Palestinian leaders filed a complaint on Friday with the top court of the United Nations (UN), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), over the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December.
After Palestine’s application was submitted, the ICJ issued a press release explaining Palestine claimed the U.S. further violated international law when it moved its permanent diplomatic mission in May 2018.
According to the statement which quoted from the complaint, Palestine, “requests the Court to declare that the relocation, to the Holy City of Jerusalem, of the United States embassy in Israel is in breach of the Vienna Convention.” Passed in 1961, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations prohibits countries from establishing embassies outside of their borders. East Jerusalem has been occupied by Israel since 1967, making any changes to its status a violation of international law.
The complaint also included language prohibiting the U.S. from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital again at a later time. Palestine, “asks the Court to order the United States of America to take all necessary steps to comply with its obligations, to refrain from – 2 – taking any future measures that would violate its obligations and to provide assurances and guarantees of non-repetition of its unlawful conduct.”
Palestine sought out the court a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered his address at the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.
During his speech, Abbas called on the international community and the UN to declare the Trump administration’s move of the U.S. embassy illegal, and to pressure the U.S. into reversing the decision.
Abbas criticized the decision as threatening “the Palestinian national cause and constitute an assault on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.”
He also accused the U.S. of “undermining the two-state solution” and being an unfair arbiter of the peace process due to America’s “bias towards Israel.”
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said on Saturday that the complaint was filed “in line with the policy of the State of Palestine, which aims to preserve the character of the holy city of Jerusalem with its unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions,” according to Palestinian Wafa news agency.
“We defend our rights and our people without hesitation and reject all forms of political and financial extortion,” al-Malki continued.