“Although situated far from the Middle East, Guyana has a close interest in the legality of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory”.

“Israel’s activities in the occupied territory, which have been brought in sharp focus by the tragic and ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, are a matter of truly global concern,” he said.
Craven added that the occupation has “significant implications not only for the state of Palestine and the Palestinian people but for all states opposed to the acquisition of territory by force”.

“Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territory is an offence against this bedrock principle of international law, and it is a serious and a continuing threat to a peaceful, secure and stable world”.

“Guyana’s participation in these proceedings and presence here today reflect its firm conviction that the advisory opinion by the court on the questions posed by the General Assembly will play a valuable and indeed vital role in enabling the United Nations and all of its member states to secure full compliance with international law and ultimately to achieve a permanent, just and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.

Craven also said the countries that advocate against an advisory opinion against Israel’s occupation are wrong. For example, the US argument is based on the assumption that negotiations are ongoing between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which is not the case, Craven argued.

The conduct of an occupation is governed by international humanitarian law while the legality of the occupation is determined by UN Charter and general international law. The argument advanced by the US that the occupation is governed solely by international humanitarian law leaves no room for the application of the Charter, especially article 2(4) by which the acquisition of territory by force is prohibited.

Occupation is “inherently and exclusively a temporary state of affairs”. An occupying power does not acquire “one atom” of the occupied territory and cannot make permanent changes. “Permanent occupation is military conquest, it is annexation, and annexation is of course strictly forbidden under international law,” he said.

It is indisputable that Israel’s occupation is unlawful as a whole. Israel has annexed almost all Palestinian territories and has extended the application of its laws to that territory. It is irrefutable that Israel intends its occupation to be permanent.

There have been unequivocal declarations on the annexation of East Jerusalem, as well as deliberate demographic manipulation that profoundly changed the character of the Holy City.

“Israel’s occupation must end, immediately, comprehensively, irreversibly,” Craven said.


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Youth's poetry ignites my quest, Against oppression, I protest. In Palestine's struggle, voices rise, For freedom, peace, justice, my cries.
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