ICJ Says Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territory Is Illegal and Must End

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Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles are pictured in the West Bank town of Beita on July 12, 2024. (Photo: Wahaj Bano Moufleh/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Nations’ highest court issued an advisory opinion arguing that Israel’s large-scale expansion of settlements amounts to annexation, a crime under international law.

The International Court of Justice said Friday that Israel’s decadeslong occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is unlawful and must end “as rapidly as possible.”

The court’s nonbinding advisory opinion was read aloud by ICJ President Nawaf Salam, a Lebanese judge and academic. Salam said the court determined based on “extensive evidence” that Israel is guilty of confiscating “large areas” of Palestinian land for use by Israeli settlers, exploiting natural resources, and undermining the local population’s right to self-determination under international law.

The court pointed to “Israel’s systematic failure to prevent or punish” settler violence and “demolition of Palestinian property” in the West Bank as part of its case that the Israeli government’s actions in the occupied territories are indicative of an attempt to permanently annex land and forcibly transfer Palestinians from their homes.

“Israel is not entitled to sovereignty in any part of the occupied Palestinian territory on account of its occupation, nor can security concerns override the prohibition on acquisition of territory by force,” said Salam.

The ICJ vote against Israel’s occupation was 11-4. The court also voted to call on Israel to evacuate all settlers from the West Bank.

In a 12-3 vote, the ICJ said that all nations “are under an obligation not to recognize as legal the situation arising from the unlawful presence of the state of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by the continued presence of the state of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The United States was among the countries that warned the ICJ against advising that Israel must swiftly end its occupation.

The ICJ handed down its opinion as the court is also considering a genocide case brought against Israel over its ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip—a devastating war that the court did not weigh as part of its new advisory opinion.

Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, applauded the ICJ’s call for the dismantling of Israeli settlements and reparations for Palestinians harmed by Israel’s occupation.

“The ICJ ruling in essence confirmed what the majority of people (except the West) already knew and have recognized: that Israel’s occupation is illegal, that it is still occupying Gaza, it is annexing the West Bank, and Israel is an apartheid state,” Parsi wrote on social media. “If there is any respect for international law, Western media must now include this in all its Israel coverage. Most don’t even describe settlements as illegal!”

Nancy Okail, president and CEO of the Center for International Policy, said in a statement that “while the ICJ’s action is nonbinding, countries that seek to uphold international law should respect the court’s determination and take all appropriate steps to counter the injustices of the occupation and bring it to a peaceful end.”

“At a minimum, countries should not engage in actions which help to perpetuate the occupation and its discriminatory, annexationist goals,” said Okail. “In particular, the United States must end the unconditional supply of arms that Israel uses in connection with the dispossession and settlement of Palestinian land and other violations of Palestinian rights.”

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Rights Group Urges DOJ to Investigate US-Bound Netanyahu for Genocide

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UK Urged to Cut Off Arms Sales to Israel After Restoring UNRWA Funds

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Continue ReadingICJ Says Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territory Is Illegal and Must End

Rights Group Urges DOJ to Investigate US-Bound Netanyahu for Genocide

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Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at Nachalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv on June 18, 2024. (Photo: Shaul Golan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

“We believe ample credible evidence exists to sufficiently establish that serious crimes falling within U.S. criminal jurisdiction are systematically being perpetrated in Gaza,” said the Center for Constitutional Rights.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to visit Washington, D.C. next week, an American legal group on Friday pressured the U.S. Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into him and other officials for committing or authorizing genocide, war crimes, and torture targeting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Since Israel launched its retaliation for a Hamas-led attack on October 7, Israeli forces partly armed by the U.S. government have killed at least 38,848 people and wounded another 89,459—according to Gaza officials—while destroying civilian infrastructure and restricting the flow of humanitarian aid into the Palestinian enclave.

“We believe ample credible evidence exists to sufficiently establish that serious crimes falling within U.S. criminal jurisdiction are systematically being perpetrated in Gaza,” says the Center for Constitutional Rights’ (CCR) 23-page letter to Hope Olds, who leads the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) of the DOJ’s Criminal Division.

“Given the frequent travel of Israeli officials and citizens to the United States resulting in their presence within U.S. jurisdiction, and recalling that HRSP is part of a coordinated, interagency effort to deny safe haven in the United States to human rights violators,” the letter states, “the Department of Justice must urgently investigate and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes and other serious crimes being committed on a wide-scale basis in the occupied Gaza Strip, including potentially U.S. and U.S.-dual citizens.”

The Israeli prime minister is expected to be in the United States from at least next Monday to Wednesday for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden—who is currently isolating in his Delaware home due to a Covid-19 infection—and to address a joint session of Congress, despite objections from critics of Israel’s war including some lawmakers.

“Netanyahu has killed more than 14,000 precious Palestinian children with U.S. weapons and support and is starving all of Gaza—and now sycophants in the White House and Congress are rolling out the red carpet for him,” Maria LaHood, CCR’s deputy legal director, said in a statement. “DOJ’s Human Rights and Special Prosecution Section must exercise its mandate to investigate Netanyahu and hold him to account for his heinous crimes, just as it would an international criminal from any other country.”

The group’s letter says that “in light of Netanyahu’s imminent visit, HRSP should prioritize investigating him… There is overwhelming evidence that under Netanyahu, Israeli forces and authorities are committing genocide, war crimes, and torture against Palestinians in Gaza, acts that are proscribed under federal criminal statutes and prosecutable by HRSP.”

“As the most powerful political figure in Israel, Netanyahu also leads the Security Cabinet, as well as the recently dissolved War Cabinet—the two bodies responsible for setting the strategy for and directing the military assault on Gaza since October 7, 2023,” the letter stresses. “He therefore bears criminal responsibility for the serious international crimes committed against the Palestinian population over the past nine months.”

Various developments this week have elevated concerns for the people of Gaza. The World Health Organization said Friday that poliovirus has been detected in sewage samples at six locations in the strip, and Amnesty International on Thursday published interviews with 27 former detainees who described being tortured by Israeli forces.

A Wednesday report from Oxfam detailed what the group called Israel’s “water war crimes” in Gaza. That same day, Israeli lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing “the establishment of a Palestinian state” west of the Jordan River—widely seen as an effort to send a message to Netanyahu ahead of his trip to D.C.

International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders, and Israel faces a South Africa-led genocide case at the International Court of Justice—which on Friday issued a nonbinding advisory opinion that Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is unlawful and must end “as rapidly as possible.”

So far, legal efforts to hold the Biden administration accountable for enabling Israel’s genocidal violence against Palestinians have been unsuccessful. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against the president, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

CCR attorney Katherine Gallagher, who represented plaintiffs in the case, said that “this stunning abdication of the court’s role to serve as a check on the executive even in the face of its support for genocide should set off alarm bells for all.”

Original article by JESSICA CORBETT republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingRights Group Urges DOJ to Investigate US-Bound Netanyahu for Genocide

UK Urged to Cut Off Arms Sales to Israel After Restoring UNRWA Funds

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Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

British Foreign Secretary David Lammy speaks at the NATO Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2024 (Photo: Drew Angerer/AFP via Getty Images)

“While the U.K. is giving aid with one hand, it continues to send weapons used in the ongoing killing of civilians with the other,” said one advocate.

Days after independent United Nations experts said the blocking of humanitarian aid to Gaza over the past nine months has led to famine throughout the enclave, rights groups on Friday applauded the British government’s announcement that it will restore funding to the U.N.’s relief agency in Palestine—but said the Labour Party will remain complicit in the suffering of Gazans as long as it continues arming Israel.

Tim Bierley, a campaigner at Global Justice Now, said the decision to restore U.K. funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) six months after it was suspended was “welcome and long overdue,” following mounting reports of dozens of Palestinian children and adults dying of starvation in the intervening months.

The U.K. was one of several wealthy countries that suspended funding for UNRWA, which operates mainly on international donations, after Israel in January claimed without evidence that 12 out of 13,000 UNRWA staff members in Gaza had been involved in the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on October 7, 2023.

The loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and other countries severely reduced UNRWA’s ability to provide food aid, healthcare, sanitation services, and employment to Palestinians, nearly all of whom have been forcibly displaced by Israel’s bombardment.

Following sustained advocacy by rights groups and Labour Party lawmakers who support Palestinian rights, Foreign Secretary David Lammy on Friday announced that the new Labour government, which took control after this month’s elections, has committed to providing £21 million ($27 million) to UNRWA following former Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to suspend funding.

Lammy noted in his speech to Parliament that restoring UNRWA funding is “absolutely central” to ensuring humanitarian aid reaches Palestinians in Gaza.

“No other agency can deliver aid at the scale needed,” he said.

The government’s decision leaves the U.S.—UNRWA’s largest funder—as the only country that has not restored its financial support for the agency. In March, the U.S. passed a military spending package that prohibits UNRWA funding through at least March 2025.

Bierley was among those who noted that while the U.K. is committing to provide more humanitarian relief to Palestinians in Gaza, the Labour government is still providing Israel with military aid.

“While the U.K. is giving aid with one hand, it continues to send weapons used in the ongoing killing of civilians with the other. Labour has had more than enough time to review the evidence: The U.K. must ban all arms sales to Israel with immediate effect,” said Bierley.

Journalist Owen Jones added that considering all countries except the U.S. have already restored funding—with many citing the U.N.’s finding that Israel’s accusations were unsubstantiated—the Labour government’s decision is “the bare minimum.”

“Now end arms sales and stop trying to wreck the [International Criminal Court] arrest warrants,” said Jones, referring to the U.K.’s bid to intervene in the ICC’s case against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Member of Parliament Andy McDonald of the Labour Party called on Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s government to “clarify that it supports the processes that will prosecute war crimes and that the U.K. accepts the ICC jurisdiction over Israel, and has no truck with the nonsense legal argument of Israel being exempt from international law.”

The humanitarian group Medical Aid for Palestinians said the Labour Party’s decision will restore “an irreplaceable lifeline” to a population of 2.3 million Gaza residents who “face an existential threat from Israel’s military bombardment and siege.”

“We hope that David Lammy and the U.K. government will now commit to increasing multi-year support to the agency,” said the group, “to bolster its vital humanitarian work across the region and ensure the inalienable rights of Palestinian refugees are upheld.”

Original article by JULIA CONLEY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Continue ReadingUK Urged to Cut Off Arms Sales to Israel After Restoring UNRWA Funds

Yemen’s Ansar Allah declares attacks will continue until genocide in Gaza ends

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Original article by Aseel Saleh republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

The spokesperson of the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree giving a press conference.

The Yemeni Support Front is escalating its attacks on Israeli “primary targets” in solidarity with the Palestinian people, until the aggression on Gaza is halted and the siege is lifted

A drone struck the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on Friday, July 19, killing at least one person and injuring 10 others. The drone exploded hundreds of meters away from the United States Embassy, at the intersection of Shalom Aleichem and Ben Yehuda Streets.

A few hours after the attack, Ansar Allah-led Yemeni Armed Forces claimed responsibility for the attack, in a televised speech delivered by its spokesperson, Brigadier-General Yahya Sare’e. During his speech, Sare’e clarified that Ansar Allah fired a “new drone called Yafa, which is capable of bypassing the enemy’s interception systems”. He also declared Tel Aviv an “unsafe area” and a “primary target” for Ansar Allah’s weapons. Saree asserted that the attack was launched in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people and in retaliation of the massacres committed by the Zionist enemy against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The drone that hit an apartment building in Tel Aviv was an Iranian manufactured craft called Samad-3, which was modified to extend its range, the spokesperson of the Israeli Occupation Forces, Daniel Hagari, said in a televised statement on Friday. He also mentioned that the IOF was investigating what went wrong, as the drone was detected by the Israeli air defenses, but an “error” occurred and “there was no interception.“

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot quoted an unnamed Israeli officials saying “Israel will respond to the Houthi drone strike. The option of an attack on Yemeni soil is on the table and we cannot rule out a response in Yemen.” Moreover, the newspaper said it was told by the officials that the attack on Tel Aviv is assessed to be targeting the Embassy of the United States there. It is the first time for Tel Aviv, which is considered the commercial hub for the Israeli entity, to be struck by a drone according to media reports.

second explosion was heard in Tel Aviv later on Friday, reportedly leaving two casualties. Israeli media said that the incident occurred because an oxygen cylinder exploded inside an apartment in Yosef Zinman Street in east Tel Aviv.

Additionally, the Yemeni Armed Forces struck Singapore-flagged container ship, Lobivia, with ballistic missiles in the gulf of Aden on Friday, for violating entry ban to Israeli ports. Claiming the responsibility for striking the ship, Brigadier-General Yahya Saree reiterated, in another televised speech on Friday, that Ansar Allah’s operations will continue until the war on Gaza stops and the siege imposed on it is lifted.

Original article by Aseel Saleh republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Continue ReadingYemen’s Ansar Allah declares attacks will continue until genocide in Gaza ends

Thousands to protest Netanyahu Congressional visit in Washington, DC

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Original article republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Thousands of activists will once again travel to Washington DC to protest the US support of Israel’s genocide, and this time, the visit of Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Sofia Perez

Israeli PM Netanyahu who faces charges from the ICC, was invited by US lawmakers to speak in front of Congress on July 24

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to speak on July 24 in front of the United States Congress following an invitation by leading politicians from both mainstream parties. Netanyahu is considered a war criminal internationally, with the ICC expected to issue a warrant for his arrest within the next two weeks—however, he is completely safe in the United States, which is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. 

Both the Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant are wanted for “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” In May, Chief ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan applied for arrest warrants for the two officials, which are expected to be issued within the next two weeks. The United States has threatened to sanction the ICC for these arrest warrants. “Together, we’ll find a way to register our displeasure with the ICC, cause if they’ll do this to Israel, we’re next,” said Graham on Tuesday, indicating that US officials have at least a sense of their complicity in the genocide in Gaza. A recent letter published in the Lancet indicates that the true death toll of this genocide could be as high as 186,000

The mass mobilization, which is set to surround the US Capitol building, is being organized by several grassroots organizations including American Muslims for Palestine, the Palestinian Youth Movement, the People’s Forum, ANSWER Coalition, the Palestinian Feminist Collective, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, US Palestinian Community Network, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Palestinian American Organizations Network, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Palestinian American Women’s Association, CodePink, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Assembly for Liberation, and Writers Against the War on Gaza.

“July 24th will be remembered as a dark stain on the legacy of the 118th Congress. Inviting a war criminal to speak in our legislative halls while he is committing genocide is a new low for this body,” said Mohamad Habehh, Director of Development at American Muslims for Palestine. “Schools, hospitals, houses of worship, and residential neighborhoods have been leveled by relentless Israeli bombardment. Since the announcement of this speech, we have seen the bombing and killing increase. Congressional leaders have supported this genocide in Gaza in both word and deed. Not only have they excused the atrocities Israel is committing, they have passed billions of dollars in funding to enable them. This has empowered Netanyahu to continue committing these crimes and, by inviting him, Congress is sending a clear message to the American people and the rest of the world, that criminals will be rewarded and red carpets will be rolled out for them.”

“Netanyahu and the members of Congress he will be addressing are partners in crime,” said Hatem Abu Dayyeh, National Coordinator of USPCN. 

“Israel’s killing spree in Gaza would not be possible were it not for the constant stream of weapons being provided by the US government,” Abu Dayyeh continued. “These missiles, bullets and bombs are funded through acts of Congress and delivered by the Biden administration. We are gathering to express our outrage not only with Netanyahu, but also with the US political elite who are indispensable to Israel’s ability to massacre Palestinians.”

According to Brian Becker, National Director of the ANSWER Coalition, “The majority of people in this country want a ceasefire. But instead, Netanyahu and his friends in Congress are threatening to expand the war with an invasion of Lebanon.”

“The US corporate media always portrays Israel as the victim, but the reality is that the fighting along the Israel-Lebanon border is a result of the genocide being committed in Gaza.” Becker stated. “The only way to ensure that a devastating regional war does not break out is for Israel to immediately end its attack on Gaza and withdraw its troops.”

Original article republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Continue ReadingThousands to protest Netanyahu Congressional visit in Washington, DC