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ICJ to examine legal implications of continued Israeli occupation: Palestine’s UN envoy

An Israeli soldier pointing his gun at a Palestinian protester in the occupied West Bank. (file photo)

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations says a meeting is scheduled next week with the legal department of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to review the documents required for the Hague-based court’s opinion on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Riyad Mansour said on Sunday that the meeting is the next step after the UN General Assembly’s passing of a resolution earlier this week, which called on the ICJ to give an advisory opinion on the consequences of the Israeli occupation.

“The ICJ will examine the legal implications of the continued Israeli occupation of our land, including the deprivation of our people of their rights, settlement construction, annexation of land and home demolitions by the Israeli occupation,” Palestine’s official WAFA news agency cited Mansour as saying.

The Palestinian envoy also pointed out that an open session of the UN Security Council will be held at the end of the month to discuss the latest developments.

Promoted by Palestinians, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on Friday by a vote of 87 in favor, 26 against, with 53 abstentions. Russia and China voted in favor of the resolution.

Israel, the US and 24 other members, including the United Kingdom and Germany, voted against the resolution, while France was among the 53 nations that abstained.

The vote came a day after the swearing-in of a new far-right Israeli cabinet led by hawkish prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has promised an expansion of illegal settlements and will accelerate “colonial and racist policies” toward Palestinians. 

Zvika Fogel, a far-right lawmaker in the Israeli coalition cabinet, said the occupation of Palestinian territories was permanent at least “as of right now” in response to the UN vote on Friday. 

“As of right now, the occupation is permanent. And as of right now I would like to continue to apply Israeli sovereignty over all the areas that I can,” Fogel said, adding that he supports the Israeli plans to annex the occupied West Bank. 

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

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