Skip to main content

ICJ starts hearing arguments on Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories

Israel has decided not to participate at the hearing, arguing the court has no authority on an issue to be discussed diplomatically between the sides.
The logo of the International Court of Justice is seen next to Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority Riyad al-Maliki (R) and members of his delegation, as they listen at the start of a hearing on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, The Hague, Netherlands, Feb. 19, 2024.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague opened on Monday a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, with representatives of the Palestinian Authority addressing the court. 

Some 52 countries and three international organizations are set to address the ICJ judges. Israel is not actively participating in the hearings and has sent to The Hague only a small judicial experts’ team to observe the process. On Tuesday, South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Belgium are set to address the court. 

The hearings, scheduled to last from Feb. 19 to Feb. 26, follow a December 2022 request by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to the ICJ for an advisory, nonbinding opinion on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. A first round of submissions took place in July 2023, with several countries handing over to the court written documents on the issue. Israel handed over at the time arguments against the competence of the ICJ on the matter. Then, in October, countries were allowed to hand in comments and responses on the arguments presented earlier. The advisory opinion would probably be published by the end of 2024, according to Roy Schondorf of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IJL).

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki addressed the court first. “I stand before you as 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of them children, are besieged and bombed, killed and maimed, starved and displaced,” he said. The minister then spoke not only about Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, but also those living in Israel, stating that “1.7 million Palestinians in Israel are treated as second-class citizens … in their ancestral land.” 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.