The International Court of Justice set a July 25 date for written submissions by state bodies and organizations on the question of the illegality of Israel’s “occupation,” as a sign that the ICJ is pushing ahead with the matter.
Those who submit the legal arguments will have until October 25 to comment on other submissions, the ICJ said in a statement it posted on its website on Wednesday night.
The ICJ fixed “July 25, 2023, as the time list within which written statements on the questions may be presented to the court and October 25, 2023, as the time limit within which states and organizations, having presented written statements, may submit written comments on the written statements made by either states or organizations,” the ICJ said.
UN asks ICJ for opinion on West Bank
In December 2022, the United Nations asked the ICJ to issue an advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s military rule in the West Bank, arguing it constituted a form of de-facto occupation.
The ruling is non-binding but could be used for binding actions by other bodies, including the International Criminal Court and the UN. It would also boost the campaign against Israel’s hold on that territory.
The ICJ last issued an advisory opinion against Israel in 2004, when it said it was illegal for the IDF to build a security barrier in the West Bank.
Israel and the United States have argued that the ICJ request is harmful. The Biden administration has worked to sway the Palestinian Authority, which helped initiate the UN proceedings, to temporarily suspend them and to resume its security cooperation with Israel.
Those moves would be part of an overall package deal the Biden administration is attempting to put together that would also include halting some settlement activity.
The PA has so far rejected that initiative and held to the importance of the ICJ proceedings.