case brought to ICJ

The public hearings started on Monday in The Hague following the UN General Assembly's request for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

More than 50 countries are presenting their arguments.

South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel to the ICJ in late December and asked it for emergency measures to end the bloodshed in Gaza, where more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7.

The court in January ordered Israel to take "all measures within its power" to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza but fell short of ordering a cease-fire.

It also ordered Israel to take "immediate and effective" measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip.

A cross-border incursion by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on Oct. 7 killed an estimated 1,200 people, but the ensuing Israeli offensive into Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Despite international outcry, Israel now plans a ground invasion of Rafah, which holds around 1.4 million refugees.

For the first time since its establishment in 1948, Israel is currently being tried before the ICJ, the highest judicial body in the UN, on charges of committing the crime of "genocide" against Palestinians in Gaza. -

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