The Pending Israel-Palestinian ICJ Advisory Opinion: Threats to Legal Principles and Security

(Lieber Institute-West Point) Orde Kittrie and Bruce Rashkow - The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is poised to eviscerate the longstanding legal framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which was established by UN Security Council resolutions and the Oslo Accords. It is the only framework for achieving peace that has been endorsed by Israel and all Arab League member states. Yet the ICJ - at the behest of the UN General Assembly - may soon advise that international law requires Israel to unilaterally and unconditionally withdraw from the disputed Palestinian territories. Unless the Western allies take robust action in this case, the ICJ could also undercut the inherent rights of states to self-defense and sovereignty, undermine the UNSC's authority to maintain international peace and security, and subvert the law of armed conflict (LOAC). International law does not prohibit an interim occupation, which results from a legal use of force in self-defense, pending resolution of the conflict. Neither the 1907 Hague Regulations nor the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention requires an occupier, whose occupation results from a legal use of force in self-defense, to withdraw before a peace treaty is signed. In 1967, the international community recognized the legality of Israel's preemptive action against Arab armies poised to attack. Draft resolutions condemning Israel's actions were resoundingly defeated in both the UNSC and the UNGA. Orde Kittrie is a law professor at Arizona State University who served as a U.S. State Department attorney. Bruce Rashkow served as the U.S. State Department's assistant legal adviser for UN affairs and as director of the UN Office of Legal Affairs' General Legal Division.

2023-08-28 00:00:00

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