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Judea and Samaria leaders, NGOs blast ICJ proceedings

"The idea that the United Nations is holding such a hearing reveals its true face, and how lost that body is today compared to when it was established," said Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi.

The International Court of Justice courtroom at The Hague. Photo by Ankor Light/Shutterstock.
The International Court of Justice courtroom at The Hague. Photo by Ankor Light/Shutterstock.

Leaders of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, along with Zionist Israeli NGOs, have expressed their ire about the hearings currently taking place at the United Nations’ International Court of Justice in the Hague (ICJ) regarding Israel’s legal right to maintain a presence in those often-politicized regions of the country.   

The court is hearing arguments due to a request submitted by the U.N. General Assembly pursuant to a December 2022 resolution calling on the ICJ to explore the “Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Israel chose to boycott the hearings, saying the court does not have jurisdiction on the matter. Last December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the resolution “disgraceful” and said that Israel would not be obligated by the court’s decisions.

Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi told JNS that the United Nations isn’t the same body today that was founded after the Second World War. 

“The idea that the United Nations is holding such a hearing reveals its true face, and how lost that body is today compared to when it was established,” said Revivi.

“Keep in mind the criminal acts of terror [committed] daily in Judea and Samaria by Arabs, who kill, abduct, behead, rape innocent Israelis, blow themselves up on buses and in coffee shops, and at the end of the day the United Nations thinks Israel is at fault,” he added.

In its early days, the United Nations sought to create a better world, whereas now “they are just empowering terror and crime,” he said.

Lt. Col. (res) Maurice Hirsch, director of the Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) released a JCPA position paper earlier this month in anticipation of the current ICJ hearing titled, “Preparing for the Next International Court of Justice Debacle.” 

In the paper, Hirsch, a former director of the Military Prosecution for Judea and Samaria, refers to the ICJ as the “theatre of the absurd” whose judges have “weaponized the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against the Jewish state.”

Hirsch explained to JNS that, “In reality, the entire proceeding before the ICJ is just a farce. It’s based on the false premise that at some undefined period of time there was a notion of ‘Palestinian territories.’ That, as the world knows, is not true. No such entity ever existed. If the ICJ had any basic respect for elementary facts or law, it would return the request for an advisory opinion to the United Nations, with the request that it clarify when, where and by whom…those imaginary territories [were invented].”

He said in his paper that, “The idea that a state of Palestine ever existed and that Israel is occupying ‘Palestinian territory’ seems to prove the billboard advertisement that ‘Palestine’ is the only country in the world that did not exist before it was ‘occupied.'”

Israel Ganz, governor of the Binyamin Regional Council, told JNS that to put Israel on trial is to side with the perpetrators of the Oct. 7 massacre.  

“The international community’s confusion of values places them alongside those who committed rape and murder, those who butchered women and babies, and threatened to destroy the State of Israel,” he said.

“The Nation of Israel returned following their exile and banishment from their homeland. Terrorists and their supporters who hold the same views as the Nazis, among them senior officials of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, are trying to expel us from Judea and Samaria, from Jerusalem, and from all over the Land of Israel,” he added.

“Whoever disputes the idea of Jews making their homes in Judea and Samaria and wants to establish a Palestinian state are party to fulfilling the dream of Hamas terrorists,” he said.

Naomi Linder Kahn, director of NGO Regavim’s International Division, told JNS, “Even if the international tribunals had the jurisdictional authority to scrutinize Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria—which they do not—the current ‘hearings’ would be nothing more than a show trial.”

Under international law, she said, “occupation” has very precise legal parameters. “In the case of Judea and Samaria, which historical revisionists refer to as ‘occupied territory,’ the State of Israel cannot be considered an occupier, as its jurisdiction over the territory in question does not fall under any of the normal parameters of international law’s definition of occupation,” she explained. “First and foremost, the borders of the State of Israel were established by consent and agreement of the international community even before Israel’s independence was declared and even before the United Nations admitted Israel as full member state,” she continued.

“The borders of Israel were established under the same system that established the borders of Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon—all of the countries that had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which was disbanded after World War I. Like the borders of all of the  newly independent states of the Middle East, Israel’s borders were recognized by international law, and remain unchanged, despite incessant attempts by hostile Arab states and non-state actors do erase those borders,” she said.

Kahn concluded by saying, “Israel’s repeated attempts to reach a negotiated compromise with those who have repeatedly attempted to eradicate the Jewish presence—every man, woman and child—do not change the fact that Israel is completely within its rights to reassert full and unconditional sovereignty over the liberated territories that were returned to its jurisdiction in 1967. These territories are legally, historically, geographically and culturally part and parcel of the Jewish and democratic State of Israel and have never been the territory of any other sovereign state.”

Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover, founders and heads of The Sovereignty Movement, released a statement to JNS: 

“The Sovereignty Movement strengthens the hand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire government for their strong stand against the persecution by the Hague Tribunal. All the right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is its authority from the Bible. A people cannot be an illegal occupier in its own land and its own capital. All U.N. declarations and resolutions are null and void in light of this eternal truth. There is no reason to recognize this institution, the legal branch of the United Nations, which proves again and again its ethical hypocrisy toward the State of Israel and the Jewish People.”

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