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Israel's 'Prolonged Occupation' Violates Palestinians' Right To Self-Determination: Iran Tells UN Court

22.02.2024 14:27

Top UN court in The Hague is hearing arguments on legality of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Iran said Thursday that Israel's prolonged occupation of the Palestinian lands violates the right of Palestinians to self-determination.

Speaking at an International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearing, Reza Najafi, Iran's deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, said a verdict by the top UN court "can set the ground for saving lives of thousands of innocent women and children and contribute to the legitimate demand of a people deprived of its inherent right to self-determination for decades."

Najafi cited reports by the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) that Palestinians in Gaza are "enduring destruction at a scale and speed without parallel in recent history," with children being the worst affected.

The Palestinian people "have never experienced the right to self-determination" and that there are "legal consequences" to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, he said.

The Iranian representative said Israel has "violated, and continues to violate, on several grounds, the Palestinians' right to self-determination."

He listed a series of measures taken by Tel Aviv such as "prolonged occupation," "altering the demographic composition of the occupied territories," "altering the character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem," and "violation of the right of Palestinians to sovereignty over their natural resources."

Iran urged the World Court to remind all UN member states of their "obligations" under international law, including "not to aid or assist" Israel to continue its "prolonged occupation" of Palestine or practices that "violate the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people."

It called for not recognizing the "illegal situation resulting from prolonged occupation" and for effective cooperation "to bring to an end any impediment resulting from the ongoing violation by the Israeli occupying regime of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination."

"The court has an important role to play. Now, the world nations expect the court to render its advisory opinion in a manner that effectively and practically consolidates the rule of law to the detriment of the rule of power, and to bring hope to Palestinians that justice will ultimately prevail," the Iranian representative said.

Public hearings started 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 territories, including East Jerusalem.

South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel to the ICJ in late December and asked it for emergency measures to end Palestinian bloodshed in Gaza, where nearly 29,410 people 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 attack 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 houses around 1.4 million refugees. -

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