‘Israel has been allowed not to care about int’l law’ — Safadi at ICJ hearing

‘The occupation is revealing its bloodthirsty and inhuman evils’

safadi ICJ
(Photos: Twitter/X)
AMMAN — On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi led the delegation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which is set to present the Kingdom's oral pleading before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the advisory opinion requested by the United Nations General Assembly from the Court under Resolution No. 77/247, issued on December 30, 2022, regarding "Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem."اضافة اعلان

Safadi commenced the Kingdom's oral pleading, reading the following:"In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Mr. President, Members of the Court, I stand before you today as the Israeli occupation reveals its bloodthirsty and inhuman evils. The Israeli aggression on Gaza, which your esteemed court deemed meriting investigation for genocide, has claimed thousands of lives and destroyed the lives of over two million three hundred thousand Palestinians who were oppressed by the occupation before it began. Half a million Palestinians are classified as being in the fifth stage of the Integrated Food Security Classification, i.e., in the worst stages of famine. They outnumber all the people facing this famine in the whole world. In Gaza, Palestinians die as a result of Israeli aggression, and they die of hunger due to the lack of food and medicine that Israel continues to deny Gaza, in violation of international humanitarian law and defiance of the interim measures ordered by your court. This aggression must end, and it must end immediately. Its perpetrators must face justice. No state can be above the law. Yet Israel does not care, and it has been allowed not to care about international law. This state of affairs cannot continue. The occupation is illegal. The occupation is inhumane. The occupation must end.

Israel has not ceased its systematic work to entrench the occupation. It denies the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Its unilateral actions impose new facts on the ground and kill the chances for peace. Settlements, illegal under international law, continue to grow in number and penetrate deeper into the occupied Palestinian land. The number of settlers has risen from 280,000 in 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed, to 700,000 today, an increase of over 150 percent. Settler terrorism, a monstrous evil, is on the rise, with its victims being innocent Palestinians and their homes and assets.

As the occupying power, Israel is obligated to protect civilians, preserve the historical and cultural heritage in Palestine, and refrain from imposing demographic changes. But Israel violates these commitments. Israel imposes demographic change in the occupied Palestinian land; it destroys the historical and cultural heritage; it seizes Palestinian land; and it expels Palestinians from their homes, fields, villages, and cities. And Israel arrests children, men, and women unlawfully. It tortures them physically and mentally, humiliates them, and assaults them. Israel violates the right of Muslims and Christians to worship. The Israeli government besieges the right of Muslims to pray at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and does nothing significant to protect Christian clergy from the insults and assaults of extremists.

For decades of occupation, Israel has worked to change the Islamic and Christian identity of the holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. Mr. President, Members of the Court, peace is the right of all the region's peoples. But there can be no peace without ending the occupation. No peace without fulfilling the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, by embodying the independent, sovereign Palestinian state, with its capital in East Jerusalem, along the 4th of June 1967 lines, to live in security and peace alongside Israel, and by recognizing this state internationally.

Mr. President, Members of the Court, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has never ceased working for peace. We have suffered the consequences of the conflict. We know the value of peace to us, to the region, and the world. And we also know the condition for achieving peace: ending the occupation and fulfilling the Palestinian people's right to justice, freedom, and statehood. The two-state solution must be implemented. The Palestinian state must be recognized and accepted as a full member of the United Nations. For peace, and for justice, Jordan will not back down in its efforts to protect Islamic and Christian holy sites in occupied Jerusalem and preserve their identity. These are our responsibilities towards the holy sites under the historical Hashemite guardianship, and our special role towards them.

Mr. President, Members of the Court, Palestinians are being killed by the hundreds in Gaza and the West Bank every day because Israel is not held accountable for its war crimes and violations of international law. Children undergo surgeries without anesthesia. Hind, six years old, spent days trapped in a car with the decaying bodies of her relatives. Rescuers finally reached her. The Israeli army killed them, and it killed Hind.

The savagery that tortured and killed Hind is a reality that persists under the occupation. This savagery must end. Rule that this savagery must end. Rule that the occupation, the source of all evil, must cease."

In press statements after the pleading, Safadi said, "There are no words to describe the barbarity of this aggression," noting that more than twenty-nine thousand innocent Palestinians have been killed; and that mothers are crushed with pain, helpless, as they hear the cries of their children fading under the rubble of their homes destroyed by the aggression; and that more than a million and seven hundred thousand Palestinians have been displaced, to face the humiliation of living in shelters overcrowded beyond capacity.

Justice Minister Dr. Ahmed Ziadat also presented a pleading that included three main parts, the first being an overview of the role played by Jordan and the Hashemite family, and the responsibilities assigned to them regarding the Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city of Jerusalem for over 100 years. The second part included a summary of Israeli violations in the holy sites, detailed in over 3000 pages submitted to the court. And the third part addressed the consequences of these Israeli violations.

Ziadat affirmed that Israeli attacks on Islamic and Christian holy sites violate the principles of international law, including Articles 27 and 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and that Israel's violations of the historical status quo threaten the identity of the holy sites and ignite religious tensions on a global scale, creating religious conflicts.

The renowned international lawyer Sir Michael Wood, on behalf of the specialized legal team, presented the Kingdom's legal pleading, which included six key points, on which his legal arguments were based, confirming that the advisory opinion to be issued by the Court will not undermine peace negotiations as some claim, and the necessity for Israel to respect the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. He also emphasized that Israel's policies and practices violate the law of occupation and that Israel's annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories constitutes a serious breach of basic legal principles, and that Israel's discriminatory legislation and measures constitute a serious breach of the fundamental rules of international law, stressing that the occupation itself is illegal and must cease.

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