Joshua Kern and Dov Jacobs, instructed by the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IJL), submit statement to the International Court of Justice on issues pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

16 February 2024

On Monday, 19 February 2024, the ICJ will commence public hearings in proceedings relating to a request for an advisory opinion made by the UN General Assembly on the legal status and consequences of the Israeli presence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and in Jerusalem.

The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IJL) today submitted today a legal statement to the Court, highlighting legal and factual fallacies underlying the General Assembly’s request. The IJL instructed 9BR’s Joshua Kern and Dr Dov Jacobs as counsel, together with Dr Roy Schondorf, and together they co-authored the statement with Daniel Reisner, Deputy President of the IJL.

The IJL argues that the ICJ should exercise caution before circumventing principles of international law, undermining the international and bilateral framework for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the prospect of a negotiated solution. Its statement addresses core issues concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and makes the following arguments:

  1. It is incorrect to assume that the State of Israel and the Jewish people lack strong legal claims, under international law, concerning the West Bank and Jerusalem.
  2. There is an internationally endorsed legal framework, outlined by Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, as well as in bilateral agreements, for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Court should refrain from determinations that may undermine this established legal framework for peace which has, repeatedly, been endorsed by the Security Council and the parties themselves.
  3. Israel’s presence in the territories resulted from its lawful use of force in self-defence in 1967. Until a political agreement is reached to determine their future, Israel is not prohibited from exercising control over them. There is insufficient legal basis under public international law to support a claim that belligerent occupation can become “illegal” due to external circumstances or due to the passage of time. Moreover, in light of the horrific attack on Israel on 7 October 2023, there is no doubt that a continuing Israeli presence is legally justified to protect Israel’s territory, and its citizens, pending a negotiated solution to the conflict.

The IJL submits that the Court should exercise caution prior to providing the requested opinion, given the risk of undermining the international and bilateral framework for the resolution of the conflict, and the prospect of its negotiated solution, and intends for its legal arguments to assist the Court in reaching its decision.