Tarakinikini: Peace is through mutual respect

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Fiji’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Filipo Tarakinikini in Suva. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Fiji has told the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC) it should not provide a legal opinion on the legality or otherwise of Israel’s 57-year occupation of Palestine and East Jerusalem.

The ICC has held a weeklong hearing after being requested by the United Nations to provide a legal opinion on the consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

“Fiji strongly believes that the only way to achieve truly sustainable peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, indeed between any neighbours, is through mutual respect,” said Fiji’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Filipo Tarakinikini, while delivering Fiji’s statement at the Hague.

“Fiji considers it essential to maintain and uphold the legal framework agreed between the parties and sanctioned by the (UN) Security Council to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian dispute.

That framework is founded on the understanding that Jews and Arabs must coexist in a small piece of territory.”

Only the US and Fiji supported Israel at the hearing while all other countries criticised Israel.

“In Fiji’s view, this court has unfortunately been presented in these proceedings with a distinctly one-sided narrative,” Mr Tarakinikini said.

“Fiji respectfully submits that the court should exercise its discretion not to render an opinion on those questions.

“Fiji submits that due to the selective and one-sided formulations of the questions, the court does not have before it all the evidence it would need to exercise its judicial function.”

Mr Tarakinikini said Israel and Palestine have a dispute about territorial sovereignty.

“Fiji respectfully submits that the court should exercise its judicial discretion to decline to provide an advisory opinion.

“Were the court to decide to provide an advisory opinion, which Fiji submits it should not, the court should be cautious to ensure the advisory opinion rendered does not circumvent the binding agreements between the parties but encourages them to promote fruitful negotiations.”

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