US Defends Israeli Occupation at World Court

Among nations participating in the ICJ proceedings on Israel’s occupation, only the U.S. and Fiji are urging the court not to issue an opinion that declares the nearly six-decade occupation of Palestinian territory illegal.

Richard Visek, the U.S. State Department’s acting legal adviser, speaking at the International Court of Justice on Wednesday. (International Court of Justice)

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

An attorney from the U.S. State Department told the International Court of Justice this week that it should not put its weight behind global calls for Israel to withdraw its forces from the occupied Palestinian territories.

Richard Visek, the U.S. State Department’s acting legal adviser, argued that “it would not, as some participants suggest, be conducive to the achievement” of lasting peace for the United Nations’ highest court to “issue an opinion that calls for the unilateral, immediate, and unconditional withdrawal that does not account for Israel’s security needs.”

“The court should not find that Israel is legally obligated to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from occupied territory,” said the U.S. representative.

Visek reiterated the Biden administration’s stated support for a two-state solution but rejected the argument — made by other nations before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) — that an end to Israel’s illegal, decades-long occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem is a necessary prerequisite to securing peace and a durable political solution.

“International law does not impose specific time limits on an occupation,” Visek said Wednesday.

The U.S. presentation came two days after Paul Reichler, an American lawyer representing Palestine during the ICJ proceedings on Israel’s occupation, said that “occupation can only be a temporary state of affairs” and criticized the U.S. government for defending “whatever offenses against international law Israel commits.”

“A permanent occupation is a legal oxymoron,” said Reichler. “What makes Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory unlawful is precisely its permanent character.”

Among nations participating in the ICJ proceedings on Israel’s occupation, only the U.S. and Fiji are urging the court not to issue an opinion that declares the nearly six-decade occupation of Palestinian territory illegal.

Israel has opted not to take part in the hearings, with far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denouncing them as illegitimate.

The hearings come more than a year after the U.N. General Assembly requested a nonbinding opinion from the ICJ on the “legal consequences” of Israel’s open-ended occupation of Palestinian territory. Just last month, the ICJ ruled that Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip plausibly amounts to genocide—a characterization that the U.S. and other Israeli allies have rejected.

Speaking just before Visek on Wednesday, representatives of Colombia, Cuba, and Egypt condemned the Israeli occupation and implored the ICJ to act decisively.

“The situation that is taking place in the eyes of all confirms the ongoing genocide. Innocent victims—girls, boys, women—number in the thousands,” Cuban diplomat Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo said Wednesday, slamming “those who for years have supported each and every one of the policies and practices of Israel, which denied the existence of the Palestinian people and their rights.”

“Taken in total,” she said, “the unbearable situation of the Palestinian people, the honorable International Court of Justice should take a stand in the clearest, strongest, and most forceful legal terms in support of international law.”

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

14 comments for “US Defends Israeli Occupation at World Court

  1. robert e williamson jr
    February 25, 2024 at 15:42

    The Gazan situation has rapidly deteriorated under “Benny the blade” , my connection between Trump and BTB of Israeli leadership is hard wired by the facts.

    Unfettered support of Israel at this time is unfathomable and therefore obviously indefensible.

  2. robert e williamson jr
    February 25, 2024 at 15:30

    What we witness here is the direct result of unlimited money in politics.

    Today the Politician’s main interest is obtaining large amounts of cash.

    The SCOTUS must act to stop this phenomenon. The SCOTUS ruling on Citizens United caused this. Justice John Paul Stevens was correct and his death has not changed this fact. And remember he was supported by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Breyer and Sonia Sotomyer. A man we must remember was appointed by Gerald R. Ford.

    He served as an Associate Justice from December 19, 1975 until June 29, 2010.

    Now get yourself interested and review the two Wikis I suggest below. Notice anything peculiar?

    Anyone interested in this travesty see the Wiki for Citizens United v. FEC., especially the last paragraph of the section titled Background.

    The two party system failed everyone but the super wealthy elitists, the “SWEATS”. First by enacting the sarcastically named Patriot ACT, which in my humble Opinion is anything but, October 26, 2001. Ramrodded through congress by the “village idiot from Crawford Texas, republicans and democrats, few of if any, read the language of the bill.

    Now go see the Wiki for Citizens United the organization. The organization is and always was extremely conservatively oriented. Study this, especially focusing on one David Bessie who is a longtime friend and associate of Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.

    In the Current Leadership section of the Wiki read this, In 2020 he, David Bossie served as Trump’s deputy Campaign manager for 2016 and later in 2020, he served in executive positions for Trump and Benny Netanyahoo’s reelection campaigns.

    It is what it was intended to be, the conservative rape of “Lady Justice”!

    Thanks CN

  3. Don
    February 24, 2024 at 11:58

    Can any reader(s) tell us what is motivating Fiji on this question?

    • Emma M.
      February 25, 2024 at 21:31

      They are among the most powerful states of the world that cannot be bullied or broken, and the US is as always supported only by the strongest and bravest, just like when the “Seychelles, Meychelles, or whatever” as Nasrallah put it backed up the US’ Operation Genocide Guardian.


  4. Susan Crowell
    February 24, 2024 at 09:33

    Shouldn’t Hungary be included along with the U.S. and Fiji in asking the Court to not issue a ruling?

  5. Paula
    February 23, 2024 at 21:48

    “Israel was a mistake. Theocratic fascism is what is at issue here.”

  6. Andrew Nichols
    February 23, 2024 at 20:28

    Fiji…a people of colour who were once colonised…advocating genocide and colonisation of other POC. How sick is that? All based on a blasphemous racist warping of Christianity.

  7. Voltaria Voltaire
    February 23, 2024 at 18:12

    Did Zionists not contribute to the Holocaust of the 30s and 40s by agreeing to Hitler’s demand to use their influence to bring about an end to the sanctions of his Genocidal war machine, with the Transfer Agreement? It wasn’t about saving some Jews, it was about saving partners in crime. There was no loyalty to the Orthodox Jews then. The individuals orchestrating this current atrocity don’t just want Palestine, they would take the world if allowed. It should be obvious that it would end up being a world where human rights are NOT a reality. There would be NO freedom of thought or religion for Jews or Muslims or Christians or any belief. There would be no self-determinism for any sovereign nation or individual. Anyone who thinks they would inject sanity into the area is asleep at the wheel. Sure, it is “plausibly” a genocide.
    The word “plausible” means usually without proof as part of the definition. This current genocide IS unusual. There is PLENTY of proof. They have been freely confessing to the most alarming of genocidal crimes. Unlike Hitler, who apparently didn’t give written orders for our history books, we now have the real time recordings, the video coverage, the recorded witness testimony. The difference between the WWII genocide and this one against the Palestinians, is there are less secrets, BUT they have gotten even savyier with their lies, blackmail, bribery, media influences, and brainwashing of the politicians, public and military they conive to do their bidding. It must be stopped. We must say NO!!!!!

  8. Lois Gagnon
    February 23, 2024 at 16:12

    At this point, anything the US thought it gained from shielding Israel from accountability has been lost. The longer it continues this charade, the worse the damage to itself. There has to be some sort of psychological disconnect behind this insistence on doubling down on stupid. Perhaps it’s the end stage of political careerism that keeps its practitioners from understanding how freakish they appear on the world stage. It is not sustainable.

  9. Drew Hunkins
    February 23, 2024 at 15:54

    Arrogant, creepy and sadistic Zionist psychopaths only listen to and react to force and violence, that’s it!

    As soon as Netanyahoo’s done with his genocidal land-grab in Gaza he’ll eventually attempt to annex the entire West Bank.

  10. Vera Gottlieb
    February 23, 2024 at 15:09

    The US should NEVER, EVER be considered an HONEST BROKER in any way. By supporting the slaughter of Palestinians it has become an accessory to murder and should also be hauled in front of the ICJ or even the ICC.

  11. Valerie
    February 23, 2024 at 13:02


    Not just the US and Fiji.

  12. mgr
    February 23, 2024 at 11:39

    “Israel has opted not to take part in the hearings, with far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denouncing them as illegitimate.”

    Right. In Israel’s topsy-turvy world, genocide and ethnic cleansing are legitimate, reasonable ways for nation states to carry out their policies while international law which arose in response to the horror of the Holocaust of WWII and with the aim to prevent its re-occurence, is illegitimate. Just consider the outcome if that view is adopted. Will anyone, anywhere in the world be able to live in peace and strive for posterity? No, instead, let’s all act like crazy, demented lunatics. Time for padded rooms, at least two, I think. One for Israel and one for the United States.

  13. Carolyn L Zaremba
    February 23, 2024 at 10:48

    I am ashamed to be a citizen of the United States. I never thought I would say that, but it’s true.

Comments are closed.