China urges World Court to address ‘unlawful’ Israeli occupation

China urged the ICJ to rule on Israel’s unlawful occupation of Palestinian Territories. Palestinian push for legal scrutiny intensified after recent violence. Israel abstains, fearing harm to negotiations.

China’s Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser Ma Xinmin stated on Thursday that they had asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to provide its opinion on the legality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Ma Xinmin emphasised the urgency of addressing this issue, highlighting that while justice may have been delayed, it should not be denied. He stated that fifty-seven years had elapsed since Israel commenced its occupation of the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories), emphasising that the illegitimate nature of the occupation and the question of sovereignty over the occupied territories had remained unchanged.


The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is currently conducting hearings involving representatives from over 50 states. These hearings were prompted by a request from the United Nations General Assembly in 2022 to issue a non-binding opinion on the legal ramifications of the Israeli occupation. This initiative stems from Palestinian efforts to prompt international legal bodies to scrutinise Israel’s actions, especially following the October 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel and the subsequent Israeli military response, resulting in significant casualties.

Notably, Israel has chosen not to participate in these hearings, expressing concern in written statements that the court’s involvement could impede progress toward a negotiated settlement. During the hearings, Palestinian representatives urged the judges to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, suggesting that such a declaration could facilitate the attainment of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.