Final day of ICJ hearing: OIC says two-state solution in Palestine imperative to regional peace

Final day of ICJ hearing: OIC says two-state solution in Palestine imperative to regional peace
The ICJ is holding hearings all week on the legal implications of Israel's occupation since 1967, with an unprecedented 52 countries, including the US and Russia, giving evidence. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 February 2024
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Final day of ICJ hearing: OIC says two-state solution in Palestine imperative to regional peace

Final day of ICJ hearing: OIC says two-state solution in Palestine imperative to regional peace
  • Turkiye, Arab League, and the African Union also delivered arguments on final day of hearings
  • Overwhelming condemnation of Israel’s actions at World Court

THE HAGUE: Representatives of Turkiye, the Arab League, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the African Union presented arguments on Monday, on the final day of proceedings at the UN’s highest court, on the legality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Over one week, the judges of the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, heard arguments from more than 50 states and three international organizations following a request by the UN General Assembly in 2022 for the court to issue a non-binding opinion on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation.

Gaza genocide is the essence of decades-long tragedy: African Union

African Union representative, Hajer Gueldich, told the ICJ that the “unspeakable suffering and horror inflicted on the population of Gaza” is the essence of the Palestinian tragedy for over a century.

She called Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza as “nothing but a shameful attempt to create another Nakba, a further catastrophe destined to erasing the Palestinian presence in Palestine.”

“The history of Palestine is a history of dispossession, displacement, and dehumanization. It’s a history of injustice.”

She said the ongoing Israeli aggression against Gaza demonstrates the tragedy of the Palestinians who have been “systematically subjugated and oppressed by the Israeli colonial project” for over seven decades.

The advisory proceeding, she noted, presents an opportunity to hold Israel accountable for attacks, put an immediate end to Israel’s “impunity” and uphold international humanitarian law.

OIC says two-state solution imperative to regional peace

Hussein Ibrahim Taha, Secretary General of the OIC, said “a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution in Palestine is only way to ensure security and stability of all people in the region and protect them from the cycle of violence.”

He urged countries to cease exporting arms and ammunition to Israel as “the army and settlers are using them against the Palestinian people” and called on the ICJ to condemn the accelerated colonization of East Jerusalem and the Israeli attacks against the Islamic and Christian holy places.

Taha reiterated the organization’s condemnation of Israel’s attack on Gaza, which killed about 30,000 Palestinians and injured thousands more, as well as the escalated violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

He also deplored the inability of the Security Council “to uphold international law to end the spiral violence and render justice to the Palestinian people.”

Arab League says Gaza genocide is result of failure to end prolonged occupation

Abdulhakeem Al Rifai, representative of the Arab League, said failure to end the prolonged Israeli occupation of Palestine “has led to the current horrors perpetrated against the Palestinians [in Gaza] amounting to genocide.”

He said the occupation is an “affront to international justice.”

“There can be no moral or juridical justification for occupying lands, killing, terrorizing, and displacing their populations.”

He called Israel the “last oppressive, expansionist apartheid settler colonial occupation still standing in the 21st century”, urging the ICJ to confirm the illegality of Israel’s occupation and “unambiguously rule on legal consequences for all parties especially those who turn a blind eye, facilitate, assist or participate in any way in perpetrating this illegal situation.”

“Only the rule of law not the prevailing law of the jungle will pave the way to peace in the region,” he said.

“Ending the occupation is the gateway to peaceful coexistence”.

He noted that the insistence of placing Israel above the law through the politicization of accountability and adopting double standards were “a direct threat to international peace and stability.”

Turkiye warns of danger of leaving Israel ‘unaccountable’

Ahmet Yıldız, the deputy foreign minister, told warned the UN top court of the risks of leaving Israel’s ‘indiscriminate attacks’ on Palestinian civilians in Gaza unaccountable.

“As the injustices and double standards that the Palestinians have been subjected to for decades continue, reactions from people in the region and beyond will multiply. In other words, we must hold accountable before the law those responsible for their attacks on civilians otherwise such outrageous behavior might be emulated elsewhere in the future.”

He condemned Israel’s plans to limit access of Muslim worshipers in Al Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, noting that the rhetoric repeated by Israeli ministers “is worrisome.”

Yıldız reiterated Turkiye’s calls for the international community to address the root cause of Palestine-Israel war as the only method to bring regional peace.

He argued that the conflict did not start from Oct. 7, and wasn’t “about a certain Palestinian faction or group. The conflict dates back to an earlier century.”

He added: “The real obstacle to peace Is obvious – the deepening occupation by Israel of Palestinian territories and failure to implement the two-state solution.”

Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7 has killed almost 30,000 Palestinians, most of them are woman and children, and placed 2.3 million people under full blockade by Israel. More than 2 million Palestinians have been forcibly displaced.

“Israel’s attacks have turned into collective punishment,” said Yıldız.

“The lack of political interest among the international community to address root causes of the conflict created a strong sense of injustice among the Palestinians and, in general, among international community.”

He accused the UN Security council, which, he said, has the primary responsibility for maintaining international order and security, of failing to bring solution in Gaza.

On the first day of hearings on Monday, Feb 19, Palestine’s representatives asked the judges to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal and said its opinion could help create conditions for agreement on a two-state solution.

Most nations have been critical of Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories, with many urging the court to declare the occupation illegal.

However, the US has stood by its ally, arguing against immediate and unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territory.

Israel, which is not taking part, said in written comments that the court’s involvement could be harmful to achieving a negotiated settlement.

The hearings are part of a Palestinian push to get international legal institutions to examine Israel’s conduct, which has become more urgent since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, which triggered a military response that has since killed about 29,600 Palestinians.

The ICJ’s 15-judge panel has been asked to review Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation ... including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

The judges are expected to take about six months to issue their opinion on the request.


Dubai carrier Emirates suspends check-in for onward connections, flydubai cancels Iran flights

Dubai carrier Emirates suspends check-in for onward connections, flydubai cancels Iran flights
Updated 19 April 2024
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Dubai carrier Emirates suspends check-in for onward connections, flydubai cancels Iran flights

Dubai carrier Emirates suspends check-in for onward connections, flydubai cancels Iran flights
  • Emirates suspends check-in for all customers in its network travelling with onward connections through Dubai

DUBAI: Dubai’s flydubai airline canceled flights to Iran on Friday after receiving an official alert, a statement said.

“In line with the issued NOTAM (notice to air missions), our flights to Iran today have been canceled,” said the statement

One flight which had already departed for Tehran returned to Dubai after the Iranian capital’s airport was closed, it added.

Flights were suspended across swathes of Iran as Iranian state media reported explosions in the central province of Isfahan.

Flight-tracking software showed commercial flights avoiding western Iran, including Isfahan, and skirting Tehran to the north and east.

Emirates meanwhile said on Friday it was suspending check-in for all customers in its network travelling with onward connections through Dubai until 2359 GMT on April 19.

Emirates, one of the world’s biggest international airlines, added that customers travelling to Dubai as their final destination may check-in and travel as usual.

Emirates and flydubai have experienced serious disruption this week after record rainfall caused more than 1,000 flight cancelations at Dubai airport, one of the world’s busiest air hubs.


Iran closes air space, commercial flights diverted after apparent Israeli retaliatory strikes

Iran closes air space, commercial flights diverted after apparent Israeli retaliatory strikes
Updated 19 April 2024
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Iran closes air space, commercial flights diverted after apparent Israeli retaliatory strikes

Iran closes air space, commercial flights diverted after apparent Israeli retaliatory strikes
  • Drones shot down over Isfahan, says Iranian state media
  • Israel military refuses to comment on incident

DUBAI/WASHINGTON: Israeli missiles have hit a site in Iran, ABC News reported late on Thursday, citing a US official, while Iranian state media reported an explosion in the center of the country, days after Iran launched a retaliatory drone strike on Israel.

Commercial flights began diverting their routes early Friday morning over western Iran without explanation as one semiofficial news agency in the Islamic Republic claimed there had been “explosions” heard over the city of Isfahan.

Some Emirates and Flydubai flights that were flying over Iran early on Friday made sudden sharp turns away from the airspace, according to flight paths shown on tracking website Flightradar24.

“Flights over Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran cities have been suspended,” state media reported.

Iranian officials said its air defenses did shot down several drones but there had been “no missile attack for now” on the country.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported that Iran fired air defense batteries early Friday morning across several provinces after reports of explosions near the city of Isfahan.

Several drones “have been successfully shot down by the country’s air defense, there are no reports of a missile attack for now,” Iran’s space agency spokesman Hossein Dalirian says on X.

The Fars news agency said “three explosions” were heard near the Shekari army airbase near Isfahan.

Iran’s local media also reported that nuclear facilities in Isfahan were “completely secure” after explosions were heard near the area.

“Nuclear facilities in Isfahan province are completely secure,” Tasnim news agency reports, quoting “reliable sources.”

Israel had said it would retaliate against Iran’s weekend attack, which involved hundreds of drones and missiles in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria. Most of the Iranian drones and missiles were downed before reaching Israeli territory.

Several Iranian nuclear sites are located in Isfahan province, including Natanz, centerpiece of Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Isfahan, Isome 350 kilometers (215 miles) south of Iran’s capital, Tehran, is also home to a major air base for the Iranian military.

Meanwhile in Iraq where a number of Iranian-backed militias are based, residents in Baghdad reported hearing sounds of explosions, but the source of the noise was not immediately clear.

In Syria, a local activist group said strikes hit an army position in the south of the country Friday. 

“There were strikes on a Syrian army radar position,” said Rayan Maarouf, who runs the Suwayda24 anti-government website that covers news from Sweida province in the south.

Iranian military positions in Syria had been frequently targetted by Israeli air strikes over the past years. Early this month, an Israeli strike demolished a consular building annex of the Iranian Embassy in Sydia's capital Damascus, killing 13 people, including two generals of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, triggering the Iranian missiles and drones attack on Israel on April 13.

At the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, Iran urged member nations that Israel “must be compelled to stop any further military adventurism against our interests” as the UN secretary-general warned that the Middle East was in a “moment of maximum peril.”

Israel had said it was going to retaliate against Iran’s April 13 missile and drone attack.

Analysts and observers have been raising concerns about the risks of the Israel-Gaza war spreading into the rest of the region.

Oil prices and jumped on the reports of the Israeli strike. Brent crude futures rose 2 percent to $88.86 a barrel, the dollar gained broadly, gold rose 1 percent and S&P 500 futures dropped 1 percent.

Israel’s assault on Gaza began after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s military offensive has killed over 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the local health ministry.
Iran-backed groups have declared support for Palestinians, launching attacks from Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.


United States had advance warning of Israel attack on Iran: US media

United States had advance warning of Israel attack on Iran: US media
Updated 19 April 2024
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United States had advance warning of Israel attack on Iran: US media

United States had advance warning of Israel attack on Iran: US media
  • US media: Israel had provided Washington with pre-notification of the strike
  • Tehran’s two major airports resumed flights following a brief suspension

DUBAI/WASHINGTON/TEHRAN: The United States received advance notice of Israel’s reported strike on Iran but did not endorse the operation or play any part in its execution, US media quoted officials as saying.

NBC and CNN, citing sources familiar with the matter and a US official, respectively, said Israel had provided Washington with pre-notification of the strike.

Various networks cited officials confirming a strike had taken place inside Iran, with CNN quoting one official as stating the target was not a nuclear facility.

Israel told the United States on Thursday it would be retaliating against Iran in the coming days, a senior US official told CNN.

“We didn’t endorse the response,” the official said, according to CNN.

There was no immediate comment from the White House about the Israeli strike.

In response to a query from AFP, the Pentagon duty desk said: “We do not have anything to offer at this time.”

Iran activated its air defense system over several cities, state media reported, after the country’s official broadcaster said explosions were heard near the central city of Isfahan.

Israel warned it would hit back after Iran fired hundreds of missiles and drones at its arch-foe over the weekend. Most of them were intercepted.

That weekend barrage came in the wake of an attack on Iran’s consulate in Damascus widely blamed on Israel.

Tehran’s two major airports resumed flights on Friday, state media reported, following a brief suspension after explosions were heard in central Iran.

“Flights through Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad airports have resumed,” the official IRNA news agency reported.

Commercial flights began diverting their routes early Friday morning over western Iran without explanation as one semiofficial news agency in the Islamic Republic claimed there had been “explosions” heard over the city of Isfahan.

Some Emirates and Flydubai flights that were flying over Iran early on Friday made sudden sharp turns away from the airspace, according to flight paths shown on tracking website Flightradar24.

“Flights over Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran cities have been suspended,” state media reported.

Iranian officials said its air defenses did shot down several drones but there had been “no missile attack for now” on the country.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported that Iran fired air defense batteries early Friday morning across several provinces after reports of explosions near the city of Isfahan.

Several drones “have been successfully shot down by the country’s air defense, there are no reports of a missile attack for now,” Iran’s space agency spokesman Hossein Dalirian says on X.

The Fars news agency said “three explosions” were heard near the Shekari army airbase near Isfahan.

Iran’s local media also reported that nuclear facilities in Isfahan were “completely secure” after explosions were heard near the area.

“Nuclear facilities in Isfahan province are completely secure,” Tasnim news agency reports, quoting “reliable sources.”

Israel had said it would retaliate against Iran’s weekend attack, which involved hundreds of drones and missiles in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria. Most of the Iranian drones and missiles were downed before reaching Israeli territory.

Several Iranian nuclear sites are located in Isfahan province, including Natanz, centerpiece of Iran’s uranium enrichment program. Isfahan, Isome 350 kilometers (215 miles) south of Iran’s capital, Tehran, is also home to a major air base for the Iranian military.


Meanwhile in Iraq where a number of Iranian-backed militias are based, residents in Baghdad reported hearing sounds of explosions, but the source of the noise was not immediately clear.

In Syria, a local activist group said strikes hit an army position in the south of the country Friday. 

“There were strikes on a Syrian army radar position,” said Rayan Maarouf, who runs the Suwayda24 anti-government website that covers news from Sweida province in the south.

Iranian military positions in Syria had been frequently targetted by Israeli air strikes over the past years. Early this month, an Israeli strike demolished a consular building annex of the Iranian Embassy in Sydia's capital Damascus, killing 13 people, including two generals of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, triggering the Iranian missiles and drones attack on Israel on April 13.

At the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, Iran urged member nations that Israel “must be compelled to stop any further military adventurism against our interests” as the UN secretary-general warned that the Middle East was in a “moment of maximum peril.”

 

Israel had said it was going to retaliate against Iran’s April 13 missile and drone attack.

Analysts and observers have been raising concerns about the risks of the Israel-Gaza war spreading into the rest of the region.

Oil prices and jumped on the reports of the Israeli strike. Brent crude futures rose 2 percent to $88.86 a barrel, the dollar gained broadly, gold rose 1 percent and S&P 500 futures dropped 1 percent.

Israel’s assault on Gaza began after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s military offensive has killed over 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the local health ministry.

Iran-backed groups have declared support for Palestinians, launching attacks from Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.


Hamas slams US veto of Palestinian UN membership bid

Hamas slams US veto of Palestinian UN membership bid
Updated 19 April 2024
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Hamas slams US veto of Palestinian UN membership bid

Hamas slams US veto of Palestinian UN membership bid

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: Palestinian militant group Hamas condemned on Friday the US veto that ended a long-shot Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership.
“Hamas condemns the American veto at the Security Council of the draft resolution granting Palestine full membership in the United Nations,” the Gaza Strip rulers said in a statement, which comes amid growing international concern over the toll inflicted by the war in the besieged Palestinian territory.
The veto by Israel’s main ally and military backer had been expected ahead of the vote, which took place more than six months into Israel’s offensive in Gaza, in retaliation for the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas militants.
Twelve countries voted in favor of the draft resolution, which was introduced by Algeria and “recommends to the General Assembly that the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations.” Britain and Switzerland abstained.


Gazans search for remains after deadly Rafah strike

Gazans search for remains after deadly Rafah strike
Updated 19 April 2024
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Gazans search for remains after deadly Rafah strike

Gazans search for remains after deadly Rafah strike
  • ‘We retrieved the remains of children and women, finding arms and feet. They were all torn to pieces’

An Israeli strike hit the home where a displaced Palestinian family was sheltering in the southern city of Rafah, relatives and neighbors said as they scraped at the soil with their hands.

Al-Arja said the blast killed at least 10 people.

“We retrieved the remains of children and women, finding arms and feet. They were all torn to pieces.

“This is horrifying. It’s not normal,” he said, hauling concrete and broken olive branches from the wreckage. “The entire world is complicit.”

Soon after the war began on Oct. 7, Israel told Palestinians living in the north of Gaza to move to “safe zones” in the territory’s south, like Rafah.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since vowed to invade the city, where around 1.5 million people live in shelters, more than half the territory’s population.

“How is Rafah a safe place?” said Zeyad Ayyad, a relative of the victims. He sighed as he cradled a fragment of the remains.

“I heard the bombing last night and then went back to sleep. I did not think it hit my aunt’s house.”

The search for remains was long and painful. The strike left a huge crater and children picked through the rubble while neighbors removed debris, tarpaulin, a pink top.

“We can see them under the rubble and we’re unable to retrieve them,” Al-Arja said. 

“These are people who came from the north because it was said the south is safe.”

“They struck without any warning,” he said.

In a separate strike on the house in Rafah’s Al-Salam neighborhood overnight on Tuesday, rescue crews recovered the corpses of eight family members, including five children and two women, Gaza’s civil defense service said.

“An Israeli rocket hit a house of displaced people,” said resident Sami Nyrab. 

“My sister’s son-in-law, her daughter, and her children were having dinner when an Israeli missile demolished their house over their heads.”