Al Jazeera’s Bishara says ICJ critics ‘demolished shameless defences’ of Israel occupation

Al Jazeera Middle East analyst Marwan Bishara
Al Jazeera Middle East analyst Marwan Bishara . . . "selective, mind boggling, . . . mind insulting presentations by the United States and the United Kingdom . . . set everyone back." Image: Al Jazeera screenshot APR

Pacific Media Watch

The International Court of Justice (ICC) has held its last day of hearings examining the legality of Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian lands.

Fifty two countries and three international organisations have addressed the court in the hearings that ended on Monday.

Most called for Israel’s occupation to be declared illegal and for it to end, with some calling for reparations to be paid by Israel to the state of Palestine for illegal settlements.

Only the representatives of the United States, United Kingdom and Fiji claimed the occupation was legal while non-government organisations and opposition politicians in Fiji condemned their country’s surprise position.

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst and a Middle East expert, said the final legal arguments had “demolished the shameless defences” of Israel’s illegal occupation.

“Ireland, Algeria and South Africa . . . projected their own experience, their own narrative, their own history, their own struggle with [colonial] occupation, and their own experience with liberation as well,” he said.

“Hence it was both instructive, if you will, not I mean liberating, not depressing.

“I want to say it was instructive that they did share with us that but then we had this disingenuous, selective, mind boggling, if not, you know, mind insulting presentations by the United States and the United Kingdom that I think set everyone back.

ICJ hearing: Final Israeli occupation arguments.  Video: Al Jazeera

“You know they were trampling over international law, expropriating international law, confiscating international legality in order to fit their own little geopolitical calculus on behalf of their little client Israel.

“So it was a bit shameful, it was a bit shameless to be honest and that’s why today we’ve heard from the Arab League and the [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)], legal opinions that were basically set or apparently revised in order to counter the arguments of the UK and the US and in that way I thought it was brilliant and it was entertaining almost.”

The African Union lawyers argued that “occuopatiion” and “self-determination” could not exist in the same place at the same time.

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