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19th July 2024, 16:38:40 UTC

Responding to the historic advisory opinion delivered today by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the consequences of Israel’s conduct for other states and the UN, Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, Advocacy, Policy and Campaigns, said: “The International Court of Justice has issued its opinion and the conclusion is loud and clear: Israel’s occupation and annexation of the Palestinian territories are unlawful, and its discriminatory laws and policies against Palestinians violate the prohibition on racial segregation and apartheid.

“This is a historic vindication of the rights of Palestinians who have endured decades of cruelty and systematic human rights violations stemming from Israel’s unlawful occupation.

“The occupation is a key pillar of the system of apartheid that Israel uses to dominate and oppress Palestinians, and which has caused suffering on a mass scale. Palestinians have witnessed their homes being demolished, their lands expropriated to build and expand settlements, and have faced suffocating restrictions disrupting every aspect of their daily lives, from family separation and restrictions on freedom of movement to denial of access to land, water and natural resources.

“The ICJ opinion comes at a time when Israel has been flagrantly flouting international humanitarian law on a cataclysmic scale for the past nine months, carrying out deadly and unlawful attacks during its onslaught in the occupied Gaza Strip that have claimed an unprecedented toll on civilians. It has also been escalating illegal land grabs in the occupied West Bank, and authorizing the construction of more and more settlement units in occupied and illegally annexed East Jerusalem, all but entrenching and perpetuating the unlawful occupation. Israeli authorities have also consistently failed to comply with the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ to prevent genocide in Gaza. Israel must not be allowed to trample on international law any longer.

“The international community, and in particular Israel’s allies, must now take unequivocal action to ensure Israel ends its unlawful occupation, starting with the immediate halting of the expansion of Israeli settlements and reversing the annexation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and dismantling its brutal system of apartheid against Palestinians. Ending the occupation is crucial in order to stop the recurrent pattern of human rights violations across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

“Israel must withdraw its forces from all parts of the occupied territories, including the Gaza Strip and remove all settlers from the West Bank, including from the illegally annexed East Jerusalem. Israel must also relinquish control over all aspects of Palestinians’ lives, as well as ceding control of borders, natural resources, air space and territorial waters of the occupied territory. This means lifting the illegal blockade of Gaza and allowing Palestinians to travel freely between Gaza and the West Bank.”


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the consequences of Israel’s conduct for other states following an 18-month process including public hearings where more than 50 states, including Palestine, and three international organizations participated. The long-awaited advisory opinion stated that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is a clear violation of international law.

In July 2004, the ICJ issued a first advisory opinion finding that the construction of the separation wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories had to be halted because it was contrary to international law. Amnesty International had also argued that the construction of the wall violates international law and contributes to serious human rights violations.

The international community’s failure to implement the recommendations of the 2004 ICJ advisory opinion has emboldened Israel’s defiance of international law and reinforced its impunity.