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Spain says situation in Palestine has 'indisputably' worsened

Anadolu Agency MAGAZINE
Published February 27,2024

The situation in Palestine has "indisputably" worsened over the past 20 years and resolutions "have failed to establish redress and sanction measures," Spain's delegation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Monday.

Santiago Ripol Carulla, head of the International Legal Office at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented Spain's oral statements in advisory proceedings on the legal consequences of Israel's policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, citing the worsening situation across the territories.

"Once again, 20 years after the Advisory Opinion on the Wall was passed, it is an indisputable reality that the situation in Palestine has worsened," he said, noting that resolutions of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly have repeatedly condemned Israel's actions and demanded the cessation of the violations of international law.

"However, such resolutions have failed to establish redress and sanction measures," he said during the public hearings in The Hague.

Carulla recalled the relevant resolutions, saying that states are obliged not to take measures that would imply changes in the status of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

"The corollary is clear: establishing diplomatic missions in the Holy City (of Jerusalem) is a serious threat to the stability of peace in the region and the world," he said.

Emilio Pin Godos, deputy head of the International Legal Office at Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out the unjust treatment of Palestinian and Israeli civilians before the law.

"Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories are subject to a system of jurisdictional fragmentation in the context of a structure of institutionalized discrimination. Israeli military courts enforce military law upon Palestinians, while Israeli courts apply Israeli civil law to Israelis, including settlers," he said.

Referring to the world court's 2004 decision, Godos highlighted that Israel's settlement policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including measures taken with regard to Jerusalem and the construction of a wall, were established to be in violation of international law.

It is a violation of international law "not only because they are contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention, but also because they prevent the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination," he said.

He also expressed concern over the detention, interrogation, prosecution and imprisonment of Palestinian children by Israeli occupation forces.

The public hearings started last Monday in The Hague following the UN General Assembly's request for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

After dozens of countries testified, the week of public hearings on Israel's occupation of Palestine concluded on Monday.

South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel to the ICJ in late December and asked it for emergency measures to end the bloodshed in Gaza, where nearly 29,800 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7.

The court in January ordered Israel to take "all measures within its power" to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza but fell short of ordering a cease-fire.

It also ordered Israel to take "immediate and effective" measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip.

A cross-border incursion by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7 killed an estimated 1,200 people, but the ensuing Israeli offensive into Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Despite an international outcry, Israel now plans a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which holds 1.4 million refugees.

For the first time since its establishment in 1948, Israel is being tried before the ICJ, the highest judicial body in the UN, on charges of committing the crime of "genocide" against Palestinians in Gaza.