PSC is deeply concerned by reports that the UK is seeking to block the International Court of Justice (ICJ) from ruling on the legal consequences of Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territory.
This position reflects a disturbing pattern of the UK government in shielding Israel from accountability for its violations against Palestinians – including the recent introduction of anti-boycott legislation seeking to prohibit public bodies from taking ethical decisions in response to Israel’s breaches of international law.
The UK has put itself at odds with the international community by submitting an opinion to the ICJ that it should not be investigating Israel’s occupation of Palestine, in opposition to a UN general assembly resolution passed last December requesting the ICJ to produce an advisory ruling on this topic.
For decades, Palestinians have endured the harsh realities of occupation, displacement, and the violation of their fundamental rights by successive Israeli governments – amounting to the crime of apartheid. The ICJ, as an internationally recognised judicial body, has the mandate to interpret and apply international law. Its rulings should be respected and upheld by all states, including the UK.
By attempting to obstruct the ICJ’s hearing, the UK sends a dangerous message that Israel is above international law, and that Palestinians have been abandoned in their search for justice.
At a time when Israel’s most extreme right wing government is ramping up violence against Palestinians and illegally annexing more territory, the UK should be standing on the side of justice rather than undermining the credibility of international institutions and the foundation of a rules based international order. Palestinians like all oppressed people should have access to accountability and justice to address violations of their rights including through crucial international bodies like the ICJ.